There’s no denying that 2020 has been a weird year (how many different ways can I come up with to write that sentiment over and over again?), especially considering it’s supposed to be the run-up to next-generation consoles finally release. With both Sony and Microsoft remaining committed to “Holiday 2020” for the PS5 and Xbox Series X releases despite the pandemic creating notable concerns, fans are clawing at every scrap of news, rumors, leaks, and reports that they can get their hands on. But with just over six months to go until the purported release dates, what comes next? According to Microsoft’s Phil Spencer, it’s the next-gen games.
Reviewed plans yesterday for continued sharing through launch. Team is doing great work and adapting. I’ve never been more excited about Xbox plans. We’ve heard you, you want transparency/authenticity. We plan to keep showing that way, next step is not too much of a wait (games)
— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) April 23, 2020
Asked by a fan about how the team was feeling about plans for sharing new information in the lead up to launch, Spencer replied saying that the team is adapting to current conditions and he’s “never been more excited about Xbox plans.” He acknowledges fans’ desire for “transparency” and “authenticity” from the team regarding next-gen and says that the next step is “not too much of a wait.” And what is that next step? It’s the games.
Microsoft is notably ahead of Sony when it comes to showing off its next-gen console, the Xbox Series X. It’s already revealed the physical design of the console and begun detailing unique features that are meaningful to the players, such as suspend/resume functionality for multiple games at once and the “Smart Delivery” system that ensures players only need to purchase one copy of a game to access it on any Xbox console, this gen or next. Sony, on the other hand, has remained decidedly stingy with the details, revealing only a handful of highly technical details that are interesting to developers and people who love tech specs, but lack a certain marketing flair for the general public to latch onto. It’s revealed the unique new DualSense controller, but has yet to dive into specific features that will really set the PS5 apart for the players.
While rumors are cropping up that next-gen reveals are inbound in May, Phil Spencer is basically confirming that we’ll finally get to see some next-gen games in action, at least on the Microsoft side. Whether he’s referring to Xbox exclusives or if there will be third-party titles present in the reveals remains to be seen. Third parties revealing their games through Microsoft may force Sony’s hand to start unveiling more about the PS5 so that marketing can include PS5 branding. There’s been a notable dustup with Cyberpunk 2077 not being able to fully talk about it’s next-gen plans due to Sony keeping the lid on certain PS5 details.
It’s also possible that third-party reveals are being lined up to coincide with—or land just after—Sony finally starts really detailing the PS5 and its overall next-gen launch plans. A few limited games have been allowed to be confirmed for the next-gen platform, including Godfall, but many developers have to wait for specific embargoes and NDAs to lift, with Sony itself first revealing specific features before being able to talk more about their own games on the platform. With COVID-19 reportedly upsetting the PS5 marketing plans that were in place, this could be a big reason why we haven’t seen a lot of talk specifically about next-generation games just yet.
Either way, Microsoft is getting ready to show off next-gen games soon, and don’t expect Sony to be too far behind, especially if third-parties start adding to the conversation with multiplatform titles. “Not too much of a wait,” may not lay out a specific timeframe, but the expectation set out here is weeks, rather than months.