A few days removed from Sony’s major PlayStation 5 reveal event is the perfect time to assess what was seen and process what’s in store for fans come this holiday. With the newness and FOMO of the event now somewhat lessened it feels easier to look at Sony’s live stream from this past Thursday and gauge the temperature of the PlayStation pool. There were myriad announcements to get excited for, along with a surprise console reveal at the end–a reveal I’m still a little shocked that Sony went through with, but fully understand why. So now that we’re past all the pomp and circumstance what exactly was the best in show? Let’s take a look at the winners and losers of the PlayStation 5 Future of Gaming reveal.
Winner: Sony (And PlayStation Fans)
It seems like the most obvious one to start off with, but if you’re a PlayStation stan then there was a metric ton to love here, which always equals a notch in the win column for Sony. As demonstrated from past console reveals there is a true value in going second, both in actuality and in pure public perception. The Microsoft event landing with a pretty major thud opened the door of lowered expectations and pretty much guaranteed that anything Sony showed was going to be a hit. This is what makes the fact that they went ahead and revealed the whole dang console even more important: It was a power move by Sony in this strange console reveal chess match, equivalent to taking a Bishop. Make all the router jokes you want but the PS5 is a sharp device and Sony took its time with the reveal, meaning it didn’t appear to come from a sense of desperation.
Loser: Microsoft (And Refrigerator Fans)
Forgive me if I appear to be wearing my fanboy hat a tiny bit, but this is a PlayStation-centric website and point in fact, I have been a Sony loyalist from the very beginning. That loyalty has always been derived from two things: Sony’s excellent gaming library and a sense of style running parallel with substance. And as we approach the fourth gaming console cycle where these two companies have gone head-to-head I can’t help but point out Sony’s sheer advantage in both of those departments. The Microsoft Xbox showcase from way back when was great if you’re looking for third-party games and current-gen titles being bumped forward to the next cycle, but not much else. The Sony event not only put games at the forefront but reminded us that video games can be colorful and varied and fun. The only thing I can strongly remember about the Microsoft event is just a gigantic smudge of grim-dark colors and games. And while the Sony showcase had plenty of darkness as well, there was also a variety present that Microsoft has never been able to land. Also, let’s be honest: There’s a clear aesthetic winner when it comes to comparing the two physical consoles.
Winner: Indie Games Getting A Spotlight
I know even saying the word “indie” is enough in some online circles to start a Jets versus Sharks-style fight, but I’m always thrilled to see smaller developers being given the limelight next to the big hitters. Games such as Goodbye Volcano High, Stray, and Little Devil Inside all showcased unique looks and intrigue that should spark the curiosity of any gamer. Not only that, but all of these indie games sport varied looks and color palettes that, once again, feels like a hallmark of the PlayStation and is yet another major advantage over its non-Nintendo competition. Also: I may or may not still be humming the Bugsnax theme at all hours of the day, driving my wife and cats mad in the process.
Loser: Spider-Man’s Journey To the Stand Alone-Verse
Talk about a bees’ nest of confusion, huh? Pure elation was the general reaction upon seeing the trailer for Spider-Man: Miles Morales. And why not? One of the best original Black characters Marvel has created in the past ten-ish years taking the lead into a new generation and looking absolutely phenomenal to boot? Sign me up. So, of course, Sony’s loose lips had to go and sink ships that Insomniac simply couldn’t repair. First was the report that this PS5 version coming was simply a remaster of PS4’s Spider-Man with some Miles Morales content slapped on, then Insomniac had to come out and try to correct course and say that it’s a full-fledged game… But by full-fledged they mean something akin to Infamous: First Light or that Uncharted spin-off. It’s confusing and a bad look for a game that appeared to be a pure hype factory. It shouldn’t be this difficult, and yet seeing the news and “The Discourse” around what the term “standalone” means has more than cooled my interest in…whatever this game ends up being come holiday 2020.
Miles Morales deserves better than some half-step offshoot derivative of the first game.
Winner: Long-Dedicated Demon’s Souls Fans
It’s been a long journey, huh? I think I remember rumor of a supposed Demon’s Souls remaster or remake almost every year since the game’s shocking rise to infamy. And now, here in 2020 and a little over ten years later, the time has finally come to return to Boletaria and kneel to the Maiden in Black. I’m still a bit shocked as at this point the mere thought of a remaster felt like vaporware waiting to happen. And yet. If the trailer and 4K screenshots are anything to go by then Bluepoint was most certainly the right team for the job. This isn’t simply a nostalgia cash-in, it’s a full-blown return to form. I hope you’re all ready to shift that world tendency to HYPED AS HECK.
Loser: All Our Wallets
Let’s be honest: Nothing shown during this event looked cheap. And while internet talk has no lack of discussion about the theoretical price point of the PlayStation 5 it’s still a reminder of just how expensive gaming is as a hobby, especially during an economic recession that may or may not be hanging around for as long as our friend, the pandemic does. The back and forth in regards to how much of a price difference we’ll see between the disc-based and all-digital versions of the PlayStation 5 is moot, as it has more to do with marketing than it does actual cost reduction via removal of features. It all feels just a bit too brazen, but that’s show business, I suppose. I’ll have my wallet ready come holiday 2020, but I’m also one of the lucky few who can jump in feet-first on opening day and not worry. I sort of wish Sony had just removed the band-aid now and revealed the price. However, as we stated above, it’s yet another chess piece Sony has in its game against Microsoft and they don’t appear ready to move it any time soon.
Check back later in the coming weeks for more in-depth coverage of the Sony reveal event and what it means for the rest of the year, as well as the PlayStation 5 launch this winter. Regardless of who won or lost, it is certainly an exciting time to be a fan of gaming.