Talking Point: Sony's Slow and Steady PS4 Reveal Strategy Will Pay Off
Posted by Sammy Barker
There’s a perception that Sony’s on top in the next generation race. The company’s adopting a humble approach in interviews, but it must be buzzing behind closed doors. Retailer charts place the PlayStation 4 in the driver's seat – even in the wake of Microsoft’s massive Xbox One-Eighty – and the media appears to be siding with the machine. Despite all of this, though, it doesn’t really feel like the platform holder’s played its trump cards yet.
Looking at the impending system’s software library, we don’t really know a lot about its first-party offerings outside of Killzone: Shadow Fall, Knack, DriveClub, and inFAMOUS: Second Son. Granted, we got a first glimpse at Ready at Dawn’s neo-Victorian third-person affair The Order: 1886 during E3 2013, but other than that, the company’s kept its line-up pretty quiet. Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida revealed during last month’s PlayStation press conference that there are 30 exclusives in production for the console, with a whopping 20 set to release in the system’s first year on the market. And yet, we know about five.
Now, it’s entirely possible that the likeable executive’s being crafty with his counting – for example, where do pseudo-exclusives such as PlanetSide 2 fit in? Even if the figures are being bolstered by some questionable inclusions, though, it’s clear that the Japanese giant’s stockpiling a serious amount of content behind the scenes. And that puts it in a promising position moving into GamesCom, Tokyo Game Show, and 2014.
In the past, Sony’s been criticised for showing its hand a little too early. Killzone 2 was famously announced a whopping four years before it hit store shelves, God of War III was a popular topic of conversation long before it launched, and we all know the sorry story behind The Last Guardian. But it feels like the company is actively shunning that strategy at the moment; for comparison, Killzone: Shadow Fall’s release is likely to be about eight months removed from its initial announcement.
And it’s a tactic that’s likely to pay dividends moving forwards. While the PS4 may be on top at the minute, the platform holder will have plenty of big titles left to reveal should circumstances change. First-party developers such as Naughty Dog, Media Molecule, Santa Monica, San Diego, London Studio, and more have all yet to reveal their inaugural projects for the next generation machine. Similarly, despite putting in an appearance at both of Sony’s big press events this year, we still don’t really know what Quantic Dream’s up to either.
These are all studios that are pretty much guaranteed to be knee-deep in development on the impending console, meaning that when their moment comes, they’re going to be able to show some pretty mature pieces of software. And that’s going to be beneficial to both the games and the platform, as it will allow any demos or trailers to be polished to perfection. Furthermore, by keeping the content under wraps, the platform holder is also ensuring that we, as consumers, won’t be waiting around forever to play any titles that are eventually announced.
Above all, though, the Japanese giant seems to have engineered yet another advantage over its competitors. Both Microsoft and Nintendo went all out at this year’s E3, revealing some big projects for 2014 and beyond. In doing so, those titles – such as Halo 5 and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U – will have lost a little of their lustre. While we’re sure that the aforementioned platform holders will still have plenty of announcements left to make, both are going to struggle to match the sheer number of secrets that Sony’s clearly still got sitting in its locker. And, assuming that the games are of the quality that we’ve come to expect from PlayStation’s first-party studios over the years, that’s only going to result in the PS4 securing even more momentum heading into next year.
It’s a dangerous game to play – the PS4’s list of exclusives does look admittedly feeble compared to the Xbox One right now – but Sony appears to be executing the tactics exquisitely. After all, it’s not like the console is wanting for attention at the moment – and yet, it feels like the best content is still to come. Bring it on.
What do you think that Sony’s keeping hidden behind closed doors? Do you think that waiting until the software’s almost ready is a good move? Let us know in the comments section and poll below.
Do you think that Sony’s making the right move by spacing out its reveals? (49 votes)
Yes, I’d rather learn about the games when they’re almost ready
I’m not sure, it can be nice to have something to look forward to
No, the PS4's lineup looks really disappointing at the moment
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