News Article

Talking Point: Sony's Slow and Steady PS4 Reveal Strategy Will Pay Off

Posted by Sammy Barker

Stockpiling ammunition

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


Please login to vote in this poll.

User Comments (27)



ShogunRok said:

Learning about games when they're almost ready is great - it's something that used to happen all the time back in the days of the PS1 and PS2. Now we hear about games 5 years before they release and it's horrible.

I mean, imagine you get given a trailer for Final Fantasy XXVIII, then at the end it just says "Available next month". Pure joy.



Huxen said:

Hopefully what Mark Cerny said about 'Time to Triangle' is true and we will see development times reduced accordingly. A long wait for a game is horrible and can't take best advantage of the hype train.



ViciousDS said:

@ShogunRok not going to lie.....Microsoft actually did that with there slim version of the console and it blew my mind.

"today we are you showing you the xbox slim....built in wireless yadadada, you can own this great device starting now."

That was probably the coolest thing I ever saw....I actually called gamestop asking if they had one because my elite aka 2nd one was about to die.



get2sammyb said:

I think you still need some build up, but it's definitely a balance. Announcing five years in advance sucks, but I think about 8-12 months is optimal. Games are big expensive endeavours these days, so there's needs to be some build up before release.



ShogunRok said:

@get2sammyb Yeah games with big budgets need the marketing during the run up to release. I just wish we lived in a simpler world where games came out the next day... Then again, waiting for a release and getting hyped for it is kinda part of the fun.



JavierYHL said:

sony can show ps4 games later but i think a few vita games would be good to know early



Squiggle55 said:

I'm interested to see who blinks first with the release date. I think that's another thing Sony should try to win.



Hokage17 said:

It's starting to feel like this generation is going to be a bit like the PS2 generation. It's a little ironic that Microsoft named their next gen console Xbox One and so far the way things are shaping out it may very well sell on par with the original Xbox 1. While the original Xbox did have it's share of success the PS2 outsold it by almost 10 times. I don't think the gap is going to be that wide this time and it's still too early for an assesment like that but that's the way things are starting to look. Sony is just one God of War or Uncharted away from completely dominating the market.



Ginkgo said:

Honestly the only XB1 title that has got everyone talking is Titanfall. It is the one true feather in their cap. It will sell machines. A lot of the other games they are listing haven't made any buzz and are still vaporware at the moment, demonstrated by so many demos not actually running on XB1 hardware at E3.

It will be fascinating to hear what Naughty Dog and Quantic Dream are planning for the PS4. Obviously with the later, they cannot comment until after Beyond is released etc.

I do agree that MS has already played their hand, because they were forced to and the Sony has kept things up their sleeve. It is all fun to watch in any case.



Ps4all said:

@get2sammyb My guess is Nov. 5 here in the States, based on the Gamestop pre-order bundles. They have a Ghosts bundle which releases on the 5th. I don't see them selling the system before the game they bundle it with.



sajoey said:

I'm betting more on early to mid-November, mostly because of Watch Dogs, a game that has been heavily advertised, specifically for the PS4 is coming out within that window.



shingi_70 said:

While doing this is great, its also how nintendo got into the mess their in. The first year of the conosle I expect be hearing of project coming out next year. I'm sure Sont kept its cards close for Gamescom and TGS and I wouldn't be surprised if we get some more launch game announcements.



shingi_70 said:


Wii U came out later despite big thrid party games already being out. I think the 29th makes sense unit wise though. Get the first pre-orders and sales out the way and hopefully having a fresh stock for the bloodbath that will be Black Friday 2013.



ViciousDS said:

@Sony_70 that and the bundles can actually trickle on the pre-orders, assassins creed black flag could easily hold me till each new blockbuster week and you just keep moving on the list of games.

October 29th would be amazing as i could easily put in vacation time for that week.....EASILY.



Tasuki said:

Well I was in Gamestop today to put some more money down on my pre order and the guy told me November and thats all they have. Of course this is Gamestop I am talking about so who knows.

As for the article at hand the slow reveal of their games dont bother me to be honest I am hyped up for the PS4 even without hearing about the games. It will be nice to own a PS system again.



Gamer83 said:

I like how Sony has handled this so far. It gives Killzone, inFamous, Knack and Drive Club time in the spotlight. It probably wouldn't hurt to announce Naughty Dog's next game sometime soon though.



rijahs said:

Is it possible for an individual to develop games for the ps4? I saw the unreal4 engine (the demo was mind blowing) that can be used to develop games for the ps4, how easy would tools like this be for an individual to develop games for ps4?



TOMBOY25 said:

if we're taking release dates i'll have November 3rd just after AC4 and BF4 but just before ghost's



MadchesterManc said:

@rijahs Depends on how keen you are on developing a game. Ive used the Reality Factory toolset thats built upon the Genesis3D engine a while back to do a futureristic racer akin to wipeout. It took a week or so to familiarise myself with the sofware n about 6 months to get a few tracks to Beta stage, model a few AG craft, build a functional UI n generate some music to release a Beta demo (Although id say it was more an Alpha ) I was spending about 6 hours doing that a day at the time and I had to do all the assets etc myself. If the toolset and documentation for UE4 is concise enough you could get up n running quicker. As for publishing on Ps4, id say try steam first. If you can get your game greenlit on there itd be worth considering a port to Ps4 as you'd then know if your idea would take off.



rijahs said:

@MadchesterManc Thanks a lot for the reply. I know this isn't easy or a cakewalk in the park. But, I want to do a game that is in my mind for quite sometime now. Just wanted to know if there are any good tools out there that can help me to do this on the ps4. Thanks a lot for your reply...



MadchesterManc said:

@rijahs When it comes to tools, due to the x86 nature of the Ps4, any toolset you use should be fairly straighforward to port over. Ive no experiance with porting to consoles so I dont know how you'd go about doing it. Ive recently been looking into developing again myself, but obviously on less of a grand scale than a fully 3D cel-shaded futuristic racer like before lol Im looking at toolsets for creating 16-bit style RPG's. I would recommend you have a look around for other engines/toolsets than UE4 as you could find one easier to use and more suited to the genre your game will be. If you plan on creating a 3D game id recommend Reality Factory. Theres a fairly robust set of tools and also has a great support forum so the learning curve isnt too bad. Plus its free to use. Im not sure if you have to buy a liscence once you intend to profit from your game or not but its worth a look. Itd be cheaper than UE4 n a good start if you havent tried developing before



rijahs said:

@MadchesterManc Thanks again. Reality factory looks really good. I will download and see how it can help me towards achieving my dream. Also planning to get an alienware desktop for the ps4 game development...

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