It’s ironic that the week that Sony opted to launch its Perfect Day commercial, the PlayStation 4 has suffered its most Imperfect Week since its announcement. It’s perhaps a testament to the Japanese giant’s flawless approach to the next generation that the setbacks have taken so long to materialise, but the prolonged period of positivity surrounding the platform holder doesn’t make the stumbling blocks any easier to stomach. With the next generation system’s launch lineup decreasing by the day, though, how has your anticipation for the console been affected?
Ubisoft’s decision to delay Watch Dogs undoubtedly hit the PlayStation maker the hardest earlier this week. While the sandbox release was set to deploy on multiple platforms in November, it had been billed as one of the PS4’s major launch titles. Not only had the game been spotlighted during each of the manufacturer’s press conferences throughout the year, but the organisation had also secured an additional hour of exclusive content in order to differentiate its version from the one available on other formats.
On the flipside, Microsoft has partnered with third-party publishers such as EA and Activision in order to co-market big multiplatform releases like Battlefield 4 and Call of Duty: Ghosts, so the PlayStation maker was clearly banking on its alliance with the aforementioned French publisher to level the playing field. And while it will still be able to promote Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag as one of its own, the loss of Watch Dogs until next year will no doubt have an impact on its marketing presence throughout the key Christmas shopping window.
But the absence of the open world epic wouldn’t have been such a disaster if it wasn’t almost immediately followed by rumours regarding DriveClub. Earlier in the week, a small site named The Same Coin noted that it had heard rumblings suggesting that the Evolution Studios developed racer was about to be delayed. That was followed by a Kotaku report that intensified the speculation, and an ambiguous message from design director Paul Rustchynsky that all but confirmed the news. It wasn’t until earlier today, though, that the racer’s removal from the PS4’s launch lineup was officially announced.
In some ways, the delays may actually be good news. We got a good look at both games earlier in the year, and stepped away from each presentation underwhelmed. We mentioned in our subsequent coverage that Watch Dogs lacked the “sparkle” of a big-budget release, while Evolution Studios had “a marathon ahead of it” if it intended to get its racer across the finish line in time. Allowing the developers a few more months to polish the titles will no doubt result in better quality products, which will ultimately benefit everyone.
However, the PS4 launch lineup is starting to look worryingly weak as a consequence. Even before the delays, Sony’s slender offering had been subject to criticism in comparison to the Xbox One’s bulkier lineup, but now the discussion is starting to look a little one-sided. While Microsoft has readied big releases such as Ryse: Son of Rome, Dead Rising 3, and Forza 5, the PS4’s first-party selection is limited to just Killzone: Shadow Fall and Knack. Granted, there are dozens of downloadable titles on the way, but it’s debatable whether the likes of Flower and Sound Shapes are enough to sell an expensive piece of hardware – especially when they’re already playable elsewhere.
Furthermore, the delay of DriveClub has also soured Sony’s big PlayStation Plus push. The platform holder had pledged a free copy of the next generation racer as one of its big launch day downloads, but that will now release in 2014 alongside the title itself. Instead, it will be replaced by Contrast, the quirky film-noir platformer from Compulsion Games. While this looks like a legitimately intriguing release, it’s debateable whether it’s a fair substitute for a big-budget, blockbuster title. Suddenly, that decision to implement a multiplayer paywall looks a little harder to swallow.
It’s not the end of the world for the next generation console, of course, but it’s definitely a chink in the platform holder’s previously unmarked armour. The delays may work out in the firm’s favour moving forwards, as it eschews any post-release drought criticisms with a slew of polished products throughout early 2014. However, the news is undeniably disappointing right now, as many had already built up a mental image of their launch day hauls. With those plans now in tatters, how is your hype holding up less than a month before release?
Are you gutted by this week’s PS4 delays? Have you decided to cancel your pre-order as a result of the news, or are you still fervently awaiting the next generation format’s release? Rant and rave in the comments section and poll below.
How have this week’s delays affected your anticipation for PS4? (66 votes)
I still can’t wait to get my console, so couldn’t care less
I’m a little disappointed, but am still buying the system
To be honest, I’m not really sure how I feel at the minute
I’ve decided to cancel my pre-order in light of this news
I wasn’t really looking forward to the machine anyway
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