There are PlayStation fans, and then there are PlayStation fans. If you’re reading this, you probably fall somewhere in the middle; we’re guessing your interest in games expands beyond the next Call of Duty release date, but hopefully you’re not one of these social media nutters who attacks developers for including a shoddy tarmac texture in their latest AAA title.
The thing is, there’s a corner of Sony’s community that’s irate right now, and it’s been feeling this way for some time. Microsoft’s community engagement has been absurdly strong for several years, and while the Team in Green is still very much playing catch-up in almost every department, we reckon it’s left PlayStation aficionados feeling neglected.
The issue is a delicate one: the Japanese giant hasn’t been particularly forthcoming this year, even if it’s shared an unprecedented amount of information on the PlayStation 5 and hosted a string of State of Play broadcasts. For many, the latter hasn’t really filled the void left by press conferences at E3 and PSX – even today’s showcase, which included every rumoured reveal, has received a negative reaction.
We also get the sense there’s some insecurity in the community, too. Exclusive franchises such as Yakuza are starting to appear everywhere, but even Sony funded titles such as Death Stranding and Detroit: Become Human are being ported to the PC. And that’s not to mention last night’s MLB The Show news, which will see the manufacturer publishing on competing consoles for the first time.
There’s context that needs to be explored here, of course: Major League Baseball may have stripped Sony of the license if it didn’t agree to publish its baseball simulation elsewhere, and it stands to earn an obscene amount of money through Diamond Dynasty microtransactions. Similarly, auteur Hideo Kojima may never have agreed to create Death Stranding without the promise of a PC port.
But there are people who, perhaps unsurprisingly, believe that PlayStation is losing its identity – an identity which, let’s be honest, has been built on the strength of its exclusive games. But this is something that was foreshadowed by ex-Worldwide Studios boss Shawn Layden back in August, when he said that the organisation may need to lean into a “wider install base”.
It’s worth remembering what else he said, though: “We must support the PlayStation platform – that is non-negotiable.” In other words: Sony’s commitment to high-quality exclusive content has not subsided – it’s just expanding its horizons a little bit. The industry is changing, and games are riskier than ever to make – it doesn’t take a genius to understand why Predator: Hunting Grounds, for example, is coming to PC.
How will all of this affect the upcoming PS5? We’re ultimately going to have to wait and see. Microsoft publishes all its software on the PC, but there’s plenty of intrigue surrounding its own Project Scarlett. And it’s unlikely you’ll be able to play God of War 2 and Horizon: Zero Dawn 2 on any platform other than a PlayStation, but subscription services such as PlayStation Now could change that in time.
The thing is, as fans we need to embrace the changes, and see where they take us. Sony’s done things differently this year: some of it has worked and some of it hasn’t. Feedback is important, but some fans are coming across borderline insecure at the moment. Perhaps it’s time to take a break and see what the future holds – after all, there’s an all-new decade to look forward to right around the corner.
How do you feel about PlayStation as we move into a new year, decade, and, crucially, generation? Are you satisfied or concerned with Sony's efforts in 2019? Get it all out in the comments section below.