PlayStation Showcase 2023 Revisited
Image: Push Square

At the time of writing, we still don't know for sure if Sony is planning an imminent PlayStation Showcase. The rumours strongly suggest that it is happening, and that it is happening soon — but as we sit here twiddling our thumbs, waiting for PlayStation to (hopefully) deliver the goods, we thought it'd be fun to look back at Sony's previous effort. We are, of course, referring to 2023's PlayStation Showcase, which aired almost exactly 12 months ago.

The showcase was announced a week in advance, on the 17th May 2023. But to better understand the hype that had been building for such an event, we need to remember that Sony had been uncannily quiet throughout 2022. The demand for a proper showcase had reached critical mass by the time this presentation was confirmed — and the announcement sent expectations into overdrive.

Back then, the kind of PlayStation enthusiasts who frequent this very website (ourselves included) wanted nothing more than to glimpse the upcoming works of PlayStation Studios. Naughty Dog, Sucker Punch, Insomniac — the heavy hitters. And again, that expectation was understandable given Sony's overall lack of communication with regards to first-party projects. Simply put, we'd all been left in the dark for a bit too long.

Ghost of Tsushima

In this case, hindsight doesn't really change much. Even at the time, it was clear that the showcase didn't deliver on the first-party front; those aforementioned developers were nowhere to be seen — outside of an inevitable Spider-Man 2 gameplay video — and instead, Sony wheeled out the likes of Fairgame$ and Concord. Both titles have been completely missing in action since their respective CG trailer reveals.

Needless to say, those reveals didn't go down well, and although the rest of the showcase was stacked in terms of sheer heft — seriously, there were a lot of announcements and updates — it felt like there was no outstanding, headline act.

Sure, we got the surprise Metal Gear Solid Delta: Snake Eater drop, and Dragon's Dogma 2 looked fantastic in its first gameplay trailer, but having gone so long without what some might call a full course meal, the continued lack of big PlayStation Studios blockbusters was a killer blow for many. Plus, we can't forget that the PS5 was closing in on its third birthday. As such, a more... impactful showcase felt like a necessity, but at the end of the day, we didn't really get one.

PS5 Pro
Image: Push Square

We're looking at this from a fairly cynical place, though. Here in 2024, Sony is still keeping us in the dark when it comes to first-party flourishes, and although we've had some genuine third-party bangers release over the last few months, it feels like the hardcore's patience is being tested. And so this rumoured PlayStation Showcase has to be a hit — if only to restore some faith in the platform's future, especially with the all-but-official PS5 Pro looming somewhere in the year's second half.

But look, we don't want to speak for everyone who visits Push Square — that's why we polled the community just after the 2023 event ended. Interestingly, the results of that poll were rather split. Over 10,000 people voted, and 28% of readers told us that the showcase was just "okay". The rest of the votes were quite evenly distributed between the poll's extremes — "excellent" and "terrible" — and so we can't definitively say that last year's presentation was outright bad.

PlayStation Showcase Poll Results
The results of our poll, which had asked readers for their opinion of the 2023 PlayStation Showcase. — Image: Push Square

However, as the headline of this article alludes, we do think that Sony needs to improve on 2023's performance with whatever it actually has planned. We've had State of Plays, of course, but with Sony's 'one game at a time' marketing strategy still holding strong, we're getting to that point again where a blowout feels warranted, if not necessary.

So, what have we learned from this fairly brief retrospective? Well, for starters, it highlights the dangers of heightened expectations — at least to some extent. The hype surrounding last year's showcase was crazy at its peak, and as we all know, unchecked expectations can pretty much make or break your enjoyment of something.

But does that mean we should go into this rumoured event expecting absolutely nothing? Er, maybe, if you think it'll help — but that's not a very realistic approach. The bottom line here is that Sony's commitment to safeguarding its plans is, by and large, the root cause of these consistently heightened expectations — and there's no obvious way around that, from a fan perspective.

Outside of maddening hype levels, remembering 2023's PlayStation Showcase really just solidifies our belief that a blowout would do the PS5 — now approaching its fourth birthday — a lot of good. With the release of Stellar Blade near the end of April, the current-gen console's schedule is wide open — and even though we don't know what's cooking (Wolverine aside), Sony's marketing team must have stuff in the pipeline. It's time to see what's next.

What do you remember of 2023's PlayStation Showcase? What are your hopes and dreams for the next rumoured event? Don't let the hype consume you in the comments section below.