2024 could and probably should be a big year for Sony and PlayStation. This is the PS5's fourth year on the market, and although it's widely accepted that the current console generation was forced into a slow start by the pandemic, this sort of midpoint is typically where Sony's systems begin to flourish.
So, with all of this in mind, we wanted to sit down and have a think about what it is that we actually want from PlayStation over the next twelve months (or thereabouts). We've broken things up into specific talking points, and as always, we want to hear your opinions once we're done yapping.
PlayStation Studios Show and Tell
Let's not beat around the bush: 2023 was a disappointingly dry year for PlayStation Studios. Marvel's Spider-Man 2 was obviously the headline act, but beyond the Spidey sequel, Sony relied heavily on third party deals, and barely spilled a bean on what's in store from its key first party developers. We simply need to know more about what PlayStation Studios are cooking up for 2024 and beyond.
Sucker Punch. Bend Studio. Bluepoint Games. Team Asobi. These are teams that we haven't heard a peep from in what feels like an age. Even Naughty Dog, despite dropping The Last of Us Part II Remastered later this month, is shrouded in secrecy. It's not strictly true, but it really does feel like Insomniac Games has been carrying the PS5 up until now — but Sony's most prolific developer won't be back in the spotlight until it's ready to ship Marvel's Wolverine.
Of course, it's unrealistic to expect major updates from every studio this year — but the PlayStation faithful do need something to look forward to from Sony's high profile outfits.
Which neatly leads us to...
A Proper PlayStation Showcase
We were almost sold on the idea that Sony would give us a big old showcase in 2023, what with the arrival of a new PS5 model and all, but the Japanese giant settled for a smattering of State of Play broadcasts instead. The problem, though, is that those updates barely touched upon PlayStation Studios. In fact, most of them came off as contractual obligations, rather than hype-fuelled events. Remember that Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League State of Play? Sheesh.
Maybe we're well and truly past the point of having a proper showcase — maybe that's just not how PS5-era Sony conducts itself. But if you're anything like us, you miss having E3-esque events to look forward to. We can't help but think that Sony, at its bullish best, would jump at the chance to parade its projects before the world. We can dream!
New Boss, New PlayStation?
Jim Ryan, the man who's been PlayStation's president and CEO since 2019, announced his retirement back in September. Ryan officially steps down in March, and a successor has yet to be named (although we're sure Sony's got it all worked out behind the scenes). Now, you would assume that Ryan's replacement will, generally speaking, follow through with the company's current plans. PlayStation's such a colossal entity that sudden and dramatic change simply isn't an option — it'd be like trying to U-turn a truck that's travelling at 100mph.
However, it's still likely that the new boss will offer a different perspective on PlayStation, both as a brand and as a business. It's entirely possible that they'll want to alter the company's approach — at least on a surface level. PlayStation's the market leader, and while that means it doesn't have to try quite as hard as its immediate competitors, there's much to be said for maintaining momentum when your console's roughly midway through its life cycle. The new boss might just kick things up a notch — you never know.
What's the Deal with PlayStation's Live Service Plan?
We all know that Sony's been investing a lot of resources into live service projects — games in the mold of Fortnite and like — that can provide consistent profit across years and years of player engagement. That's really where the money is these days — but it's a ridiculously tough market to crack.
What do we actually know about PlayStation's live service plan, though? The Last of Us' reportedly massive multiplayer project was unceremoniously cancelled last year so that Naughty Dog can concentrate on its single-player adventures. Many will consider that a win, but we're talking about a game that was years in the making — god only knows how much money was sunk into its development.
And then there's Fairgame$, which was, to be frank, sh*t upon when it was first revealed back in May. Meanwhile, Bungie — the studio Sony acquired for $3.6 billion in order to spearhead its live service efforts — has been on a downward spiral with Destiny 2. Even more unfortunate, the ex-Halo developer was recently hit with a wave of layoffs — sparking increased speculation over whether the outfit should be leading PlayStation's live service push to begin with.
From the outside looking in, the whole thing comes across as a bit of a mess. It's been reported that Sony's sticking to its live service plans despite a series of internal delays, but we feel like some kind of insight into PlayStation's current approach could go a long way.
Potential PS Plus Improvements
Sony raised the price of PS Plus subscriptions last year, but the service has remained largely the same in terms of what it offers. Subscribers aren't getting more games, or better games, it's fair to say, but they're paying more than ever. In truth, PS Plus could probably do with a slight rethink in 2024 — if only to keep those plateauing subscriber numbers steady.
From our perspective, PS Plus Premium — the service's most expensive tier — has always struggled to justify its existence. It was largely sold on the back of retro game promises — the revival of classic PlayStation titles, fully playable on PS5 and PS4. But the reality is that Premium's catalogue leaves much to be desired. Old games are essentially drip-fed month to month — and questionable in terms of selection — while other perks, like limited PS5 and PS4 title trials, hardly feel like worthwhile incentives.
Having said all that, it's often hard to argue with the additional value that PS Plus Extra brings to the table. A very broad catalogue of current and last-gen games is up for grabs, and if you happen to be new to the PlayStation ecosystem, you're pretty much set for who knows how long.
Still, PS Plus is perhaps at a bit of a crossroads. We're not convinced that Sony would alter things so soon after it overhauled the whole service to include two new subscription tiers, but there's definitely untapped potential in the model.
Sony Needs to Sell the PS5 Pro
Heavily rumoured for release in the latter half of 2024, the PS5 Pro should have Sony springing into action in the relatively near future. Again, we're into the fourth year of the PS5's life, but in some ways, it feels as though the current-gen system has only just arrived. PlayStation's first party machine is yet to really kick into gear, and so we're left wondering whether the PS5 Pro will be a tougher sell than a lot of people think.
Obviously, the PS5's doing incredibly well for itself in spite of our quibbles, but that doesn't necessarily mean the Pro will follow suite. This thing needs to marketed hard and heavy — because people like us need to be convinced that it's a worthy evolution. What we're trying to say is that Sony can't just roll out a blog post two weeks from release!
PlayStation's PSVR2 Roadmap
Sony has a history of lacking commitment to some of its more... specialised products. PSVR2 has games, and it's a great piece of kit, but it'd be nice to know if more projects like Horizon Call of the Mountain are on the, er, horizon. Boundary-breaking software is what makes this kind of platform take off — and you would like to think that PlayStation's studios are in a position to deliver.
Now that we've had our say, we want to know what you want to see from Sony and PlayStation in 2024. Vote in our poll, and then spare no details in the comments section below.
What do you most want to see from Sony and PlayStation in 2024? (Select up to three answers) (3,310 votes)
- PlayStation Studios need to step up30%
- A proper PlayStation Showcase would be great25%
- A change in direction from PlayStation's new CEO13%
- More information on PlayStation's live service plan2%
- Improvements to PS Plus, please15%
- A PS5 Pro blowout, sooner rather than later7%
- Commitment to PSVR29%