We don’t have a clue what to expect from PlayStation anymore, and neither should you. A lot has changed over the course of the last generation, and Sony’s communication strategy – or, perhaps, lack thereof – is most prominent of all. The organisation was once talkative – chatty, even – during the early PlayStation 4 era; these days it can go weeks at a time without uttering a single word.
Jim Ryan, the business’ dry-humoured Geordie big-wig, will occasionally peep out of his office to offer an exclusive interview with lifestyle magazines like GQ; these are typically flanked by announcements on the PS Blog, and give select insight into corporate strategy. Hermen Hulst, head of PlayStation Studios, will follow a similar pattern if there’s big news – like the Housemarque acquisition last week.
Reveals come sporadically on random timelines; Ghost of Tsushima: Director’s Cut, purportedly planned as part of some PlayStation livestream, was dropped on a rainy Thursday afternoon. Everyone’s been anticipating an imminent event – rumours have been rife on Reddit and ResetEra for weeks – but against all expectations it announced a Deathloop-centric State of Play today.
While we can have confidence the third-party and indie focused event will have entertaining content, it’s not how the majority – including supposed insiders – had expected Sony to follow its absence from E3 2021. More updates on major titles will come throughout the summer allegedly, but naturally the company’s keeping the exact timeline close to its collective chest.
Indeed, God of War Ragnarok, a game announced almost a year ago, still remains little more than a logo; in fact, now that Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart has released, the company’s yet to confirm what its next PS5 exclusive will even be – after all, Horizon Forbidden West, Gran Turismo 7, and the aforementioned sequel will all target PS4 as well. Death Stranding: Director’s Cut details are due, but God only knows when.
There’s a new PSVR headset in production and we’ve seen the controllers, but outside of a rumour regarding its OLED panel and foveated rendering, no one knows anything else. Naughty Dog promised a standalone multiplayer expansion for The Last of Us: Part II, but even though the single player launched a year ago, we’re yet to receive a single update on its progress.
None of this is criticism, of course – we can be confident that the company is busy behind-the-scenes and that there’ll be lots to look forward to beyond this week’s State of Play. In a way, we appreciate aspects of this new secretive Sony: keeping the games quiet until they’re closer to release is preferable to the years upon years of hype building we used to endure during the PS4 days.
The point of this article, then, is perhaps editorial therapy: we don’t have a clue what’s going on anymore. Clout chasers will claim they know all of the secrets, teasing dates and ambiguous tidbits on Twitter – and the games media will lap it up, misleading their readers as they search for the crumbs Sony so effectively sweeps away. It’s an activity even we engage in, although we’ll always try to dig for the truth.
But really, it’s time to embrace the fact that we don’t have a clue about PlayStation’s plans anymore. Sony isn’t hurting for engagement, and every time it takes the time to talk the industry pauses and pays attention. There’s nothing wrong with the organisation’s approach – it can be exciting and unpredictable, a rollercoaster – but perhaps it’s time we stopped trying to predict what’s next. The reality is that none of us know.
Are you one of those irked by Sony’s closed communication, or are you too busy enjoying your games to care? Do you like how unpredictable PlayStation has become, or would you prefer the organisation to be more open about its roadmap? Try to extract the truth in the comments section below.