The dawn of the next generation is nearly here. Microsoft’s Xbox Series X and Sony’s PlayStation 5 seem so close but also so far. Both companies have been playing a long, elusive game of chicken with their machines, with neither company budging in regards to revealing key information, such as release dates and prices, to the eager public.
That is, until last week.
The leaking of the Xbox Series S’s price was the event that made Microsoft swerve first. The leaks displayed a size comparison of the Series S to the X as well as a $299 price tag, which Microsoft later corroborated via Twitter. This also led to the reveal of the Series X price, which sits at $499.
With Microsoft folding first, it seemed like prime time for Sony to come forth with its own statement, announcing just that with a PS5 showcase scheduled for September 16. Here are five things that should be revealed at the showcase.
1. Launch Title Lineup
No console reveal is complete without a supporting library of launch titles to accompany it. As much as hardware and tech capabilities are important in selling a console, a console’s first-party repertoire of titles is an equally compelling component.
Sony has a wide number of console exclusives under its belt, but that doesn’t necessarily equate to having such games in the launch lineup. From how things have been shaping up to be, the PS5’s launch lineup seemed incredibly weak. Many exciting projects were further delayed and pushed beyond both Sony and Microsoft’s supposed launch windows.
To alleviate potential concerns—and possibly generate entirely new ones—Sony is attempting to clear the air regarding launch titles during its showcase.
The official PlayStation blog post states the following:
“Before the PlayStation 5 launches this holiday, we wanted to give you one more look at some of the great games coming to PS5 at launch (and beyond!).
Our next digital showcase will weigh in at around 40 minutes and feature updates on the latest titles from Worldwide Studios and our world-class development partners.”
The “updates from Worldwide Studios” is the bit of information that piques interest. Worldwide Studios include industry giants such asNaughty Dog, Santa Monica Studios, Sucker Punch, Insomniac Games, and more. Among these studios, Insomniac Games was the most prominently featured during Sony’s video conference in July, showing off Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart and Spider-Man: Miles Morales for the new system.
While Miles Morales isn’t as much of a head-turner, Ratchet and Clank is a beloved, exclusive franchise to Sony’s machine, with many fans excited for the duo’s newest time-hopping adventure. Given that Rift Apart hasn’t had any updates regarding its release, other than being within PS5’s launch window, expect to see a more definite release date come Wednesday.
What other studios would be detailing in the showcase’s 40-minute runtime is not clear. Studios like Sucker Punch and Naughty Dog only recently pushed out stellar blockbusters in Ghost of Tsushima and The Last of Us: Part II and it is unlikely they would be unveiling sequels or new IPs so soon. They may be featured to detail upgrades of their PS4 titles unto the PS5. Still, it would be nice to see some exciting news come from these prominent developers.
Fingers crossed for God of War.
2. Console Pricing
The importance of price tags cannot be overstated. Make them too low, the company suffers a loss in revenue. Make them too high, no one is going to buy the console. The prices are often what make or break a console for the individual consumer.
Given the mishap Sony went through with the launch of the PS3 in 2006, it is well aware of the delicate line that needs to be tread when dealing with its customers’ wallets. It is probably a huge factor as to why Sony remained tightlipped for nearly the entirety of 2020 regarding the PS5’s pricing, especially when Microsoft was doing the same thing.
With Microsoft speaking up first, it gives Sony the absolute best opportunity to swoop in and challenge Microsoft’s own pricings. This conference would present the opportunity to do so.
Now that the price of the Series S and X have been revealed, being $299 and $499 respectively, it is Sony’s turn. It is highly likely that Sony will mark the PS5 slightly less than the Series X’s starting price and offer a similarly styled payment plan to purchasers. It can be estimated that the price of the standard PS5 could be anywhere from $399 to $459, and its digital counterpart could fluctuate similarly in scale, though it could be potentially more expensive than the Series S.
3. Release Date
As equally anticipated as the console’s price, the release date of the PS5 has been on the mind of every eager fan and customer. Ever since Sony started its competitive pre-order qualifying selection process, it would be nice to get some clarification on the projected window of release for the console as well as some light shed on the pre-order process.
It’s rather clear that Sony doesn’t have the readily available number of consoles to accommodate the sheer number of hungry fans; the obtuse pre-order made sure of that. To have some more details of Sony’s situation regarding the pre-orders would be a good addition on top of revealing the release date.
A set release date would also help consumers potentially plan out their payment plans, if Sony plans on implementing one in the first place.
4. User Interface
Much of the PS5 layout and interface is still under wraps. Though a system’s UI is hardly a console seller, it is a feature that players will fiddle around with the most on a console, and having an obtuse or uncomfortable interface would be a pain for anyone.
The PS4, while neat in its layout, occasionally suffers from being sluggish and laggy as the console gathers age. With the PS5’s souped up specs compared to its predecessor, the new console can boast a cleaner, smoother UI experience and offer better transitions from games to other applications.
Microsoft has at least showcased the Quick Resume function for their console, which utilizes the system’s hardware to a degree its predecessor was incapable of reaching. They’ve even shown a system like Smart Delivery, which allows gamers to play a purchased game on either of their Xbox consoles, whether it be the Xbox One or Series X/S. Sony hasn’t shown, well, anything.
It would be great to see just what sort of new interface or processes Sony was able to cook up for the showcase.
5. Final Fantasy XVI
Okay, this one is reaching a bit but one can dream.
Final Fantasy XVI definitely does exist in some capacity, whether it be in concept or actual development. A posting on April 1, 2019 by Square Enix indicated the company was looking for developers to work on a follow-up project to Final Fantasy XIV, with initial planning said to have already been done, with the division looking to shift into full-scale development.
Since then, other than interviews with developers regarding how they envision a potential FF16, there has been silence.
With the Tokyo Game Show coming soon, it makes it more likely that anything Final Fantasy related or any other big Japan-based title would be making a splash there. Still, that doesn’t mean Sony can’t tease anything about the title at its event.
Unlikely? Yes. Possible? Probably not.
Hopeful? That’s all one can be in 2020.