PS5 Is Not Being Held Back, PS4 Is Too Successful to Ignore
PS4 success has PS5 early adopters feeling burned by PlayStation and cross-generation exclusive video games, but it only helps PS5 early adopters.
Since the PS5 Showcase aired, the PlayStation nation has been acting out. Upset over what’s being described as deceptive marketing and outright lies on Sony’s part, the PlayStation faithful took to social media to voice their concerns. With the news of games like Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales and Horizon Forbidden West also making their way to to the PS4, vocal PS5 early adopters are upset claiming that first-party exclusives are being held back on the new PS5 as development for both titles was completed with 7-year-old PS4 hardware as the baseline.
To add more salt to the wound, it doesn’t help that both sides of the PlayStation and Xbox communities have engaged in heated dick-measuring competitions while rooting for their respective favorites. With Microsoft highlighting their next-generation console’s ability to play four generations of Xbox games, PlayStation fans saw that as an opening to peacock and flex the upcoming PS5’s superiority as it separates itself from the previous hardware according to marketing communication up until that point. This came to an abrupt end once it became clear that video games that were believed to be PS5 exclusive were also making their way to the PS4. For PlayStation fans: life comes at you fast.
This is not the first time that video games cross generations though, so why all the rage? Many are citing a specific interview in which PlayStation boss Jim Ryan lays claimed to believe in “generations.” Alluding to the idea that jumping from PS3 to PS4 and now PS5, the experience and games should be unique and built primarily for such hardware and its feature set.
However, when we go back to that interview, and dig deeper to what was actually said, Ryan’s quote might have been misinterpreted by everyone. Us included. Take a look for yourself.
“We believe that when you go to all the trouble of creating a next-gen console, that it should include features and benefits that the previous generation does not include. And that, in our view, people should make games that can make the most of those features.”
Now, if we’re looking at this for what it actually is (mostly marketing mumbo jumbo), Ryan could very well be referring to features and benefits like the adaptive triggers in the new DualSense controller and 3D audio. Both are features that (technically) change the experience and are not included in the previous gen. It may not be what early adopters want to hear, as we enter this cross-generation phase, but it could the real intention of the quote.
The reality here is that there are over 100 million PS4 consoles out in the world. This is a number that – from a business perspective – PlayStation (and Sony) simply cannot ignore. I know this is a hard pill to swallow but it’s a very real one.
Over the last two generations, PlayStation has become the unofficial champion of the single-player story-driven exclusive video game. As titles like God of War, Uncharted 4, and The Last of Us Part II, get increasingly larger and more expensive to make (not to mention their four year development times), these kinds of games are still huge gambles for PlayStation in a video game climate still dominated by multiplayer online shooters and annual sports simulators.
In order for us to see more new single-player exclusives like Bloodborne, Ghost of Tsushima, and Horizon: Zero Dawn on our shiny new PS5, these titles can’t just break even or bring in “OK” sales. They need to be absolute hits for PlayStation. As we enter cross-generation territory, PlayStation needs to put upcoming hits like Spider-Man: Miles Morales and the Horizon sequel on as many consoles as possible. The only way to do that is by including the existing PS4 base.
If you were planning to grab a PS5 day one, only to feel burned after the showcase or finally pre-ordering, you shouldn’t. Especially if you own a PS4. You still have ample time to cancel your pre-order and hold out until “true” PS5 exclusives start arriving, hopefully with the next God of War in 2021. Avoid leaning into the narrative of deceptive marketing on PlayStation’s part regarding the PS5: the PS4 and its huge user base is just too successful to ignore.
PS5 will be available on November 12, 2020 — if you haven’t managed to grab your pre-order yet, keep an eye on Amazon to get the console.