It was after the PS5 Showcase, shit started to hit the fan.
The showcase itself was littered with good news, as you would expect. Final Fantasy XVI, Spider-Man Miles Morales continuing to look glorious, a Wizarding World RPG finally unveiled (despite the near-universal calls for an immediate boycott given, well, JK) and The PlayStation Plus Collection brought the good news to those looking for Sony to step up to the Game Pass juggernaut. It was 45 minutes of pure PlayStation 5 goodness that may have convinced any naysayers that this was the place to play next-generation.
Or so we thought.
Less than an hour after the Showcase wrapped is when the news began to break that not everything was quite as it seemed. See, as gorgeous and wonderful as the Showcase demos were, news slowly began to break on Twitter that a majority of these PS5 ‘exclusives’ were also going to be landing on PS4. Namely, Sackboy, Spider-Man Miles Morales and Horizon Forbidden West, Sony’s big ‘one more thing’ title from their original PS5 console reveal video. Well, you can play it on the console you already own.
Final Fantasy XVI was represented as a console exclusive, but it isn’t. It’s timed six months before the PC release and 12 months before, presumably, an Xbox Series X/S release. Potter RPG Hogwarts Legacy is coming to absolutely every PlayStation / Xbox iteration currently in circulation and it’s only Demon’s Souls that’s a nailed-on PS5 exclusive on Day One. Is that enough? Granted, it’s a huge release and no doubt will be highly-anticipated by those who are looking for a Souls hit, but that’s one game. Is Demon’s Souls a Super Mario 64? A game that single-handedly sold N64’s on day one? The push of day one exclusives may not be the necessity it once was to adopt a console (look at Xbox, for god’s sake), but one would assume there would have to be something that showcased what your new system can do without being held back by previous gen tech?
It was Horizon Forbidden West coming to PS4 that instantly made me rethink my holiday plans. Granted, I’m super hyped for Miles Morales also, but I can play that on my PS4 now. I thought Horizon would be the consoles killer app. The reason to invest heavily into next-gen, the reason to take a bunch of cash into my local GAME and drop it, no questions asked. I was hyped beyond belief and ready to be excited about what else would be coming to Sony’s shiny new console.
But, nope. I can just stick with my PS4 Pro and have the exact same experience, albeit less shinier. That’s it? I have a 4K HDR10 compatible television and it’ll no doubt look utterly glorious, much like the first one does. Miles Morales looked beautiful running on PS5 but it’ll look lovely on my Pro so the question is, what’s the rush?
Perhaps it’s not just the games. Sony have spent a good proportion of the year talking up the DualSense controller and all that it’s capable of. It’s haptic feedback and whatnot. These gimmicky additions that add an extra £15 to the price of every controller and will probably only be used by a small minority of first party developers during the consoles initial 12 months. I’ve no doubt it’s cool, but it’ll never be worth buying the system for. 3D audio? I’d argue that’s more of a game changer, though of course to experience it fully you have to drop £100 on Sony branded headphones. It’s a persistent ‘to experience this you’ll have to fork out this’ and it’s beginning to give me a headache.
I’m sorry Sony, I just want to play the games. Fortunately, I’ve already got a console that can do that.
So what’s next? Well, there appears to be a real lack of an argument from both Sony and Microsoft to drop £500-odd on their systems this Christmas. Of course, pre-orders for the PS5 disappeared as soon as they arrived across every possible outlet. I don’t even want to get into Sony’s piss poor handling of the pre-orders (dropping them at midnight with no warning other then ‘retailers will be taking pre-orders soon’, even though in August they promised this wouldn’t happen) but after a morning of attempting to secure one, I was left barren.
Now, you’re probably thinking ‘why did you want to get a pre-order down if you don’t want one?’ Well, that’s fair. I figured this morning when I woke up that should I change my mind and actually want to land day one into the brave new world of next-gen I’d at least have a pre-order nailed. I came away unsuccessful after several hours of trying, but I wasn’t frustrated. I looked at my laptop, shrugged and got on with my life. It’s been quite a day at FG Towers, make no mistake. The last thing I was going to do was mope about not securing a PS5 when everything I’ve seen that I want to play on it will come to PS4 in the first year or two.
Then that’s the thing isn’t it? Yes, eventually I will have to upgrade and I’m happy to do that. I’m excited for God of War Ragnarok, and I’m excited to possibly see a third Last of Us down the line, maybe another Horizon before the generation is done and dusted, just not yet.
I’m fully at peace with not getting a PS5 at launch. I don’t need it yet, I’m excited for everything to come on PS4, and there’s plenty of life in the old dog yet.
I was sold on the PS5, obviously. Then I watched the Showcase, and now I’m not. Sony’s radio silence and broken promises have made me want to hold on to what I have.
I didn’t see that coming.
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