At the Electronic Entertainment Expo trade show in Los Angeles next month, Sony has announced that its PlayStation event will focus on Death Stranding, Ghost of Tsushima, Spider-Man, and The Last of Us Part II. Some fans have already taken this as a sign that the PlayStation 5 is coming, because Sony Worldwide Studios would have more games if it wasn’t holding back for the PS5 reveal … right?
No. That’s probably not what is happening here. Instead, Sony Interactive Entertainment’s new strategy is about re-calibrating player expectations.
We talked about it on the GamesBeat Decides podcast on Friday, and you can listen to that here:
A PlayStation 5 in 2019 makes sense because it would follow that traditional cycle where console manufacturers launch something new every five-to-six years. But that’s the only reason it makes sense — and even that is shaky. The Xbox 360 lasted eight years before the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 launched. Sony should want the more dominant PS4 to last at least as long (especially after its mid-cycle PS4 Pro refresh).
Rebooting the console space is also a risk. Right now, Sony has the place where people want to play Fortnite and buy microtransactions. That’s the way the business is going, and it is one of the reasons the company invests so much in tentpole blockbuster single-player “system sellers.”
So, yeah, PlayStation 5 before 2021 might be a stretch. Sony is instead likely changing its E3 presentation because it wants to get away from building up fans to expect a bigger and bigger show every year. It has four big games coming, and it wants to sell those. When the next batch of games are closer, they’ll get their chance in the E3 lights.
Well, except for Death Stranding. That will show up at every E3 and PSX until the heat death of the universe because teasing a game is what Hideo Kojima loves.
Of course, none of this means Sony can’t bring a third-party on stage to announce some big revival like Square Enix did with Final Fantasy VII: Remake in 2015 … but c’mon, this industry only has so many Final Fantasy VII: Remakes.