Sony revealed the PS5 yesterday to a lot of fanfare. After months of radio silence and a slow drip feed of information regarding the next-gen system, Sony pulled off a spectacular show with new game announcements and the console itself. Like my colleague Matt Brown wrote over on Windows Central, it put Microsoft's initial Xbox Series X showcase to shame. Unfortunately, what's clear the morning after is that Sony was far from clear in its messaging, and this lack of clarity may hurt it going forward.
This lack of clarity may hurt it going forward.
For starters, Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales was unveiled in a quick clip that had many thinking it was a full blown sequel. Once the chatter died down, more and more people considered the possibility of it being an expansion to the original game. Even Sony's own representatives gave conflicting answers to what Insomniac now says.
Speaking with The Telegraph, Simon Rutter, EVP of European Business at Sony Interactive Entertainment, said, "I guess you could call it an expansion and an enhancement to the previous game... There's a substantial Miles Morales component — which is the expansion element — but also within the game as well there's been major enhancements to the game and the game engine, obviously deploying some of the major PlayStation 5 technology and features."
This was interpreted by fans to mean that it was an expansion that would be included with a remaster of Marvel's Spider-Man for PS5, but it appears that this is not the case. Insomniac now says that it is a completely standalone game and more information will be revealed at a later date.
This confusion was compounded with the reveal of third-party games that most assumed were multiplatform, but are actually timed console exclusive to the PS5 at launch. Games like Deathloop and Ghostwire: Tokyo are all timed exclusives when they were initially thought to be multiplatform because they're developed by third-party studios. None of this was stated at the time during the show. Instead, these timed exclusivities were thrown into press releases on PlayStation's blog (because everyone who watches the event totally reads those afterward).
It's unclear whether they'll make their way to Xbox Series X at some point because the wording of the announcements is vague. We only learned these games are console launch exclusives on PS5 and will come to PC as well. No mention of potential Xbox Series X releases.
The event capped off with the reveal of the PS5 and a disc-less sister console to release alongside it, presumably. This is another time where Sony was not clear on its messaging. While this digital PS5 was revealed, we don't know if it's meant to release on the same day as the PS5, if it will cost less money, and if it sports the same solid-state drive (SSD). Sony didn't need to reveal it's whole hand at this point, and it shouldn't, but these are small things that I feel could have been talked about.
Players were also concerned that the PS5 could not be laid flat on its side, because by the looks of it it's an incredibly tall console — so much so that it may be the tallest console to date, if estimates are correct. Thankfully, it looks like people will be able to put it on its side judging by promotional pictures that Sony released. It's just unclear whether it will require a special base or not given its curved design.
Going forward, Sony needs to mitigate any confusion at every turn. Microsoft already has the advantage when it comes to sheer console power — barring the SSD — and its Xbox Series X showcase in July is sure to bring the heat.
I never feel that I should leave an event like this with more questions than answers, and in that regard, Sony failed.