With the full reveal of the Xbox Series X specs earlier this week, the ball was in Sony’s court to hype up the PlayStation 5. After the announcement of a PS5 reveal stream yesterday, the excitement was high, and fans were pumped to see what Sony’s paradigm would be for the next console generation. With the Coronavirus epidemic in full swing, we expected that the PS5 reveal would be a bit more subdued. After all, a big showcase event would go against all recommendations we’re getting right now.
The Xbox Series X and PS5 are very similar in specification, so marketing and exclusives are going to be the factors that result in one succeeding over the other. It’s odd then that the video Sony released, The Road to PS5, is maybe the least hype-filled console reveal in video game history.
— Bizzdakid (@Bizzdakid) March 18, 2020
The video is a deep dive into the PS5’s system architecture and was initially supposed to be a speech made at GDC. As such, it’s obviously written with an audience made up of industry professionals in mind. These sorts of talks aren’t uncommon, and some fans absolutely love these full breakdowns. However, given that Sony hasn’t even revealed the design of the PS5, the controller, or any gameplay, most of the talk comes off incredibly abstract.
Now, to be fair, Sony never positioned this stream as a full console reveal. However, it’s not hard to read between the lines and assume that if you’re going to go in-depth about PS5 system architecture, you’ll at least show the console. We got to hear about how the solid-state drive will work, new compression algorithms, the CPU and GPU, audio design, power efficiency, and all sorts of other factors going into the system. However, by not actually showing the console, Sony didn’t give the audience something to ground all the technical discussion.
While this talk was directed towards an industry audience, the lack of news on PS5 has put all eyes on Sony. While the technical details behind the PS5 are fascinating to someone like me, the general public, who were the majority of the viewers, don’t care about that sort of thing. Instead of getting lulled to sleep by Mark Cerny’s smooth timbre, they want dubstep, game footage, and at least an image of the console. In not giving the public anything concrete with this presentation, Sony dropped the ball on an opportunity where they could have created a fervor about their upcoming console.
So, why can’t both things happen? Why can’t we have this industry-focused video and then do a big public reveal later? Well, by drawing attention to today’s talk on social media, Sony kind of shot itself in the foot. Now, the next time they announce a presentation about the PS5, most people are going to glance at it, assume it’s something like we saw today, and ignore it.
— Bear Boy Jonathan Wedge 🐻 (@BearBoyJW) March 18, 2020
Most people just care about what kind of games they can play on a console and how good it looks, and until Sony redirects attention to those aspects of the PS5, I feel like they’ve lost the crowd. This is reflected by posts on social media expressing dissatisfaction with the presentation. The most common criticism is that it was boring, and I can’t disagree with that. Even as an industry professional, the presentation felt sterile and bereft of the enthusiasm that Sony should have for the PS5.
We’re living in uncertain times, but even before the Coronavirus epidemic turned our lives upside down, excitement for the upcoming console generation seemed subdued. Hopefully, we’ll see Sony rally and actually show us what the PS5 can do soon, not just what it’s made out of.