There’s a lot going on right now considering the pandemic, subsequent economic instability, and current wave of protests over police brutality. Gaming has always been a prime way to escape in times like this due to its escapist nature and compatibility with being alone and indoors. It, along with gaming news, has been one of the sole bright lights in these dark times. Sony’s PS5 reveal event was supposed to be one of the brightest lights in this but the publisher has postponed it in an effort to “allow more important voices to be heard.” And Sony is right: there are more important voices to listen to right now.
Many do not see it this way. A lot of the replies to the announcement tweet are indicative of that as some are unironically crying out how this is an injustice and that Xbox “would never do this,” which is an ignorant thing to say, given Xbox’s recent tweet on the matter. It’s downright embarrassing that players have responded to this in such a myopic way that is so devoid of empathy. People are getting killed, beaten, trampled, and shot and complaining to a company for wanting to hold some sort of figurative moment of silence is like loudly interrupting a funeral ceremony to complain about the lukewarm appetizers in the lobby. The room temperature meatballs can wait, Ron.
Time and place
There’s a time and place for everything and having such an easily movable PS5 event on June 4 would have been remarkably tone deaf. Sony, only a handful of hours before the tweet announcing the delay, tweeted its support for Black community and said it would “work toward a future marked by empathy and inclusion by our Black creators, players, employees, families, and friends.”
Going through with the PS5 reveal event just a few days later would have shown how hollow those words were as they would have seemed like mere marketing just meant to cash in on the idea of inclusion without actually doing anything to back it up. It’s not unlike companies to give the most vague lip service to a cause without committing to anything or using the most mayonnaise-like language to avoid offending anybody. By actually backing up its statement by respecting the voices of others (and apparently matching donations to just causes), Sony is at least showing some sort of actual solidarity instead of just pantomiming it for internet kudos.
As ironic as it seems given how the NFL treats protest and how last year’s game edited out Colin Kaepernick’s name, EA hit upon why it’s ultimately good to wait in its tweet delaying the Madden 20 reveal: this is bigger than a game. Extreme times like this should force some perspective upon some people, especially those who are relatively unscathed by the problems infecting the world. Seeing people die for unjust reasons should make video games seem minuscule and give you some sort of pause, even if just for a week or so.
And the PS5 reveal will probably be rescheduled in about a week or so, which isn’t that long when considering how long we’ve already waited for substantial news on the next generation. Knowing about the next Silent Hill or Horizon Zero Dawn game won’t make them come any quicker anyway. If anything, it might even make that wait seem shorter since you’ll have known about it for less time.
Sony undoubtedly wants to tell you about the PS5 (there are even TV ads promoting it) and while that might cut through even now, its impact would be diminished. Timelines are swamped with protest news and video clips and all of that would suck up most people’s attention along with the PS5’s oxygen. It’s a cold way to look at it, but players will be able to focus more easily on the PS5 when the protests begin to fade and Sony would more easily be able to spread the word.
Sony wants you to be able to focus on what matters more right now give more room to the larger issues. Video games do matter as all art does, but it’s all a matter of perspective and respect in these tragic times. Video games are fantastic distractions during hardship, but they shouldn’t always distract us from the world’s hardships. Sony recognized that and decided that some things are bigger than electronics, which is refreshingly jarring coming from an electronics company. And if a profit-driven electronics company can wait to tell us about the PS5, then it shouldn’t be too hard to wait to listen.