How Should Sony Handle the Next Generation?

2020 has felt like the longest year of my lifetime, but as summer is finally coming to an end I look ahead to the busy fall and winter that lies ahead. This fall we have a solid games lineup made up of the remastered Tony Hawk Pro Skater, Square Enix’s Avengers, plus we eagerly await the arrivals of Cyberpunk and Assassins Creed Valhalla. Perhaps the most anticipated arrival of this fall/winter is the next generation of PlayStation…the PS5!

The long-awaited PS5 is slated to hit stores in the holiday of 2020, and while there is so much that we know about the console itself several questions remain…how much will the PS5 cost? What games will we see at launch? How will Sony handle players wanting to upgrade their PS4 versions of games to the new PS5 console (especially small third party or indie games)? In this article, I am going to dive into the mysteries surrounding the PlayStation 5.

In the inaugural episode of Cross Roads A Playstation Podcast we dove into our launch date/price/game predictions and to briefly recap the consistent thought was that Miles Morales would be a launch title for the PS5. I believe that the console will come out on November 6th, 2020. My reasoning for this belief that Sony launched the PS4 on a Friday and saw great crowds coming to buy the system at launch (PS4 launched on Friday, November 14th). I believe that Sony wants to get their console out before Microsoft unleashes the XBOX Series X. Sony always loves to be the top dog and with the PS5 they have the opportunity to win gamers over early if they release their console first and they pair it with a great exclusive. Miles Morales provides a unique twist into a universe that sold extremely well for Sony (estimates over 13 million copies sold) and that gamers want more of. Insomniac created a world that was completely fresh for fans of the Peter Parker story and provided one of the smoothest ways to move around a game with their take on Spidey’s swinging skills. If Sony pulls the trigger and bundles Miles Morales (and potentially a remastered version of the PS4 Spider-Man) with the PS5 it would help sell the console before Black Friday and Christmas. I believe a Miles Morales themed controller isn’t that far out of the realm of possibility, because it showcases the custom options they will offer later in the consoles life cycle.

When we look at exclusives that are currently slated for release this fall/winter we can’t go much further without mentioning Ratchet & Clank. Ratchet & Clank had a major impact on the PS5 Games event back in June of 2020 when it showed off its progress using ray tracing to make flying between alternate universes flawless. Ratchet & Clank is a big piece to the PlayStation family and it has appeal across all age groups, Sony could easily look at the marketability of R &C to bundle it with their new console. I think the advantage that R &C gives Sony is the mass appeal, kids will beg their parents to buy R&C on the PS5 where it will run remarkably better with shorter load times and graphics that are jaw-dropping. This is the beauty of having a strong exclusive lineup, Sony has the power to plug two of their bigger exclusives right at the beginning of a console launch. Meanwhile, Microsoft will be relying on strong third party partnerships with games like Cyberpunk and Valhalla to help their console launch after their big exclusive Halo Infinite was delayed.  Sony has the opportunity to hit the ground running by giving its fans exclusives that they care about right out of the gate.

What can Sony do better with the PS5 than in past generations?

I think Sony needs to look at Microsoft and acknowledge that Microsoft is better equipped for the future. When I look at XBOX Gamepass I see the future of gaming, the world is in a subscription service frenzy right now and I don’t think that it will die down anytime soon. The HUGE advantage that Gamepass has over Sony’s creation Playstation Now is that XBOX releases games straight to Gamepass. If you tell a gamer that instead of spending $60 on this brand new release all you have to have is a $15 a month subscription its a no brainer what they will choose. Sony could release smaller games directly onto Playstation Now to test it and then perhaps try an exclusive like God of War 2 to see how many people pick up a subscription. The first step into Sony’s future success is building onto Playstation Now

As we look to other ways that Sony can continue its dynasty, I look no further than their exclusive lineup. The PS4 saw several new IP’s that absolutely dominated, games like Horizon Zero Dawn (join the movement and convince Leron to play through the game), Days Gone, and recently Ghosts of Tushima. Sony has to keep bringing fresh IP’s and new exclusives to the PS5, and they need to keep building on their strong franchises. I would love for Naughty Dog to give us more of the Uncharted story in a game like The Lost Legacy where it doesn’t rely solely on Nathan Drake. We know Cory Barlog is working on a sequel to his God of War reboot and we have a trailer for Horizon Forbidden West. Franchises and exclusives are the things that set the PS4 apart from the XBOX One and it will be the thing that continues Sony’s success.

Finally, Sony has to make transitioning from the PS4 to the PS5 flawless. A compnay as big as Sony can make this transition easier than in years past. While Microsoft has its “Smart Delivery” system Sony could use their relationships with third party developers to push for either free PS5 upgrades or minimal charges for the upgraded version. Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War is a perfect example of how Sony could keep costs to a minimum. Cold War is offering PlayStation players a version of the game on PS5 for $10 extra. I think this is the model that should be used, we know that PS5 games will have an increased price so having players just pay the upgrade price makes an easy transition for players to get their games in an easy way no matter where they want to play!

Time will tell exactly how PlayStation proceeds, for all things PlayStation stay tuned to Cross Roads a PlayStation Podcast on Boss Rush Games.