Sony knows what it’s doing with PS5 and Returnal proves it – Reader's Feature

Sony knows what it’s doing with PS5 and Returnal proves it – Reader's Feature

A reader suggests that Sony’s plan for the PS5 is going exactly to plan and that issues like downsizing Japan Studio are for the best.

The last few months might not have been all that interesting in terms of new game releases, but it sure has been fascinating to see people argue over whether Microsoft or Sony are getting things right. You’ve had the usual sort who gets hypersensitive over their favourite global corporation being criticised but generally I’d say the level of discussion, at least on Metro, has been very good – in large part because there is no obvious answer as to who’s doing better at the moment.

Who’s sold the most consoles is meaningless when neither stays in stock for more than five minutes and while Microsoft’s lack of exclusive games is kind of embarrassing it does seem as if that’s not having the kind of major negative impact you would’ve expected in previous generations. Both companies are, to all intents and purposes, neck and neck. The interesting thing is that they’re in that situation despite having very different approaches.

That alone is not how these things usually work. Usually, Microsoft and Sony are making the same sort of games for the same sort of consoles and it’s hard to fit a sliver of paper between either of them. Microsoft though has a three-pronged approach now: get people used to subscribing to Game Pass, make sure they have a steady supply of first party exclusives for it, and then slowly migrate towards cloud gaming being the primary way you consume Xbox games.

By comparison, Sony’s plan is a lot more straightforward: make really good games. It’s essentially Nintendo’s approach but without the hardware innovation and weird console gimmicks. Maybe they have other things planned that will make a difference later, like their answer to Game Pass, but they haven’t even hinted at it yet so it’s certainly not a reason why they expect anyone to buy a PlayStation 5.

Many people have worried that this is not going to be enough to stand up against Microsoft. It’s basically the same game plan as all their other consoles and doesn’t seem to account for upcoming new technology or the increasing costs of both making games and the price we consumers have to pay for them.

I agree that in terms of offering some sort of compensation for the increase to £70 Sony has done very badly. They’ve not acknowledged what a huge increase it is and they’ve done nothing to try and ameliorate it. That for me is their biggest mistake but I think it’s largely their only one.

Their basic plan, that they make really good games and should be trusted to get on with it, has been proven absolutely valid by the release of Returnal. A game that’s had almost zero promotion but apparently is very good, relatively original, and a brand new IP. Exactly what everyone should be asking for.

They’ve so far, rightly, ignored the calls for a Days Gone 2, appearing to accept that the original was a bland, uninspiring open world game that does not belong in the same conversation as their other greats. Sony is aiming to be known as the best maker of video games in the world and this generation, and last generation, they’re absolutely nailing it.

Demon’s Souls, Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Returnal; even Astro’s Playroom and Sackboy: A Big Adventure, have all been great. Their only dud has been Destruction AllStars, which they sensibly downgraded from a full-price release to a PlayStation Plus freebie. Especially with the pandemic going on, I really don’t think they could’ve done anything more. Not with Ratchet & Clank already ready to follow-up in a few months.

The other big criticism has been Sony shutting Japan Studio down and while I’m not happy with that I’m not sure it’s really that surprising. Games like Gravity Rush, Tokyo Jungle, Rain, and Patapon were all very quirky but they weren’t particularly good and they didn’t sell well. And Sony gave them a good try too, with sequels to Gravity Rush and Patapon despite them likely to be flops (which they were).

Ensuring they have a steady flow of Japanese made games is important, but I’m not ready to call them a liar yet, when they say they are planning them. When they announced the PlayStation 5’s games line-up they had a ton of interesting looking indie games, including Bugsnax, Kena: Bridge Of Spirits, Solar Ash, and Goodbye Volcano High. These seem at least as interesting to me as Japan Studio’s output and proof that Sony isn’t all about triple-A sad dad simulators.

So for me Sony has done more than enough to prove they know what they’re doing and I think they’re going to find ongoing success simply from making really good video games. And I for one am glad that that kind of approach is still one that works.

By reader Taylor Moon

The reader’s feature does not necessary represent the views of GameCentral or Metro.

You can submit your own 500 to 600-word reader feature at any time, which if used will be published in the next appropriate weekend slot. As always, email [email protected] and follow us on Twitter.

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