Sony’s Confusing Approach To State of Play

Sony‘s State of Play presentation has come to an end, and there we got plenty of announcements. By far, the most significant of these was The Last of Us Part 2 and it’s official release date of February 2020.

For as exciting as The Last of Us Part 2 trailer was, there was something that many seem to overlook: the rest of the presentation. Since March of this year, Sony decided to take a page out of Nintendo‘s playbook and hold their own presentations. While their first one as met with mostly negative responses, they since have gotten much better. With a mix of popular titles coming to the system in the coming months, there was plenty to look forward to on the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation VR.

Why Sony didn't want to promote this during the State of Play?
Source: Naughty Dog

But what grinds the gears a bit here is those who apparently are looking at the presentation for just a single title and acting as though it was the great presentation that ever existed. While you can certainly have that highlight title as your feature presentation, you still need to have other titles to share with your fanbase to show that you have more games than just that one specific game. And while The Last of Us Part 2 likely will be a Game of the Year contender by the end of next year, you need to provide reassurance that you have the short term covered as much as the long term.

Performance Lab®  - Not all supplements are the same

It seems silly to make up excuses for Sony‘s presentation being lackluster since each argument has an easy counter to it. As such, let’s approach a few of them and explain why this should only make Sony and Playstation work that much harder to show why they are the “winners” of this generation.

An End of a Generation

No matter which console you were playing on during this generation, it is a safe assumption to say the PlayStation 4 was the best.  For the last couple of years, Sony was home to some of the best titles such as God of WarBloodborne and Horizon: Zero Dawn. While the Nintendo Switch did make an impact with various titles as did the Xbox One (to what little extent there was there), many would say that every year, the PlayStation 4 always had the best exclusive titles throughout each and every year.

State of Play was a nice place to announce the special PS4 Edition to Death Stranding
Source: Death Stranding

So why not this year? Do you really mean to say that after so many years of riding at the top, Sony threw up their arms, say “Days Gone and Death Stranding can cover us this year,” and leave it at that? Or perhaps just because of all the fantastic exclusives currently on the platform, there’s no reason to do any more until the PS5 drops? If Concrete Genie is coming out in two weeks (October 8), why not remind people of its release? Or spend more time talking about Medievil? If there are still more exclusive games coming in 2019, it probably would be good to remind people of the games coming this year alongside early 2020.

Do Indies and AAA titles mix?

There is a weird thing that happens during Sony‘s State of Play where it can feel like the only thing you remember is either the first game or the last game, but not much in the middle. Even going through the comments of the video, there were plenty of people praising The Last of Us Part 2 but didn’t see many other comments about any of the other games that got their time in the presentation. In fact, there were more people talking about the lack of Ghost of Tsushima than there were people talking about the other titles in this presentation put together.

This isn’t to take a shot at Sony because “they don’t know how to properly structure their presentation.” If anything else, Sony should be commended to show off just as many titles that are from indie developers as there are titles within the AAA industry and other high-end titles. At times, it can feel like those titles from indie developers usually do get overshadowed by the higher tier games for the obvious reasons. As fun as it would be to play a game with countless NPCs or the next bizarre game from the people who brought us Katamari Damacy,  chances are a few of these titles will disappear out of some gamer’s memories the moment you see Ellie starting to murder people left and right.

A Magical world work a toilet can hold hands with colorful poop. ^__^
Source: Wattam

There is a reason why Nintendo usually devotes a direct to the “Nindies” and it would be nice if Sony chose to do that too. Just because you don’t have a big game to close out the presentation doesn’t mean people won’t tune in to see the upcoming titles. Perhaps in the future, indie titles will blend in well with the other high-end titles in Sony’s repertoire.

The Timing of the State

So what is the big deal about talking about Sony‘s State of Play? They are doing their own thing and we should let them do whatever they want, right? That would be all fine and good if it weren’t for the fact of how long it’s been since the last time we’ve heard from them. If this presentation was done after E3, then it would be understandable if there weren’t many big announcements. Then again, Sony did skip E3 and also didn’t really say much about their plans for 2019 during other conferences like Gamescom and Tokyo Game Show.

But when was Sony‘s last official State of Play video? The answer is May 9, 2019. It was a short 12-minute presentation that only served one small purpose: get fans ready for Final Fantasy 7 Remake‘s reveal at E3 the following month. Four months since the last presentation, and since Sony did bypass all the fun trade shows, it would be fair to assume we would get at least a few big announcements besides The Last of Us Part 2. But we didn’t. When your showcase feels so lackluster that the only thing people will focus on is Kill Bill Vol. 3 starring Ellie and Joel, it can make one wonder why you would have a presentation at all and just post the trailer people want to see on your YouTube channel instead.

This is the plot to The Last of Us Part 2 now, right?


Throughout any news outlet you read about the State of Play, can you really say there were any really big standouts besides The last of Us Part 2? This is far from saying that they were bad since titles like Humanity, Arise: A Simple Story and Wattam were certainly something. But the overall pacing did feel off until we got to the home stretch. It’s nice to see titles like L.A. Noire: The VR Case Files and Civilization 6 coming to the PS4, but it can drag the presentation along slowly if we are confirming titles that were on other platforms for some time.

So was this the worst presentation Sony has ever put out? Of course not. In fact, we can probably say it was the best one yet. To say that this is the best one they’ve done though doesn’t give it an free pass from constructive criticism. And to give them a free past when they are seen as the “Front Runner” of this generation should actually raise how important these kind of presentations are. NFL fans don’t just let Tom Brady and the Patriots go to the Super Bowl just because they are one of the best teams; they have to earn it. And up to now, Sony has earned their spot. But it is just as important to maintain it now.

Something bad is going to happen to Joel, isn't it?
Source: The Last of Us Part 2

You don’t want to suddenly have Microsoft come up next generation and show you up, after all. Keep up the great work Sony and strive for higher marks to have the State of Play match the Nintendo Direct in quality.

Did you Enjoy The State of Play?

Do you think Sony‘s State of Play presentations have room for improvement? And what plans does Sony have for 2020 and beyond? Hell knows that while 2019 might seem like a lackluster year, titles like The Last of Us Part 2 and the Final Fantasy 7 Remake certainly will be games to keep an eye on.

Be sure to follow us here at Culture of Gaming for more articles on Sony, and other things happening in the gaming world.

Also, did anyone feel like the lack of anything related to Batman was unfortunate? A lot of people have been led astray from that little rumor…

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Michael Solseth

How’s it going everyone, I’m Mike Sol and I am one of many contributing writers to Culture of Gaming. You can usually find me playing some of the latest games to come out, although I tend to avoid anything related to sports or strategy. I enjoy the big three and all the games on them but my main console is the Xbox One. I don’t have a specific preference in gaming, but any game that has fun action and beating up waves of enemies is usually my cup tea. If you ever want to game with me or want me to write about something of interest, feel free to hit me up. I also now have a personal blog where I go into deeper thoughts about things happening in the gaming world. Please come and check out Mad MAS Gaming here:

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