Last generation Microsoft and the Xbox brand weren’t even in the race.
So when it came time for Sony to finally reveal its next-generation console at its Future of Gaming event, Sony didn’t rely on specs or cumbersome pipe dreams of making consoles the entertainment center of your living room. Sony just showed video games.
Lots and lots of video games.
Sony’s PlayStation 5 showcase opened with Spider-Man Miles Morales and closed with Horizon Forbidden West, sequels to absolute corkers with established fan bases and critical acclaim. But sandwiched between those two heavyweights was a massive line-up of games revealed in a shotgun blast fashion so intense it was almost impossible to evaluate what we’re actually in for.
Launch events like these are traditionally showcases for lifelike graphics, but here it was the broad, varied palette of art styles that shone through. The PlayStation 5, much like the Xbox Series X, will no doubt be a powerful machine. But you get the sense that art direction and the pure heft of human resources will drive visual improvements in the next generation — not the nuts and bolts of the console itself.
Games like Little Devil Inside, an otherworldly adventure title that looked unlike any video game I’ve ever seen, sat comfortably alongside games like Horizon Forbidden West, a game that will set new benchmarks in a more traditional sense.
For a presentation titled “The Future of Games”, this was very much a presentation rooted in the here and now: This is the console and these are the games you will play. Sony is promising further details in later presentations, but it’s easy to wonder. Is this the point at which Microsoft and Sony diverge paths? One more focused on video games as a service, the other committed to building the best possible library of traditional exclusives.