In recent years, gaming firms like Nintendo and PlayStation have announced in advance what sort of stream viewers can expect for any pre-recorded broadcasts, whether they would be centered on independent games, third-party titles, or a specific game. This is a positive development that bodes well for the next Nintendo Direct or State of Play presentation. A new Zelda trailer during a Splatoon 3 Direct? No one is holding their breath.
Just this week, Sony did the same thing with its latest State of Play, revealing that PSVR 2, Rocksteady’s Suicide Squad, and a few indie and third-party games would be the show’s primary focuses. A key takeaway from the most recent State of Play showcases is the distinction between creating appropriate expectations and ensuring that audiences have no expectations at all.
Let’s begin with the highly anticipated PlayStation VR 2, which has recently been released to rave reviews. Having played around with Sony’s latest VR gear for a while, I can attest that the technology behind it is impressive. While there is just one new first-party title (Horizon: Call of the Mountain), many of the other games in the launch lineup are already available on competing headsets.
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At least one of the five new PlayStation VR 2 titles that will be featured at the State of Play was likely advertised as a “showstopper” when PlayStation confirmed its presence at the event. Instead, it featured games that were consistent with what was available at the same time for the PlayStation VR 2 launch.
This Explains the PlayStation State of Play, but That Doesn’t Make Them Less Detrimental
My coworker Brian Altano put it best when we were discussing the State of Play: “The State of Plays, in general, have mostly settled into a groove with their format, but it isn’t a fantastic groove. They lack the pleasant element of surprise that Nintendo Directs have.
Join the PS Access livestream as the crew chat through what we just saw in State Of Play right now: https://t.co/XwWZq1yvpF pic.twitter.com/373I0IMDz8
— PlayStation UK (@PlayStationUK) February 23, 2023
You and I may have been disappointed by the latest PlayStation VR 2 announcements for the same reason: there seems to be a mismatch between what PlayStation considers a surprise and what the consumer expects.
Metroid Prime Remaster was the “shadow drop” at the end of Nintendo’s most recent Direct, which was intended to emphasize certain first-party offers and was thus in keeping with the spirit of the presentation. To continue pushing the ongoing benefits of the Xbox Game Pass, the developer showcase featured the unexpected release of Hi-Fi Rush for a similar, first-party-oriented stream (which Hi-Fi Rush released on).
Sony promised to show off five new PlayStation VR 2 games, and the biggest shock was a VR title developed by Enhance, the studio responsible for one of my all-time favorite games, Tetris Effect. Despite its allure, I don’t think this VR game is good enough to warrant the purchase of a $550 VR headset. Also, current PlayStation VR 2 owners will have to wait until May to experience it for themselves.
Rocksteady’s Suicide Squad Kill the Justice League, the second mainstay of the State of Play, has seen virtually all of its content revealed in advance of its May release. The established features, like battle passes and gear levels, have been more of a source of worry than enthusiasm for players, and the longer gameplay preview did not shed any new light on the game. But, Warner Bros. President David Zaslav’s earlier disclosure that Mortal Kombat 12 would be published later this year overshadowed the surprise.
Because of this, it’s easy to see why the PlayStation State of Plays are the way they are, but that doesn’t make them any less counterproductive. Sony, as the owner of the most popular gaming platform and the possessor of an enviable stable of first-party studios, has an extra obligation to make sure fans have realistic expectations for the State of Plays, lest they be left feeling let down when there is no surprise announcement of a new God of War, The Last of Us, or Ghost of Tsushima.
Yet, Sony has made a succession of showcases devoid of surprises by being overly cautious about inflated expectations, leading me to question whether or not the State of Plays is still essential given that I can get just as much, if not more, information from a PlayStation Blog.
If these shows were to be improved in any way, it would be to make them more narrowly focused. PlayStation needs to commit fully to virtual reality if it wants to do a State of Play. Equally, if PlayStation cares about keeping its audience informed about third-party titles, it should produce a show just for that purpose.
An informative update on a highly anticipated game might be provided by the State of Play even if the entire article were devoted to a single game like Suicide Squad Kill the Justice League. Sony can better manage customer expectations and provide substantive improvements to its games and hardware if it chooses to specialize in just one area. Sure, why not a whole new show made by PlayStation Productions?
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State of Plays will not achieve the same must-watch status as shows put on by the other console-makers because it attempts to do too much, and fails to deliver on some of the main elements. We know this model works, and if PlayStation can focus on what gamers care about, it can compete with Nintendo and Microsoft.
Catch up on the new reveals and updates for PS5 and PS VR2 from today's action-packed #StateofPlay https://t.co/KTtMbOclQB pic.twitter.com/0mGvvBAGVT
— PlayStation AU (@PlayStationAU) February 24, 2023
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Frequently asked questions
What is state of play Playstation?
Our video presentation, State of Play, is where you can catch up on all the news and announcements from the PlayStation universe, as well as watch the newest trailers for upcoming games.
When is PlayStation State of Play 2023?
On March 21, 2023, subscribers to PlayStation Premium and Extra will be able to get their hands on it.
What time is state of play 2023?
Launch of Sony's State of Play in 2023 On February 23 at 1pm PT / 4pm ET / 9pm UK, the State of Play was broadcast live (and 7am AEST on February 24). The event ran for a total of around 45 minutes with new gameplay previews and news.