Thought this was a very interesting article. It was written in response to the recent PlayStation 5 news, and offers a perspective on both Sony's and Microsoft's plans for next gen and how they differ.
Sony's understated approach to PR in 2019 has been in direct contrast to Microsoft, which has done nothing but talk, talk, talk, talk all year long. Whether it's about new consoles, streaming platforms, subscription services, games... even family settings. Microsoft has been leading the conversation, it has attended all the big shows, and has been sharing its vision in a coherent way. Microsoft has a plan and is happy to tell us all about it.
In a year where you'd expect Sony to be setting out its strategy for widening the gaming audience, it has acted conservatively. It is behaving more like a business worried about protecting its lead rather than extending it.
Sony's PR strategy is perhaps understandable when you consider the criticism it has faced from certain media, particularly around cross-play. There are already commentators proclaiming the return of 'arrogant Sony,' yet the counter to accusations of over-confidence is humility, not avoiding the conversation.
There is no centralised clarity of vision, and regional teams have become frustrated by US oversight and sign-off procedures. It's perhaps no wonder senior names -- whether that's Shawn Layden or regional leads -- are using this opportunity to move on.
This uncertainty has reached the wider business. At the GamesIndustry.biz Investment Summit this year, one indie developer expressed fears that PlayStation "has stopped caring about indies." There's so much we don't know about what Sony is planning next. What are its third-party priorities? Is VR still a thing for it? Is PlayStation Now as significant to them as Game Pass is for Xbox?
It might be PlayStation doesn't quite have all the answers yet and isn't ready for the media scrutiny. Even so, it's not quite the confident showing you'd expect from the dominant platform holder.
Much more at the link:PlayStation may have lost some charismatic names, but in Jim Ryan, Mark Cerny and Shuhei Yoshida, they've got some smart leaders more than capable of delivering something exceptional. But that's the thing... we don't know if Sony will do that next year. Is it going to invite the world's media back in? Is it going to face the tougher questions? Will it return to the big stages like E3?
There's some doubt around PlayStation now that wasn't there a few years ago. PS4 sales are slowing (in the UK, console sales are down almost 40% year-to-date) and the industry is looking at Sony to see what's next for the console business. At the moment, Xbox is the one providing all the answers.