It’s happening … we hope. Now that Microsoft has confirmed the Xbox Series X and Series S price and release dates, and most of the major third-parties have solidified their end-of-2020 release schedules, it’s finally time for Sony to fill in all the blanks still surrounding the PlayStation 5’s launch.
And so a lot of expectations rest on the shoulders of Wednesday’s PS5 showcase — expectations that include seeing the launch lineup, the UI, and, of course, finding out that price and release date…and maybe when we can actually preorder a PS5.
With those expectations and questions in mind, here’s our best guess of what will, and won’t, be at the PS5 showcase this week, which you can which live on IGN.
What Sony Has Said about the PS5 Event
Sony’s announcement of the PS5 showcase contains very little concrete details about the event, but it at least tells us this much:
- The PS5 is still set for a holiday 2020 launch.
- The showcase will be “around 40 minutes,” so a bit shorter than the June PS5 reveal event.
- It will feature both first-party games and third-party titles.
- The focus is on both PS5 launch games, and some set to hit the next-gen system after launch.
And that’s it! Thankfully, there is plenty Sony can fill those 40 minutes with, like…
PS5 Price and Release Date
While Sony’s announcement made no mention of either bit of info, the price and launch date are essential pieces of the PS5 puzzle that have to be answered.
If included – and again, I can’t stress how much they have to be this late in the game – these will likely be the closing details of the show, but it’s information Sony has to get out there before next week. Preorders open up for Xbox’s next-gen consoles on September 22, and to not at least tell potential, swing buyers of your console’s availability will just make them all the more likely to buy the only console they can put money down on.
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PS5 Games: First-Party Developed and Published Exclusives
Expect Sony’s first-party PS5 lineup to be the star of the show, both for launch and beyond. Marvel’s Spider-Man Miles Morales is set for this holiday, and we’ve only gotten one teaser trailer and a few developer quotes so far. It’ll undoubtedly be one of Sony’s biggest bets on convincing people to buy a PS5 day one.
And Insomniac Games’ other big PS5 exclusive, Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart, will also likely appear again. But given that we’ve now seen it at the PS5 showcase and Gamescom Opening Night Live, it may only be a brief appearance . (Though, personally, I will never tire of Clank’s acerbic but good-natured digs at Ratchet.)
As for already revealed games, Demon’s Souls feels like a safe bet, though it’s unclear how close to launch that remake will be released. A deeper look at Horizon Forbidden West – first gameplay perhaps? – could be utilized as a “wow” selling point, though we do know that sequel won’t hit the PS5 until 2021.
Sony will also likely shine a spotlight on an unannounced exclusive or two, the biggest question marks being what Sony’s new team in the San Diego area is working on, as well as if we’ll see arguably the most anticipated unannounced Sony game, a God of War sequel.
PS5 Games: Third-Party Exclusives and Multiplatform Games
But even if some of Sony’s first-party stable is quiet, expect to see plenty of other exclusives touted during the event. Even if they’re PC and PS5 like Deathloop and Ghostwire Tokyo exclusives or timed ones like Final Fantasy VII Remake on PS4, Sony will want to bring out as many examples as possible why Sony is the next-gen console to buy over the competition.
That’s what June’s showcase was all about — while several multiplatform games appeared, the majority were entirely or at least console exclusive. And in the months since, Sony has shown no interest in slowing down its exclusive acquisitions. From continued deals for timed exclusivity on Call of Duty elements to Spider-Man being a platform exclusive for Marvel’s Avengers, this is Sony’s strategy.
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And yes, while some launch window exclusives like the impressive Kena: Bridge of Spirits and Arkane’s Deathloop have been pushed to 2021, there’s still plenty of potential hits on the way; expect to see the likes of Godfall, Bugsnax, and The Pathless.
And a few unannounced exclusives will probably also debut, as well — though the EAs, WBs, and Ubisofts of the world have largely used their own showcases to hype their upcoming slate, Square Enix, Capcom, 2K, and more all had presences at Sony’s June showing. Sony will likely only double down on highlighting the strength of these third-party relationships, especially to clear up any first-year gaps in its first-party output. But don’t put your hopes on the biggest wished-for and rumored titles out there, especially as the focus is meant to be on immediate reasons to buy a PS5 over the next few months. Sorry GTA 6 and Silent Hill, hopefuls — it’s not quite your time.
Don’t expect much, if any, PlayStation VR focus at the show, which will be all about convincing you to buy a PlayStation 5. While Sony’s next-gen system will support PSVR, and Sony spent last week highlighting upcoming VR games, PSVR itself won’t be a selling point for launch. Even if Sony is seemingly working on a next-gen VR headset.
And announcing a PSVR 2 while there’s so much about the PS5 and its launch that remains a mystery would just muddy the waters. Convincing people to spend hundreds of dollars on a new console is a big enough task on its own. Adding an intriguing but non-essential peripheral for hundreds more on top of that is just bad business.
Sony sneakily included a look at PS5’s UI into the June showcase, and we know to expect a pretty major overhaul for the PlayStation 5’s interface. But if Sony includes the UI in the show expect it to be a sizzle reel, or a neat window dressing for the games on display — Sony’s June event, and the company’s PS4 showcases overall have focused on games, games, games.
If anything, a PlayStation blog post after the event is likely the place we’ll get an in-depth breakdown on PS5’s UI.
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And the same goes for what’s going on inside the PlayStation 5. While a console teardown has been expected for a while, this showcase doesn’t feel like the place for it. This show will be all about convincing as wide an audience as possible to buy a PS5, and getting too into the weeds on its tech beyond buzzwords and CGI commercials risks alienating some of the audience.
Again, a follow-up video or detailed PlayStation blog post is probably your best bet for those looking for more nuance. Sony has already been doing this with devs discussing the advantages of the SSD and how 3D audio is being integrated into PS5 games.
PS5 Backward Compatibility
This is a tough one. Sony’s messaging on PS5’s backward compatibility plan has been…murky, at best, and it certainly needs to clear the air before launch day when many a confused gamer will start shoving PlayStation 2 discs into the side of the PS5 in the hopes that they can play Twisted Metal: Black.
But I honestly wouldn’t expect Sony to spend much time looking forward when so much of their messaging about PS5 has been about looking ahead. Again, a PlayStation blog post is the most likely candidate for this information. But if it does get mentioned, think something talking about overall features like the hardware reveal that ended June’s showcase.
What are you hoping to see revealed at tomorrow’s showcase? Let us know in the comments. The showcase will start at 1pm PT and IGN will kick things off with a pre-show at 12:45 pm PT, with a post-show to break down all the big reveals as soon as the showcase ends. Plus, stay tuned to IGN’s weekly PlayStation show Podcast Beyond! and our weekly Next-Gen Console Watch series for detailed analysis of Sony’s showcase and how this impacts the next-gen landscape.
Jonathon Dornbush is IGN’s Senior News Editor, Host of Podcast Beyond!, and PlayStation lead. Talk to him on Twitter @jmdornbush.