What We Want From PlayStation in 2018

Sony continued to win behind the scenes while Nintendo grabbed headlines, but what will the company do in 2018?

Opinion by Mike Williams, .

We've already begun breaking in 2018, kicking the tires, doing a drift or two, and flooring it to see how good or bad things can get. Nadia wrote about what she wants to see from Nintendo over the course of the next 12 months. Now it's time for me to do the same for Sony.

I've talked a great deal about Nintendo's success with the Switch over the past few months, but Sony has been continuing to kick ass in the background. In mid-December, the PlayStation 4 crossed 70 million consoles sold worldwide, which puts the system just behind the PlayStation 2's sales pace four years out. What should all those PS4 owners be looking forward to in 2018?

Some Actual Release Dates

Sony Computer Entertainment has announced some great PlayStation 4 exclusives over the past year and some change: Marvel's Spider-Man, Days Gone, God of War, The Last of Us Part 2, Ghosts of Tsushima, Death Stranding, Detroit: Become Human, and Kingdom Hearts III. The big problem? None of those games has a firm release date. Yeah, that may seem a bit shocking, especially for games like Spider-Man and Days Gone that were announced at E3 2016.

Nearly every game listed above has a blanket "2018" release window. We've heard hints of firmer release windows, like the first quarter of 2018 for God of War or the first half of 2018 for Spider-Man and Detroit: Become Human, but those are rough, unofficial dates. On the official PlayStation website, every game is listed as "2018" or "TBC". Kingdom Hearts III, Death Stranding, and Ghosts of Tsushima may been even farther out with a release window of 2019.

I'm excited for many of these games Sony, but at some point, you're going to need to actually give them release dates. A system doesn't sell on promises alone.

Cross-Platform Play

Part of being the market leader is a sense of arrogance. When they're winning, companies don't feel the need to provide the services and features they should for consumers. This has happened to Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo in the past, but currently, Sony is the one that's holding out on features consumers want. In this case, cross-platform play.

If you own a game on PlayStation 4 or PlayStation Vita, you can't play with friends who own that game on an Xbox One, PC, or Nintendo Switch. Microsoft is behind this generation, so it's become very open to the idea of cross-platform play. Even Nintendo is allowing games like Minecraft to link up to their counterparts on Xbox One, Windows 10, Android, and iOS.

This isn't a developer problem. The developers of Rocket League and Gwent: The Witcher Card Game have both said they can make cross-platform play work, but they require Sony's approval. Epic Games even accidentally turned on cross-platform play for Fortnite on Xbox One and PlayStation 4, before shutting it off again a few hours later.

Sony's reasons for skipping cross-platform play haven't been all that satisfying.

"We've got to be mindful of our responsibility to our install base. Minecraft - the demographic playing that, you know as well as I do, it's all ages but it's also very young. We have a contract with the people who go online with us, that we look after them and they are within the PlayStation curated universe. Exposing what in many cases are children to external influences we have no ability to manage or look after, it's something we have to think about very carefully," Sony Marketing Head Jim Ryan said in June of last year.

If Nintendo, the bastion of family-friendly play, can offer it, you can too Sony. It's 2018. Let's make it happen.

Better PlayStation VR Games

The PlayStation VR has sold over 2 million units to consumers and 12.2 million PlayStation VR games. Some consumers might've forgotten about the platform, but Sony did not. The end of 2017 saw the release of games like The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim VR, Doom VFR, and Gran Turismo Sport, but there's more coming.

Developers are still working out which games work in virtual reality. It's very much new territory and outside of some gems like Resident Evil 7 VR, Farpoint, and Monster of the Deep: Final Fantasy XV, the first year of PlayStation VR felt a little half-baked.

2018 is the year Sony and its partners can really deliver on the promise of VR. Early in the year, Sony has releases like The Inpatient, which is a prequel to the excellent Until Dawn, and Moss, which has you shepherding an adventurous mouse on his journey. Obduction, from the creators of Myst, will be getting an update on PlayStation 4 to make it PSVR active. Ace Combat 7 and Dreams will have PSVR support, and the platform will see exclusive games like Ubisoft's Transference.

Beyond that, we're in wait-and-see mode. It'll all come down to what Sony shows off for PlayStation VR at E3 2018.

A Hint About the Future of PlayStation

The big question for Sony in 2018 is "What's next for PlayStation?" The PlayStation 4 will enter its fifth year on the market, meaning players, publishers, and studios have begun wondering where the platform goes next. A Sony console generation tends to max out at 6 or 7 years. The PlayStation launched in 1994, the PlayStation 2 in 2000, and the PlayStation 3 in 2006. The PlayStation 4 released in 2013, representing the longest time between PlayStation consoles. That would put a PlayStation 4 successor in 2019 or 2020 at the latest. We'd likely hear hints about that planned system this year.

The trouble is, Sony threw things off with the release of a mid-cycle upgrade. The PlayStation 4 Pro offers a different future for the PlayStation platform. Instead of an all-new system that dispenses with the past completely, the next PlayStation system could continue what the Pro started and offer an incremental upgrade. Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter thinks that the PlayStation 5 will be an upgrade to the Pro, like the Pro was to the original PlayStation 4.

"Will it play games that were made for the PlayStation 4 Pro? That's the question. I think it will. So I think they will build a console that will backwards compatible with the PS4 Pro," Pachter told GamingBolt in an interview. "My expectation that is that it's not coming out in 2018. That is a 2019 0r 2020 but probably 2019. Sony is probably timing it better because they are going to bring out a 4K capable device when the 4K TV market reaches 50% in the USA and 35% in the rest of the world. I think Sony has probably got the next console cycle nailed down already. I think, they already know what they got to do."

Macquarie analyst Damian Thong, who predicted the PlayStation 4 Slim and Pro models, has suggested to the Wall Street Journal that the next PlayStation could come as early as the end of this year.

I honestly don't know what I want from the PlayStation 5. I generally look forward to a clean visual break from platform to platform. I also have a PC, the PlayStation 4 Pro, and Xbox One X though, and one of the joys of those platforms is being able to revisit older games with an additional visual sheen. There's more hype in a clean break, but as a consumer, I admit a rolling platform feels better. There's also something to be said about topping out on the power of home consoles. We're already rendering some games in native 4K on Xbox One X and PlayStation 4 Pro. Where can you really go with the next platform that will wow players? Folks are just now getting 4K televisions en masse, so moving onto 8K isn't a draw for a mass market product. You're essentially aiming for a box that can do what the Pro and X can do now, but slightly better. At that point, do you really want to call it the PlayStation 5?

Sony's already made its decision I'm sure, it's just a matter of the company giving us a signpost. It feels like 2018 is the time for Sony to point towards the horizon and say "Here's where PlayStation is going."

PlayStation Vita Games?

I'm just messing with you. Vita no longer means "life" now that the Switch is around.

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Comments 21

  • Avatar for Roto13 #1 Roto13 2 months ago
    Switch is everything I wanted Vita to be but never quite was.
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  • Avatar for MetManMas #2 MetManMas 2 months ago
    Honestly, I would be absolutely fine with not receiving news of a PS5 until like 2023 or so. I already thought the PS4 was veering a li'l too close to making the same mistakes Sega did as a console publisher (i.e. overpriced add-ons and upgrades), and I doubt anyone who shelled out the cash for a PS4 Pro or PS VR would be too happy to have Sony trying to get them to buy another new thing for several hundred more dollars a year or two down the line.

    And while the consoles may not be good enough for AAA devs or hi-tech graphics connoisseurs, they're about as good as they're going to get within a reasonable budget. Like, we already saw a number of game companies fall or move their priorities elsewhere last gen, even when their games sold really well, because the sales still weren't good enough.

    The indie market's where it's at, and indie don't need no fancy schmancy 4K rig.
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  • Avatar for SatelliteOfLove #3 SatelliteOfLove 2 months ago
    I still think of the OG 4 when I think of the console and have never warmed up with the new looks.
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  • Avatar for discohospital #4 discohospital 2 months ago
    Well, given that there are at least three highly noteworthy games coming to Vita but (as far as anyone knows) not Switch: the Persona 3 and 5 rhythm games, and the enhanced port of Catherine... All are coming to PS4 as well, but if you want them portable, it looks like you'll have to keep your Vita alive for at least another year and change.

    Although I haven't bought a Switch yet, I do find the aggressive approach in filling the first year's calendar with highly desirable, system-selling titles an interesting change (although I hope it doesn't mean it'll lose momentum going forward rather than the other way around). It's so often been the case that a new platform's first year is something to watch somewhat skeptically from a distance (from the perspective of anyone who waits for the beginnings of a good library before committing). I'm not sure Sony could manage something similar with a totally new, non-transitional platform without extremely strong third-party commitment well in advance. That might be seen as a gamble by a lot of companies, so maybe they will go incremental, although I'd prefer to wait a few more years and get something fresh.
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  • Avatar for cldmstrsn #5 cldmstrsn 2 months ago
    PS5 with twice the power of say the XBX in 2019 would probably make the most business sense and again would make Microsoft play catch up again.
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  • Avatar for riderkicker #6 riderkicker 2 months ago
    No proprietary formats
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  • Avatar for link6616 #7 link6616 2 months ago
    @discohospital I'm really baffled by P3D and 5D not coming to switch. I assume the only reason they are coming to vita is that the tech and engine is all just there? Catherine though, that's a surprise!
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  • Avatar for jeffcorry #8 jeffcorry 2 months ago
    How about a portable PS4...?
    I'd buy it...
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  • Avatar for SuperShinobi #9 SuperShinobi 2 months ago
    "Where can you really go with the next platform that will wow players? Folks are just now getting 4K televisions en masse, so moving onto 8K isn't a draw for a mass market product."

    VR and AR are probably where a lot of the wow-factor is going to be from now on. Gen 2 VR games on the PS5 will be awesome. But I feel there's still lots of room for regular games to also improve. Last year I played some HDR-enabled PS4 games on a HDR Premium certified TV and I was impressed by what a difference it made visually.

    With so many PS4 games coming in 2018 and the PS4 selling incredibly well, I don't think Sony will talk about the PS5 this year. Q4 2019 looks like the earliest possible release date for it. I'm hoping for a clean break generational transition, as that would help fully realize the potential of the new console.

    If I could select one game to be announced for the PS4, it would be either a Ridge Racer 1-5 remaster collection or a brand new Ridge Racer game. Sony has been remastering basically most of their back catalogue in recent times, but some defining PS1 and PS2 era games like the Ridge Racers and the early Wipeout games still remain on the wishlist. RR is a Namco series though.

    Bloodstained, Catherine and the Secret of Mana remake are some of the 2018 Vita games I'm looking forward to. Hopefully there will also be some surprise Vita releases or announcements in 2018, like last year's surprise Vita port of Undertale.Edited January 2018 by SuperShinobi
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  • Avatar for AxiomVerge #10 AxiomVerge 2 months ago
    @jeffcorry I'm not sure the technology is at that stage yet but I would definitely be up for a portable ps4 myself.
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  • Avatar for docexe #11 docexe 2 months ago
    I think the existence of both the Pro and the One X have pretty much ensured that this console generation will be as protracted as the last one (if not more). In that sense, while I think 2018 might be the year when we start hearing rumors and rumblings about the PS5 and… whatever Microsoft decides to name the next Xbox, I don’t really expect any of them to actually announce anything in concrete, outside of (maybe) a brief comment confirming “yeah, we are already working on it”.

    I expect the proper unveiling of the next gen consoles will be on 2019, with a release date on 2020. I’m fine with that though. If I finally get to buy a PS4 this year, it will give me some time to catch up with some of its exclusives before having to worry about another generational leap.
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  • Avatar for Fourfoldroot #12 Fourfoldroot 2 months ago
    Don't expect Sony to implement cross play with Xbox. It won't happen. Sony are not moronic. Why would they give up their install base advantage by facilitating the option for people with PS4 owning friends to buy an Xbox instead and still play with them? It makes no sense. Also, whilst small numbers of Xbox owners may be vocal in pushing for this, a far lower percentage of PS4 owners actually care.

    What I thought would be written under this title is how PS4 and VITA should have cross play more often. Sue, we are getting it with smaller games like Stardew Valley, but it's still the exception unfortunately.

    Regarding VR games, there are already over 100 announced. Selling over 2 million headsets seems to mean momentum has been maintained. I don't know if they will have the fantastic quality of the likes of Resi7 and Skyrim, but I'm very excited for Dreams.

    A for release dates, it would be nice of course, but hardly essential. We've all seen that Sony are happy to have games delayed for years in order to ensure quality, so I never trust hard release dates anyway.

    What I'm hoping for for 2018 is simply that sales of PSVR continue at this tragectory. For that to happen a price cut is probably needed. So many interesting PS4 games have been announced, and my backlog is so large, that I have no concerns on that side of things.

    For PS5/Next box, the improvement will not be on the visual side as much as with processing power. A new generation of CPU will give the jump in performance, AI, enemy numbers, size of world, load times etc, that we unfortunately did not see this gen.Edited January 2018 by Fourfoldroot
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  • Avatar for thereal-Neolit #13 thereal-Neolit 2 months ago
    You all forgot about Final Fantasy VII remake.

    Also, this article makes it sound as if there is no cross play on PS4 which is untrue. Rocket League had it since day one. Between the PSN and PCs. Sony does not want to let MS in on the deal because when Sony wanted it back in the ps3 days MS were *icks about it. Now suffer the king of the hill. Sony has no incentive to do it and they should not.
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  • Avatar for MHWilliams #14 MHWilliams 2 months ago
    @thereal-Neolit I didn't forget about it. I don't expect to it until 2019 or 2020 at the earliest. Hell, it's still listed as "Working Title" on the official PS site.
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  • Avatar for Nuclear-Vomit #15 Nuclear-Vomit 2 months ago
    I want Kevin Butler back on PlayStation commercials.
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  • Avatar for retr0gamer #16 retr0gamer 2 months ago
    I kind of feeling that Sony are just coasting and as a result aren't putting the effort in. They're no.1 by a considerable margin so why try harder? I hope the success of the switch starts to wake them up a bit and they start expanding their exclusives to tap into a wider market than just focusing on stale triple A games like Horizon.
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  • Avatar for Vodka-Tonic #17 Vodka-Tonic 2 months ago
    Honestly, what I want from Sony's PS5 is a Switch. Give me the power of a PS4Pro in a Switch body, with HDMI 2.1 out/dock.
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  • Avatar for nimzy #18 nimzy 2 months ago
    It'll be interesting to see if Ace Combat 7's VR component remains PS4 exclusive. Haven't heard much at all about the VR part of the game and even less on whether or not this will show up in an (eventual) PC release.
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  • Avatar for mattcom26 #19 mattcom26 2 months ago
    My PS4 Pro doesn't feel at all in need of an upgrade in the next year. In fact, I might be a little irritated if it was made last-gen even in 2019 or early 2020. Apple makes me feel the same way for that matter, where every iPhone brings a smattering of improvements that don't usually outweigh the frustration of consumers who feel left behind the current gen. I'm fine with incremental upgrades though that spin off of the current platform, e.g. PS4 Platinum or what have you. They really should also look at the success of the Switch which isn't bound to graphical power even within it's own ecosystem. People want good games at the core of the matter, and those who also want the latest power can go ahead and pay the premium to upgrade to the next version. But it doesn't have to be a new numbered console to achieve that, especially given how graphics, hardware and screens have begun to plateau.Edited January 2018 by mattcom26
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  • Avatar for Number1Laing #20 Number1Laing 2 months ago
    @cldmstrsn Unfortunately that is highly unlikely. Double the power of the Xbox One X would put it at or near GeForce 1080TI level, which is a $750 part and the fastest consumer-level card out there. Consider that the $400 PS4, when it came out in 2013, was using basically the Radeon 7850, which was a mid-level card (~$250) that had come out a year prior. Also of note is that AMD does not even have a card that can hit that level right now (the Vega 64 is closer to a regular 1080).

    If the PS5 were to come out next year, it would probably be a relatively modest upgrade over the Xbox One X... which is why they probably won't do it. As is the PS4 Pro can hold up nicely, it can't hit 4K the way the One X can but it still looks very good and it can drive very nice graphics in VR.

    I honestly don't know if we will ever get the sort of "clean break" new system we always got. I think the console manufacturers are going to move into a world more similar to what we get with phones. It wouldn't surprise me if PS5 games can even be compatible with the PS4, similar to how a new iPhone game can run on the old ones (but they don't have to).Edited 3 times. Last edited January 2018 by Number1Laing
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  • Avatar for darksoulsplayedme #21 darksoulsplayedme 2 months ago
    Cross Platform is cool and all but Sony would be dumb to actually go through with it, and if you think that Microsoft would be supporting cross platform play with Sony if they had majority market share then you have another thing coming. Microsoft, the company that started the console dlc exclusivity deals from last gen. The only one who probably would do it, would be Nintendo.
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