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By published 2 January 22
The future is up in the air for PlayStation 5
One year later, the PlayStation 5 has made an incredible first impression, but its future is a little more up in the air.
Late last year, I was incredibly lucky to buy a PS5, which helped me keep my sanity through a difficult locked-down winter through a combo of great exclusives, 4K visuals and an amazing DualSense controller.
But we’re in a very different place 12 months later. Xbox is really growing from strength-to-strength with its monthly Game Pass subscription service, which makes Sony’s traditional model of buying a box and buying games for it seem a little archaic.
Does the PS5 hold up after its first year? Will people still love it going forward? Let’s find out.
At its first unveiling last summer, I loved the visual design of the PS5. Weird Sony returned and gave us a console that looked like a skyscraper in Dubai, to stand out from the sea of black and white boxes under your TV.
Impressions do change over a year, though, and I’ve certainly soured a little on the looks of this system. It’s just obtusely massive, to the point that it causes real problems in fitting in your typical TV stand. Speaking of which, the included stand that prop up its asymmetrical design is hit or miss when horizontally mounting it, and the sheer weight makes it hard to lug around between rooms.
However, there are some big wins at play for the PlayStation 5. The custom AMD Ryzen 8-core CPU and RDNA 2-based GPU with 16GB GDDR6 memory produced an impressive level of 4K ray tracing-capable power — all of which loaded super fast on the custom-built SSD.
The removable faceplates unlock a world of customization that is only just beginning with new colors. The choice to support NVMe Gen. 4 SSDs is a great one (here’s how to install an SSD into your PS5), and you immediately feel how “next-gen” this system is thanks to the DualSense controller.
It’s so weird to say that out of all the hardware elements of this beast, it’s the controller that took my breath away, but it truly did. The varying tension of the adaptive triggers provide a fascinating dimension to gameplay, but the real star of the show is the haptic feedback.
You’ve sampled traditional controller vibration, but this is a whole new level — providing impressive immersion and incredible interactivity. You can physically feel the surfaces your character walks upon, the subtlety of raindrops falling around you, and feel a true difference between all the guns in games such as Deathloop. It’s crazy how much haptics can change a game, and Sony is leading the way.
All in all, the looks may be a turn off, but the capabilities of this system makes that easy to forgive.
So, you switch it on and do what you do: play. Beyond the standard third-party crop of games, Sony brought the heat with the likes of Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Astro’s Playroom, Bugsnax, Demon’s Souls, Sackboy: A Big Adventure and more. It was a great slate of titles that gave you enough new stuff to play, new stories to experience and amazing games that you can find only on PlayStation.
That said, let’s address the elephant in the room here: backwards compatibility and upgrading previous-generation games is a mess. While Xbox makes this simple with smart delivery, the rules for PS5 upgrades vary wildly between free downloads and $20 upgrade passes.
While the PS5 does go some way with backwards compatibility to support PS4 titles, this ignores a vast array of incredible games for the PS3, PS2 and the PS1. In a time when Microsoft has gone to great pains to support two decades worth of games, this is simply inexcusable.
I mean, if your competition is better at PlayStation backwards compatibility (here’s how to turned your Xbox Series S into the ultimate retro emulator) then something’s gone wrong in your vision of game preservation.
This is where it gets a little dicey for PlayStation.
Sure, in terms of first-party exclusives, PlayStation Studios are going to continue to fire on all cylinders with Horizon: Forbidden West, God of War Ragnarok, Spider-Man 2, Wolverine, Gran Turismo 7, alongside whatever else is yet to be announced from the likes of Naughty Dog, Pixelopus, Bend Studios, Sony Japan Studio and more for the rest of this console cycle.
With a shopping trolley full of exclusives coming day one to Xbox Game Pass, will PlayStation’s more traditional model of asking people to buy their games make sense in a couple years time? Of course, the quality of these Xbox games is going to be crucial, but in a likely world where there will be stellar releases, Game Pass’ monthly cost will be so much more attractive than paying $70 for new titles.
Sony will inevitably have to launch its own subscription service, but it seems doubtful you’ll see the latest God of War drop on day one on this rumored service, especially since the initial plan was always to make a loss on the hardware, but profit on the software. Does this mean it’s already destined to fall to the might of Game Pass?
We could be stunned by something special from a reinvigorated PlayStation Now, but at the moment, Microsoft looks like it’s played a blinder and is ready to overtake Sony soon.
Out of the two new consoles, PlayStation 5 has made the best first impression. The games are awesome, the controller feels properly next-gen, the use of NVMe SSDs is a far more wallet-friendly storage expansion option to Xbox’s memory cards, and sales data certainly indicates that this system has the advantage.
Rather than face Sony under the same rules of a traditional console launch, Microsoft is rewriting the entire rulebook and the result is a more consumer-friendly vision for the future of gaming that the PS5 is simply behind the curve on. Not only that, but the minefield of upgrading your games is a mess compared to Xbox’s smart delivery. Plus, the lack of backwards compatibility beyond PS4 still leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
Whatever happens, the next few years are going to be a fascinating time in the games industry and, at the end of the day, we’re all going to win because of the ongoing competition between Sony and Microsoft.
The PS5 has started strong, but there’s a lot of change coming for this console and I can only hope Sony keeps up.
Jason brings a decade of tech and gaming journalism experience to his role as a writer at Laptop Mag. He specializes in finding the best deals to make sure you never pay more than you should for gadgets! Jason takes a particular interest in writing and creating videos about laptops, headphones and games. He has previously written for Kotaku, Stuff and BBC Science Focus. In his spare time, you’ll find Jason looking for good dogs to pet or thinking about eating pizza if he isn’t already.
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Why Overwatch 2 could still be on PS4 and PS5 as Microsoft buys Blizzard – HITC – Football, Gaming, Movies, TV, Music
Microsoft has announced that they are buying Activision and Blizzard, but PlayStation fans should know that Overwatch 2 will still likely be on PS4 and PS5 instead of becoming an Xbox exclusive.
It’s one of the most popular multiplayer IPs right now and fans have the Lunar event for 2022 to anticipate. No start date has been announced as of yet, but it’s expected to happen in early February.
While the forthcoming Lunar event is imminent, the long-awaited sequel will not arrive soon.
Overwatch 2 will be on PS4 and PS5 when it comes out as things stand.
As of writing, the game is currently pegged for both generations of PlayStation and Xbox consoles, as well as Nintendo Switch and PC. It was announced all the way back in 2019 and there has been scarce details ever since.
Unfortunately, recent rumours suggest that it will be a downgrade from the original that we are playing right now. This is because there are rumours that its designs will be simplified to make it compatible with mobile.
One of the reasons Overwatch 2 may not be an Xbox exclusive is because Microsoft are not fully buying Activision and Blizzard until 2023.
The game has already been in development for PlayStation and other systems for many years, so it will almost definitely arrive on PS4 and PS5. It would be similar to how Psychonauts 2 and Deathloop still released on PlayStation despite Microsoft’s purchase of Double Fine Productions and Bethesda.
We don’t know when the long-awaited sequel will come out, but rumours suggest that the earliest it will arrive is holiday 2022. However, even this seems like wishful thinking as Blizzard hasn’t even committed to 2023.
In addition to all of the above, Bloomberg also reports that Microsoft plan to continue making “some of Activision’s games” for PlayStation consoles with “some content” exclusive to Xbox. This could mean Overwatch 2 arrives on PlayStation but has some skins, weapons, and possibly maps on Xbox only.
As Cassidy continues to recruit members to Overwatch, he has his eyes on a formidable soldier.
👀 https://t.co/09eMkZml2M pic.twitter.com/36fWoWowuo
Microsoft will own Activision and Blizzard sometime in 2023 after announcing that they are buying the publisher for $68.7 billion.
This means that they will own Call of Duty, as well as previous PlayStation icons Crash Bandicoot and Spyro. In addition, Microsoft will also own Diablo and the extremely popular World of Warcraft.
All of this adds to Phil Spencer’s incredible line-up of acquisitions which already included Bethesda.
In other news, PlayStation Spartacus: Sony Game Pass release date and price rumours
"Will Sony buy Ubisoft?" and other questions after Xbox's shock acquisition of Activision Blizzard – VG247
On January 18, 2022, Microsoft announced plans to acquire Activision Blizzard. This is a platform holder buying one of the biggest games publishers and one of the world’s biggest games. Call of Duty, Activision’s flagship product, has suffered some declines in recent years, but it remains a massive series. And more significantly, it is one of the most popular games on PlayStation.
Activision Blizzard is also a company embroiled in lawsuits and ongoing conflict with its employees, and has had its reputation seriously harmed due to a sexual misconduct scandal.
I am a business journalist, and there’s a lot to discuss here in terms of industry consolidation, workplace practices and business models. But if my Twitter feed is anything to go by, there are a lot of buring questions from gamers, too – particularly around what this means for the future of Call of Duty, and how PlayStation might react to this industry-changing announcement.
It’s a bit too early to know the answers to these. But we can make some educated guesses based on what each company is saying. So let’s get to it.
Whenever you talk to Microsoft, you’ll hear execs and marketing types talk about the ‘billions’ of gamers that it wants to reach. Considering its consoles have never even cracked 100 million sales – and indeed, only a few consoles have ever reach that level – the company has to think beyond the console to do this.
That involves being big in PC, big in mobile, and big in countries outside of the US and Western Europe. It involves making console games more accessible and more affordable.
That’s why it’s building up Game Pass, and it’s why it is trying to make games streaming work, and it’s why it’s buying all these games and studios, and investing heavily in technology and cloud gaming.
Lots of people will focus on Call of Duty, for obvious reasons. It’s one of the biggest games brands in the world. But in Blizzard, Microsoft has a major PC games studio, and in King, it would own one of the most successful mobile gaming developers out there. Activision – even more than Bethesda – gives Microsoft the creative talent and content that it needs to make what it’s doing with subscriptions, streaming, and technology reach those ‘billions’ of players.
That’s its goal.
Big consolidation of games companies can lead to concerns over creativity and opportunities. But there are also potential positives. Activision Blizzard will likely have a bit more freedom to spend longer on their games, and will no longer feel the pressure to have to release big sequels to their franchises regularly. For those gamers concerned about Blizzard’s recent output, being part of the Microsoft family might just give them the space they need to get back to its best.
There will inevitably be some questions that Microsoft will need to face around this deal. Antitrust and monopoly laws are designed to stop one company becoming too dominant, and putting them in a situation where they basically control the market. Xbox is now certainly a massive gaming powerhouse in this regard, owning some of the biggest and most profitable titles in games. It has the power to really transition the business towards a subscription-based future.
However, the games industry is huge, and there are lots of big players out there. Xbox may have a number of big IP and developers, and operates across most major platforms. But it isn’t the biggest console games company out there – that’s Nintendo and Sony. On PC, it’s a long way from challenging Valve. And on mobile, King may be a major player, but there are other significant names out there, such as Zynga.
But those are just the traditional games companies. Facebook’s investment in the Metaverse, Epic Games has Fortnite, there’s Roblox, Google with Stadia, Apple on mobile, and even Netflix and its games expansion. There is a lot of games competition out there right now. It’s never as simple as all that, but there’s a lot of reasons to suggest that Xbox isn’t a monopoly in games. Not yet, anyway.
No. Call of Duty will definitely remain on Xbox, PC and smartphones. The real question is: will Microsoft stop Call of Duty coming out on PS5?
Possibly, but not definitely. Call of Duty is a global, mass-market games brand that extends well beyond one platform. In many ways, it’s not too dissimilar to Minecraft, which is a true multi-format video game that Microsoft also operates. Taking Call of Duty off PlayStation will boost Xbox console sales, but will likely hurt Call of Duty in the process – that series has a lot of fans on Sony’s console. Xbox may well decide that there’s a lot of value in having a major game on a competitor’s console.
Yet, you could argue the same thing is true with Elder Scrolls, and Microsoft has made it clear that the next game in the series will be an Xbox exclusive.
This has an active and engaged audience on PlayStation already, and as a free-to-play title, the whole point is making it as accessible as possible. So in this case, I would be very surprised if Warzone disappeared from PS5. Just as I would be surprised if Elder Scrolls Online suddenly went Xbox exclusive.
It’s possible, but then it always was. Microsoft’s acquisitions are not purely about Xbox consoles. In fact, they’re mostly about driving the Game Pass subscription service, which is on PC. Microsoft has some popular PC titles like Age of Empires and Flight Simulator, but Blizzard takes that up another level.
The real thing for Microsoft here would be to incorporate an IP like Warcraft into its existing PC Game Pass subscription service.
You have to hope so. Microsoft isn’t perfect, but it has been vocal in its efforts to be a more inclusive, welcoming and diverse business. It’s not saying much, but the Xbox management team is one of the most diverse in the games industry, and it’s rightly proud of that.
It’s worth noting, however, that Microsoft has a ‘limited integration strategy’, which basically means it buys companies, offers them help, but ultimately leaves them to operate how they want. The thinking is that if they go in and meddle too much, it risks damaging what made it successful in the first place (and Xbox has certainly made those mistakes before). This strategy started with the acquisition of Mojang, and it’s worked very well for it so far.
It’ll be on Activision to ask for help from Microsoft. And I suspect it will.
Workplace culture doesn’t change overnight. New processes take time to bed in. Bad apples need to be moved on and replaced by the right people. Microsoft could certainly help, but it’ll take time.
This depends on what PlayStation wants to achieve. The reason Xbox needs these studios and these games isn’t purely to sell more consoles, but to grow its subscriber base in Game Pass and reach new markets.
Sony already has a successful console platform, a strong base of studios making great games, and it’s currently popular in far more markets than Xbox.
But it is facing competition, not just from within games but outside, too. And if it wants to fend off these rivals, or even compete better with new concepts like Game Pass, it may need to keep acquiring.
And PlayStation has been acquiring companies. These acquisitions may not be on the same industry-shaking level as Activision or Bethesda, but this is the games industry we’re talking about… who can say where the next smash hit will come from? It could be a big studio like Infinity Ward, or an entirely new start-up. Sony has been investing a lot in new teams over the past 12 months. Last year it signed the first game from Deviation Games (ex-Call of Duty veterans), Firewalk Studios (ex-Destiny folks) and Haven Studios (former Assassin’s Creed devs). Maybe this generation’s big hit video game will come from one of them, rather than an established player.
But watch this space. We are in a world of rapid consolidation. Maybe next week we’ll hear that Sony is buying Ubisoft. Or Facebook is buying Sony. Or Netflix. The games industry is changing quickly.
Potentially anybody. We can all see how attractive a company like Sega might be to Xbox, or Square Enix to Sony. There are plenty of people looking to buy, the question is who might want to sell?
Take-Two, Ubisoft and Nintendo have all previously stated that they are not for sale. But things change. Ubisoft is currently struggling to keep staff following a number of workplace scandals, and its games and business practices are coming under criticism. It may have famously fought off a hostile takeover before, but might it be more open to an amicable takeover now?
What I can say, is that we’re less than three weeks into 2022 and we’ve already had two of the biggest games acquisition in history (the other being Take-Two/Zynga). There will be more.
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