What would constitute a successful PlayStation Showcase? Ahead of these types of events, we invariably pontificate on what we expect to see, what we'd love to see, and what would be so ridiculously unlikely that, actually, we'd really love to see that too. All of these things crossed my mind yesterday when penning our PlayStation Showcase predictions, and while I'm sometimes way off-base with speculative articles of this nature (seriously, how many times will I include Hollow Knight: Silksong in these things before I admit defeat?), I found writing up this particular list to be one of the most straightforward yet.
We will see more from Marvel's Spider-Man 2, right? We're likely to see something from The Last of Us' long-awaited and much-anticipated multiplayer off-shoot, as per Neil Druckmann and Sony's previous admissions. Sony has already confirmed we're getting more in the way of PSVR 2 games, and, likewise, a closer look at what its PlayStation-owned studios are up to. If we get something from the many Silent Hill titles in the works, the much-rumored Metal Gear Solid 3 remake, and something Death Stranding 2-shaped, even better – but even if we don't, by simply showing us what are surely dead-certs at this point, I reckon we're in for an impressive hour's worth of reveals, teases and new footage.
By simply showing up to this live showcase, then, it feels like Sony is already in the driving seat as we march towards the E3 2023 schedule proper.
PlayStation Showcase May 2023 live coverage - All the Sony presentation news as it happens
Not that I'm particularly interested in fanning the flames of the console wars. History proves that the big names have all had their high and low points over the years, but, more recently, Microsoft has endured a tough run. The beleaguered Activision-Blizzard acquisition has, of course, been well-publicized; but behind those drawn-out headline dramas lies the fact that Xbox hardware revenue plummeted 30% in the last year. In an earnings report published last month, Microsoft was quick to point out that, despite this, "Xbox content and services revenue grew 3% driven by growth in Xbox Game Pass," however the company's overall gaming revenue was down by 4% all told. At the same time, Sony announced that the PS5 is selling faster than PS4 in the US despite years of console shortages, and that the company's latest hardware had passed 500 million home consoles sold as a result.
Add to this fact Arkane's Redfall failed to hit the mark with critics and players as an Xbox console-exclusive, and it feels like Microsoft is under a little more pressure than it'd prefer – at this point in the year, and at this juncture in the current console cycle. The fact that Bethesda's Starfield is also an Xbox console-exclusive, led GamesRadar+'s Heather Wald to suggest Starfield is under more pressure than ever to perform after Redfall, and it's hard to disagree with that.
Back to Sony, and it really feels like the company has its work cut out for it ahead of today's PlayStation Showcase. Show up, show people what they expect to see, and step off stage with excited players. I'm oversimplifying, but the chance to set the tone ahead of Starfield Direct, Ubisoft Forward, Summer Game Fest and the Xbox Games Showcase will not be lost on Sony.
With its in-person event no more, E3 season itself looks entirely different today as it once did. But I can't help but feel there are flavors of E3 2013 here – when Sony confidently outdid its old enemy by announcing PS4 discs could be freely shared, and played offline without DRM interference – or even E3 1995 and 1996, when the PSOne brushed off its competitors with price cuts. Xbox and PlayStation are no longer physically competing on a show floor side-by-side, but they've both got it all to prove as we enter the E3 2023 schedule in earnest. I'm not sure there needs to be a winner, I never have been, but it does feel like Sony and the PS5 are entering the ring brimming with confidence. Let the games begin.
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