So, I’m going to put this on front street, I had a PS5 up until about a month ago but then I decided to trade it in for the Xbox Series X and I’m not going to lie… it was probably the best decision I could’ve made. The Xbox Eco System with Ultimate Game Pass is honestly an unbeatable value in the gaming community. So, while I will lose access to games like The Last of US and God OF War… it’s a decision I can ultimately live with due the INSANE amount of money I’m saving every month by being a member of Game Pass. Not to mention that while Xbox is a little lagging in the realm of 1st party exclusive titles at the moment, their recent studio acquisitions will prove that not to be the case for much longer.
Plus there have been a lot of “questionable” decisions when it comes to the production and marketing of the PS5. From the locking off of 3rd party external SSD storage options, the low yield of actual storage space and Sony’s rather off putting attitude towards indie titles really kind of paints a not so pretty picture of a company whose slogan is “Play Has No limits.”
For a company whose chief marketing schtick is no gaming limits, the latest smattering of news regarding their 9th generation console really seems to run counter to the message their trying to send. Yes, Sony has the whole prestige thing on lock down… but take a step back for a moment and really think about all of the games that they continually seem to rest their laurels on. Titles like The Last Of Us 1 and 2, God Of War and the Uncharted Series while all “thematically different” are actually all of a same technical mind. They’re all 3rd person cinematic action titles that minus a few nuts and bolts eccentricities all largely play the same. There are skill progression trees to level characters up, there are stealth missions, large open combat areas, upgradable weapons and gears. The sameness of each title starts to blend together and while yes, these games always seem to garner great reviews and are usually highly regarded in the community… the reason is because Sony and their studios don’t usually stray very far from the path that seems to bring them success. Personally, I think The Last Of Us Part 2 is one of my favorite games of 2020 and Uncharted really scratches that Indiana Jones itch in a big bad way, so obviously on some level I dig what they’re doing.
Let’s get to the meat and potatoes though of the real issues at hand. Sony’s flagrant disregard for previous generation gaming is constantly getting them clubbed in the news and this latest bit of “goings on” is not doing them any favors. A gaming collective with the twitter handle DoesItPlay1 decided to do a test on the internal clock battery (known as the CMOS battery) and how it would impact playing games on the console should the battery die. This is important because the PS5 and the PS4 won’t play games if the battery does in fact lose life and you aren’t able to connect to Sony’s servers. Right now this seemingly mostly affects digital games on the PS5 but on the previous gen PS4 both disc based and digital games would be rendered unplayable. The battery itself is easy enough to replace but cracking open the system and messing with the internals would void the warranty and even so is not a guaranteed fix. It’s kind of like jailbreaking your phone.
While it might be easy to not give this story much thought seeing as a typical CMOS battery life is around 10 years or so and even the PS4 is only about 7 or 8 years old I think… don’t quote me, this is still a huge issue that needs to be addressed. This coupled with the recent high profile news of the digital store fronts for the PS3 and the PSP and the PS Vita due to completely shut down this year begins to bring to focus Sony’s real priority…. Profits. While they want you to think they’re all about the games and the gamer experience, it just doesn’t seem to be leaning that way lately.
Listen, I get it…. Money needs to get made and the gaming industry is a hella expensive one. I’m not trying to bite the hand that feeds or throw shade at anyone. A lot of my all-time favorite video games came from the PlayStation brand so this isn’t some Xbox/PlayStation fanboy bullshit… this is just a gamer reacting to what I deem to be rather unsettling news. It’s important to care about the preservation of popular culture, it’s a part of our history. Games, books, films, paintings, architecture…. These are all things that represent who we are as a collective. If we don’t work to preserve this stuff now, then there will be nothing left to signify the cultural advancements we’ve made as a society and as such our identity will be lost to time.
I get that PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan could give two flying shits about my ability to play OG Resident Evil 2 or Oddworld Abe’s Odyssey on a 10+ year old piece of hardware… but it means something to me. Those games have plenty of sentimental attachment and my ability to purchase and play them being taken away by a company that has deemed them inessential because they don’t rake in millions of dollars just seems very Orwellian. PlayStation has great games, but they have no fucking clue what a lot of gamers actually want and are perfectly content churning out the same tired old recipe with only a new fresh coat of paint being applied every time to differentiate each release. Microsoft has proven that backwards compatibility is a thing that matters to a lot of gamers. Hell, they even have certain OG Xbox games available to play and download on their latest Xbox Series consoles, so I know Sony could flip the switch on their own hardware if they really wanted to.
Sure, gamers love big expensive new games that push the hardware to their limits and crack the uncanny valley in two… but we didn’t get to this level of technological achievement and immersion overnight. So we should remember that despite their limitations the games of yesteryear really paved the way for the current wave of innovation we’re all experiencing. So if Sony’s aim to focus solely on these big budget money earners and kind of leave the trailblazing previous gen games in the dust is a real thing, then it just kind of proves that there’s not much soul left in their decision making process. They don’t care about the gamers… just how quickly they can drain their wallets.
Play Has No Limits?
More like Sony’s Unscrupulous Business Decisions and Anti-Consumer Ideals have no limits.
(Brevity is not a strong suit of mine…)