After the lack of new announcements at E3 2018, the abysmal press conference presentation, and the Fortnite account debacle, Sony seems to be in hot water as of late. With over 79 million PS4 systems have been sold, that momentum needs to continue as we enter the next generation. History has shown that the way a system is announced and presented can make or break the entire generation, as seen with Microsoft’s Xbox One.
Going into E3 2018, Sony wanted to temper expectations by letting everyone know ahead of time that the main focus would be on their four main first-party games with Spider-Man, Ghost of Tsushima, Death Stranding, and The Last of Us Part II. To an extent, this was probably still a good idea, but the fact remains that they had a weak E3 presentation, despite showing good looking games.
Oddly, Sony started rolling out announcements a week before their E3 presentation, probably in attempts to give the four aforementioned games more time. To me, and most of the fans I talked to, it’s clear the way their presentation was organized, was not friendly for the audience. By having the crowd move from room to room, it ruined the pacing and was confusing for the viewers at home, putting a damper on the already lackluster conference. I wasn’t there, but all of the people who were at the conference said it was confusing and unorganized, which just doesn’t fly with a company as big as Sony.
Aside from the weird presentation, the lack of games at Sony’s conference was noticeable. I’m not advocating for console wars or anything, but looking at the way Microsoft showed game after game, it’s clear that Sony landed with a dud this year. The amount of Xbox One units sold is unclear, but we know that if a company doesn’t publically announce the number, it can’t be good. Because of this, Microsoft was forced to listen to fans and come out swinging. Discussing who “won” E3 is reductive, but based on fan feedback, the majority agreed that Microsoft had the best showing.
Perhaps because of the tremendous lead, Sony has in console sales, they feel like they’re comfortable and don’t need to be as aggressive compared to Microsoft. I’m not a developer or in charge of a huge company, but from the outside looking in, Sony looked bad at E3. And the fact that you STILL can’t change your PSN names is inexcusable. Xbox 360 had that feature over 10 years ago!
What about the Fortnite issue? Recently, Fortnite became available on Switch, but fans’ excitement came to a halt after not being able to use their existing account from PS4 systems. In other words, if you had a Fortnite account on Playstation, it’s locked to that system and cannot be transferred to the Switch. Fans are outraged because they don’t want to start a new character from scratch. With over 2 million Fortnite downloads on Switch, this issue is impacting a lot of people and they aren’t afraid to say so.
What’s even more glaring is that Fortnite accounts CAN be moved from Xbox One to PC to Switch. It’s only Playstation that isn’t playing nice with others. Sony has had this issue with cross-play before, as well. They do not want its players to interact with players from another console platform and it all comes down to loyalty for them. Again, with 79 million units sold, it seems like they feel like they can get away with anything. PS4 systems keep selling, and to an extent, I almost understand where Sony is coming from. Almost. “If the money keeps rolling in, why change?” But doing so is unethical and their success will not last if that is their mindset.
Making matters even worse, Sony issued an unsatisfactory statement, saying, “We’re always open to hearing what the PlayStation community is interested in to enhance their gaming experience”, and reminding the fan-base that Sony does allow Fortnite accounts to sync with PC and mobile devices. This whole issue has blown up because Fortnite is the biggest game in the world, at least as of now.
This reminds me of the PS2 days, when Sony was on top of the world. They thought they were untouchable and let us down with the announcement of the PS3. Because of the underperformance of the PS3’s sales, Sony was forced to have all hands on deck with the announcement and messaging of the PS4. We all remember that famous video showing off how to share PS4 games when the question of Microsoft’s DRM policy was brought up. They stomped their competition at the time.
Competition sparks improvement, which is why it’s so important that each company is always striving to outdo one another. Sure, Sony has a huge lead, but if they enter the next generation with the same mindset, it may not bode well for them. Here’s hoping that Sony takes all of this feedback to heart, makes more consumer-friendly decisions, and for the love of god, let us change our PSN names.
69xxx69SN1P3Rxxx69 isn’t a good look anymore.