It was 12 November 2020 when the first lucky PS5 buyers started unpacking the next-gen console in the US – Italian and European users had to wait for the week later (to be exact the 19 November). The occasion for Sony is propitious to trace the balance of the first 12 months of the console which, to be objective, is inevitably marked by lights and shadows, difficult successes and challenges – partly linked to market dynamics affecting the entire consumer electronics sector.
Sony’s official press release is heavily focused on games released later this year on PS5 and upcoming ones also thanks to the recent acquisitions of new development studios. And there is no shortage of statistics on the number of hours that PS5 users have dedicated to videogame activities using the platform.
However, you can preliminarily start from one other objective parameter : the number of units sold (updated at the end of September): 13, 4 million pieces, with the finish line of the 14, 8 million – many PS4s were sold in its first year of life – which is still within reach, albeit made more complicated by the chip and logistics crisis, as explained yesterday. Given the difficulties in producing PS5, the result is undoubtedly very positive .
THE MOST PLAYED AND EXCLUSIVE TITLES, BETWEEN LIGHTS AND SHADOWS
Sony confirms that PS5 users overall played for more than 4.6 billion hours during the year and have transmitted later 26 millions of hours of content . But what exactly did they play? Sony has compiled the ranking of 10 most popular titles – value determined based on the number of hours of gameplay – on the total of 360 games launched on PS5 (compatible PS4 titles obviously also fall into this category with the new console).
- Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War
- FIFA 21
- NBA 2K 21
- Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
- Destiny 2
- MLB The Show 21
- Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales
- Demon’s Souls
- NBA 2K 22
By reviewing them, a couple of considerations can be made. The exclusives (Demon’s Souls and Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales) occupy a minority role in relation to all other multi-platform titles , without neglecting that these are two games that accompanied the launch of the console, and therefore in several cases purchased also because at the beginning (only at the beginning?) there is it was little to take advantage of the new hardware.
Another sobering fact is to see Fortnite positioned at the top to the list . The title of Epic Games has certainly benefited from the hardware of the new generation consoles that have given the possibility to enable the mode a 120 fps with the update released at the end 2020, but one wonders if this is enough to justify the move to a next-gen console. Those who appreciate Fortnite could probably also settle for continuing to play it with PS4 and PS4 Pro.
And the other exclusives (absolute or temporally limited)? They leave no trace in the most played titles. Sony specifically mentions Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, Returnal and Deathloop. The impression, despite the still significant hardware sales, is that on the software side we have gone a bit too much with the handbrake on, without launching real titles capable of posing as killer application , the game that alone is worth the price of the console .
PS5 LOOK FORWARD
Over the past year Sony has made more investments to give new life blood (games) to PS5 – SIE has acquired the new development studies of Bluepoint Games, Firesprite, Housemarque and Nixxes – and continued to pique the public’s curiosity with advances on some of the 21 games currently in development at PlayStation Studios: God of War Ragnarok , Gran Turismo 7 , Horizon Forbidden West . and the remake of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic starring in the recent Showcase. The list includes big pieces that, if they had been finalized in the first year of PS5’s view, would certainly have made the offer of games much more appealing.
It is also a future project, but anticipated with official details of the first year of life of the console, the one relating to the virtual reality viewer for PlayStation 5 which, however, will not arrive on the market soon. – definitely not later this year by Sony’s own admission.
One of the main challenges for Sony in the coming months remains the ability to meet the demand for PS5 and PS5 Digital which are still difficult to find. In this regard, Sony President Jim Ryan underlines today:
I would like also thank all the community members for their patience. The requests received for PS5 continue to arrive like never before and we know that the limited availability of consoles is creating a sense of frustration in many of our users. Please be assured that we are doing everything in our power to be able to ship as many units as possible. We are all working on it tirelessly and it remains my top priority. Thank you again for your patience in addressing these unprecedented global challenges with us
But another concerns the ability to convince skeptics to make the transition to next-gen, for now not yet received.