With the recent delay of Sony’s PlayStation 5 launch title, Destruction All-Stars, the launch lineup for the console looks surprisingly bare. Destruction All-Stars will be coming in February of 2021, after all, but it’ll be offered to PlayStation Plus subscribers for free (at first). However, this leaves the PlayStation 5 in a weird spot. Its only exclusive launch titles now are Astro’s Playroom, which is a tech demo, and Demon Souls, which is a remake of a ten-year-old game.
Miles Morales Spider-Man and a new Sackboy game will be launching alongside the console, as well, but they’ll also be available on the PlayStation 4.
Sony isn’t alone in this issue, either. Microsoft’s killer app, the long-gestating Halo Infinite, was met with lukewarm responses during a summer event meant to hype people up for the Xbox Series X. The news of the title’s delay into early 2021 was surprising, but fans noted that the tech demo of Infinite seen during the event did look a bit bland and under-developed.
What’s Going On?
It’s impossible to overstate the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the entertainment industry. What would have been a huge year, full of summer blockbusters, massive video games, and the Tokyo Summer Olympics instead became a bland soup of staying at home and avoiding crowds.
This has extended to game development, where many studios have resorted to working from home to keep employees safe.
One effect of this, of course, is slowing production for some teams. As such, something as unthinkable as a mainline Halo game missing the launch window for a new Xbox becomes a reality. Likewise, Sony isn’t known for having such weak lineups for their consoles at launch, but 2020 has been a difficult year to plan for.
What Does This Mean?
For Microsoft and Sony, this likely won’t be much of an issue. Pre-orders for the new systems have broken records, and hype for the latest consoles is at an all-time high. After all, everyone is still stuck and home and looking for something to do. Not to mention, many people have vacation money set aside that is burning a hole in their pocket. That deferred spending could prove to be a huge help for the video game industry.
However, it’s possible that the slow release window could discourage some from picking up a new console right away. After all, there are still new games coming out for the older systems for the next few months. With many people feeling the financial pinch of the pandemic, it’s possible that some will wait for a bit before snagging the newest systems.