Playing it Safe at PlayStation Experience 2016 – Great Games, But Where’s the New Stuff?

PlayStation Experience 2016’s Keynote a Slew of Sequels, Remakes, and Remasters

The 2016 edition of the PlayStation Experience show came with an impressive batch of game announcements. The Last of Us is getting a sequel, Marvel vs Capcom Infinite is coming at last, and a Wipeout collection is on the horizon. Even PaRappa the Rapper is coming back. These are great announcements and they’re undoubtedly games that people should be excited about yet, there’s a curious absence of original IPs among the list of newly announced titles. Of the major announcements made, there were¬†21 focused on sequels, ports, remakes, and collections. There were five new titles announced, and four updates given for previously-revealed games.

Last of Us Part 2 PlayStation Experience 2016 Reveal HERO

This keynote presentation is PlayStation’s chance to tell the world about the big things happening in 2017. So why did they spend so much air time on safe, familiar ground? Hell, one of the announcements made was that Marvel vs Capcom 3 was coming back to PSN. Some crude math suggests that less than 20 percent of their time was used to give consumers something new.

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“Of the major announcements made, there were¬†21 focused on sequels, ports, remakes, and collections.”

This is both distressing and confusing. Primarily because there is no shortage of original titles coming out for the PS4. At the very least, there’s more than five of them. A quick look at their release schedule shows the system hosting a healthy amount of original titles. This leads one to wonder why they would choose to focus solely on sequels, remasters and expansions for this pivotal keynote presentation.

Perhaps the reason isn’t so mysterious after all. Other entertainment industries have been riding this safety rail for years. The Hollywood blockbuster machine has been thriving on a steady diet of similar content for almost a decade. The AAA gaming business makes a similar amount of money. Perhaps once an industry grows to a certain size they get skittish about taking risks? The indie game scene, steadily growing for years, has no problems breaking the mold.

PaRappa Remaster Screen

Indie games and original titles do well on PC all the time. Titles like Undertale and Stardew Valley see critical and commercial success, while titles on PSN get buried. The difference is their level of exposure. Great PC games that give consumers something fresh end up plastered all over the internet. Fan communities develop, social media tags are created. Cosplay pops up at conventions. All of this is consumer-driven. An extra push from Sony at the right part of a game’s lifecycle before release could kick-start this whole thing for them. They could have legions of fans who have never even played the game. But instead, they take a perfect chance like Experience 2016 and put all of their focus on safe, familiar properties.

Uncharted Lost Legacy Screen

If Playstation took some more risks with their announcements and press coverage they could open up their library to greater levels of success. Indie titles and original IPs resonate more with consumers. at the very least, they have a more measurable cultural impact. If the internet’s reaction to hot new properties is any indication of their spending habits, major industry players would do well to dedicate more air time to original content.

The PS4 release calendar demonstrates that the infrastructure is already present. New titles are in the pipeline, Sony just needs to increase consumer awareness. Events like Playstation Experience are prime opportunities to bring new properties into the spotlight. Perhaps next year Sony will better utilize this real estate.