It’s been just a little over six months since the PlayStation 5 arrived here in the US. While global stock shortages persist and don’t seem to be getting better, Sony is clearly selling consoles to some people judging by the fact that it has managed to sell 7.8 million PS5s thus far. The beginning of a new console generation is always exciting, but what does the PlayStation landscape look like six months after release?
As it turns out, it looks mostly the same as it did a few months ago. It very much feels like the PlayStation 5 is still winding up, but even though we’re still very early on in the generation, we’re seeing some promising things.
And yes, it’s a little unfair to do the whole “there are no games” thing because, while marquee titles are still rather thin, we’re seeing signs of that changing. For instance, the indie space on the PlayStation 5 seems to be getting larger by the day, and not only that, but Sony itself has served up some solid games. I don’t think Spider-Man: Miles Morales is going to go down as one of the all-time great launch titles, but bundled with Spider-Man Remastered makes it a pretty good value for those who managed to snag a console around launch.
More recently, we’ve seen Returnal launch to solid reception from fans and critics alike, and it has the distinction of being one of the few truly next-gen games that’s made for the PlayStation 5 and nothing else (though it would be a good candidate for one of Sony’s PC releases later on down the line). In just a few short weeks, we’ll see Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart launch, and while we obviously don’t know how good that game will be, the stuff Sony has shared pre-release looks pretty good. Not only has Rift Apart impressed so far, but it’s hard to name the last time a studio like Insomniac disappointed.
So, while the PlayStation 5 still has a long way to go before we’re in the Land of A Thousand Exclusives like we were with the PlayStation 4, but there are already some solid options available for the PlayStation 5 with more on the way. Looking ahead, Sony is expected to release God of War: Ragnarok and Horizon Forbidden West at some point this year, and once those two games are here, it’ll probably feel like the next generation has truly arrived for most PS5 owners.
For now, though, most of the games releasing on PS5 are either games that are launching simultaneously on previous-generation consoles or games that originally launched for PS4 and have been upgraded for PS5, and that’s okay. There was a lot of overlap between the Xbox 360/PS3 generation and the one that came after it, so it makes sense that we’d see the same thing here, especially when the PlayStation 4 still seems to be selling well enough.
I will say that this is where the PlayStation Plus Collection comes in handy, particularly for PlayStation 5 owners who might be buying their first console in a while or just those who never got the chance to play most of these games in the past. If Xbox Game Pass is an all-you-can eat buffet with high points and low points, the PlayStation Plus Collection is almost a perfectly curated menu at a really nice restaurant – you may have fewer options that you do at the buffet, but everything on the menu is almost certain to hit. The PlayStation Plus Collection is just the latest entry on a long list of things that prove “quality over quantity” are words to live by.
I remain impressed by the PS5’s hardware. I think that the SSD in particular is awesome. The same goes for the Xbox Series X, to be honest; I think that this generation, what feels like the biggest leap forward will actually come from the SSDs at the center of both of these consoles. I’m still loving the DualSense controller as well, though I am looking forward to buying it in a color other than white. Color preferences aside, I’m excited to see how more games take advantage of the controller in the future, and while I can appreciate the fact that Microsoft elected to keep things mostly the same in the Xbox Series X controller, it is also nice to have a very distinct change in the controller from one generation to another.
The PlayStation 5 is still absolutely massive, and it’s really hard to understate just how big this thing is for someone who hasn’t gotten their hands on it yet. I’m very much looking forward to the inevitable PS5 Slim in a couple of years, and you can bet that I will definitely be trading up to that model. That’s particularly true if it has a bigger SSD, because let’s face it, 667GB of usage storage space just doesn’t cut it in 2021. I understand that Sony probably had to make concessions for the tech and in an effort to keep the price of the PlayStation 5 at $500, but we could definitely use more internal storage in future models.
I also think that Sony has to figure out its answer to Xbox Game Pass, because I’m not sure if exclusives alone can do it. Even though I just compared the PlayStation Plus Collection’s curated restaurant menu to the all you can eat buffet that is Xbox Game Pass, there’s no denying that Xbox Game Pass offers a lot of value that may sway people who are on the fence over to PC or Xbox Series X. If I were a PlayStation executive, I would be really happy with how things are shaping up and the console’s prospects, but there would be a little voice in the back of my head reminding me that I need to come up with a solution for Xbox Game Pass.
Still, even if Sony doesn’t come up with the perfect answer to Game Pass, there’s no real denying that if the company simply stays the course from the previous generation, things will probably turn out just fine. Right now, the PlayStation 5 is the next-gen console everyone seems to want, so it’s really Sony’s generation to lose. Following the previous generation, Microsoft has to make the case for owning an Xbox Series X – and that’s a position Sony isn’t in with the PlayStation 5.