5 Things we want from PlayStation in 2023

It's PlayStation's year for the taking...

I have to admit this was a tough list to write, mainly due to the fact that PlayStation are delivering on all cylinders right now. Undoubtedly a turbulent start to the generation, given the fact the PS5 launched mid-pandemic, but now that the dust has settled, consoles are on shelves and gamers are getting their hands on units, it’s truly time for the PlayStation 5 to shine. It’s interesting how each generation of Sony’s platform tends to ride a wave of popularity. The PlayStation 3’s tumultuous journey was one that gamers will never forget. The PS3’s launch price was a historic moment for all the wrong reasons. Yet, the console managed to bounce mid-generation with its saving grace being the Sony Computer Entertainment exclusive Uncharted 2: Among Thieves from Naughty Dog. The title was an essential, critically acclaimed by fans and critics alike, pushing not only the studio but PlayStation back to prominence. Without it, PlayStation would have been in dire straits heading into the next generation.

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The PlayStation 4 had an one of the most prolific generation cycles in gaming, outselling its main competitor 2:1. The XBOX One had little-to-no hope after a catastrophic launch campaign lead by then President of Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft – Nice title – Don Mattrick. Sony was guaranteed to be the top platform with Nintendo’s Wii U performing poorly in the market. It was an enigmatic period for PlayStation, heralded for releasing some of the best exclusives in gaming that included The Last of Us Part II, Horizon: Zero Dawn, Persona 5, God of War, NieR Automata, Final Fantasy VII: Remake just to name a few. The PS4 aimed to push the envelope granted its strong launch already solidified its standing within the market as the gaming console to own that generation. 

Now as we enter PlayStation 5’s third year, some have had the luxury of experiencing this incredible platform and its revolutionary tech that had everyone a buzz over its unique controller and tantalising displays of power. It’s been a PlayStation fan’s dream launch with immediate follow-up’s in Horizon: Forbidden West and God of War: Ragnarok already on shelves, is there anymore we can ask for? I can only think of a few worth mentioning. Here’s five things I would like to see from PlayStation in 2023.

#1: PlayStation 5 Slim... 

Okay. So each PlayStation generation has gone through its iterations of hardware that simplify the console for a minimalistic approach. The PlayStation 5 is mammoth. When I first placed eyes on my unit, I joked that I could rent out apartment space in it, it’s so big. It would be a no brainer for Sony to release a PlayStation 5 slim, right? It’s easier said than done this time around, with demanding titles will mandate certain specifications the platform will need to house. I don’t know if Sony could slim down this behemoth, but it would be incredible if they could. In an early attempt to slim down the PlayStation 5’s size, YouTube’s DIY Perks stripped the units internals down to thickness of a DVD/BluRay case, but at the cost of having an absurdly large power supply that had to be independently cooled, and the last thing we need is any fan noise to be introduced – they got it right with the current model. To be fair, this is more a pipedream scenario that I don’t see happening this generation – there’s more a chance of a “Pro” console happening at some point, but it’s nice to think that we could free up some space on our entertainment centre.

#2: Close a deal on Square-Enix... 

The ongoing conversation that Square-Enix has been teasing a sale, and PlayStation wanting to buy has now reached boiling point. President Yosuke Matsuda, recently stated in a press release that Square-Enix would look further into consolidation in 2023, which could only mean that the company would be searching for a suiter to take it in. This is major, and would be a massive blow to Sony if Microsoft somehow found themselves in the conversation. PlayStation need to close a deal as soon as possible. It’s not outside the realm of possibility that PlayStation do so this year, but if “Daddy” Phil Spencer were to smooth talk his way into the deal then this would be one of gaming’s most historic acquisitions. It’s scary to think that Square’s entire library could end up as an XBOX exclusive with the idea of a sale to the Microsoft lead gaming division being a spite-lead brute force buyout, with Final Fantasy VII: Remake rumoured to have been “blocked” by Sony for XBOX Platforms after Activision’s sale to XBOX Game Studios had PlayStation in a tailspin.

#3: Re-Instate Shawn Layden... 

This continues to be one of PlayStation’s biggest mistakes. Shawn Layden was good for the brand, not only as an experienced developer, but a gamer that understood his audience. It continues to befuddle us fans to this day how Layden’s abrupt exit was never explained or elaborated on, so we were left guessing that there was some sort of dispute, only for some information to finally surface sometime later. A power struggle that happened to occur between Layden, and now head of Sony Interactive Jim Ryan had become heated with the pair arguing over the existence of an EyeToy 3 project that was being knocked back by Layden. This would cause Mr. Layden’s untimely exit from PlayStation, with Ryan promoted to President and CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment. Layden now works with Tencent Games, as an advisor.

It’s been a mixed bag with Jim Ryan at the helm. His disingenuous demeanour comes across unauthentic as a gamer, and more an executive selling a pitch to stockholders every time he rears his head in a State of Play or any other public appearance. Layden’s personal and intimate charm was great, and you could tell the man was happy to talk about video games. I still would love someone like Phil Spencer to be running PlayStation, and while we have Hermen Hulst in the drivers seat with Ryan playing shotgun, it’s hard to see the positives of PlayStation’s current leadership as a gamer. Layden seemed keen in returning to PlayStation back in late 2020, with tweets that were calling upon PlayStation gamers to show support to the brand, but there hasn’t been a conversation about a possible return since.

#4: More PC Ports of Overlooked Classics... 

This is another confusing request. If you’re going to release Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End for PC, then why not Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection? Naughty Dog’s esteemed trilogy that personified the action-adventure platformer in generations prior, inspired a new wave of cinematic experiences. It pushed boundaries, and became a household name. Nathan Drake was the new Indiana Jones, and had people that weren’t even gamers abuzz over how incredible the fortune hunter’s misadventures were. Alas, we’re left without the first three titles? We need these games for PC just as much as the fourth. Yes, the latest entry is a technical marvel that may remain unmatched in some aspects, but the first three were ubiquitous in gaming for years. It’s a definite oversight, and should be addressed – but the Uncharted trilogy is just one of many bygone collections that have been omitted from the PlayStation library.

#5: Bring back inFamous... 

I love me some Sucker Punch, but let’s face facts. The Sony first party studio has moved on from the supernatural anti-hero franchise that sat side-by-side as one of pillars of the blue brand’s platform. While inFamous has Sucker Punch’s fingerprints laden across its legacy, it’s PlayStation’s intellectual property to shop around. With strong rumours swirling that a San Diego based Studio is seemingly developing a brand new Uncharted sequel, it’s not a far-fetched idea for Sony to pitch the idea to another studio in hopes of reviving inFamous. Whether or not we see a reboot, a reprisal or complete revival of its mainline entries are in doubt, but to have that same experience with a connecting lore to both Cole McGrath and Delsin Rowe would be awesome as a fan. I would love to see where that world is in a post-pandemic like universe, given how its last title was set in Seattle, moving away from the fictional Empire City and New Marais, but again it’s only pipedream.

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