With 2016 completed, we closed down a solid year of gaming. Big titles are already hitting the shelves in 2017. And Sony will want to continue leading the market this year, but will PlayStation dominate 2017 thanks to their exclusive games?
It might be a lot harder for them this year, if they don’t get it right.
Sony face some massive competition this year from the Nintendo Switch (more Info) and the Xbox One: Project Scorpio. It will be more of a challenge to stay on top for sure, and that’s just how we like it! Competition makes companies try harder, do more and that can only be good for us gamers.
Here is the first of 3 articles previewing the console market for 2017. I’ll be looking at the keys to success, the games that really stand out and my concerns for the year too.
But these are just mine! I want to read yours. Drop me a Disqus Comment at the end with what you expect from. PlayStation this year. And don’t forget to share on social media so more people can get involved.
1Key To Success
PlayStation start this year with the lead of the market. Huge sales that despite a resurgence from Xbox, see them lead with more than double the consoles sold.
Now, if you’ve not read my work before, don’t expect any bias or “fan boy” comments. My PS4 and Xbox One sit together best of friends and I enjoy games on both. People have personal preferences, this is normal. But, from my point of view, both machines have great games.
As for looking at PlayStation, in order to maintain their lead, what do they need to do in 2017?
Deliver On The Exclusives
One thing that this generation of gaming lacks in my opinion is a big library of exclusives. Sony are as guilty as Xbox in this regard and the market is largely dominated by 3rd party titles.
The ones they have are great however (not including The Order 1886!). The Last Guardian, Ratchet and Clank(review) and my favourite game of 2016 was the amazing Uncharted 4(Review). There were also a number of VR exclusives too but that was an inevitability at launch of new hardware.
More on that later.
But in traditional Sony style, they have been slowly working their way towards a number of exclusive titles. Much like their previous consoles, they all seem to be coming together at a similar time. And over the next 2 years, we are likely to see the bulk of them release.
Quite simply, they have to deliver on them. No more The Order situations that play more like a tech demo than a true game. We need to see really top class exclusives, close to the standard set by Uncharted.
Let’s have a look at them in our next section.
2My 3 Big PlayStation 4 Games of 2017
There are a number of exclusive games coming this year and I fully expect this to be the beginning of the PS4’s peak. Games like Detroit, Days Gone and the return of Kratos in God of War are massive releases for this year.
If they all make it of course.
But there are some games more important than others. And some more likely to make it this year. See which ones I think are biggest for PlayStation in 2017 below.
Horizon Zero Dawn
While not the first exclusive of the year as Gravity Rush 2 is out already. This is the most anticipated exclusive coming in the first few months of 2017. This has to set the tone for the year and it’s a game I’m personally very excited about.
I have concerns too, but I’ll save those for later.
Horizon Zero Dawn is a whole new IP from PlayStation and a brave call by Guerrilla Games. I personally think it’s the right call for them to go this way since Killzone Shadowfall felt more an adventure than a shooter at times. They are ready to move genres for me, but this is going into open world RPG territory.
But the innovation behind Horizon is what stands out. The land of these animal-like machines and return to tribal living looks amazing. The story has so much going for it and, as much as they have shown (perhaps too much?), most of the game is very much unknown.
Aloy is the big factor for me in this new IP. A strong female lead is just what we need and we could have a new legendary Sony character to join Nathan Drake, Kratos and Crash Bandicoot.
This needs to be amazing, needs to deliver the quality it promises from top to bottom. No technical issues for weeks or a so-so story that is predictable and bland. This should set the benchmark for the year and perhaps be the defining new IP of the PS4.
God of War
I had a bit of a debate on this one, Days Gone could easily live here too. But I personally feel the new God of War has more chance of making it in 2017. The development team have said the game has a playable structure from start to finish. So you’d expect them to be spending the coming months polishing the game for October/November release.
Unlike Horizon, this is an established PlayStation great. One that will get the fans up and ready to experience being Kratos again.
But this is also a very different game to the originals, one that sees you playing as a more mature Kratos. A father looking out for his son in a world where Norse Gods walk the earth. The father son element moves away from the vengeful, angry Kratos we’ve seen for years. Delivering more depth to his character and hopefully a richer story as a result too.
The addition of RPG style mechanics suits this change and the combat still looks as impressive from the small amount we’ve seen.
This market is key to Sony and the success of PlayStation this year. Big followers of the series since the PS2 want to get back with this iconic character. It’s good to see the game evolving as the fans will too have grown-up since the original games.
For me, this has to be the big “Holiday Season” game for PlayStation 4 and the Pro.
Gran Turismo Sport
Now I sat and thought about my last pick here. I personally wanted to say Detroit: Become Human, the Quantic Dream game I can’t wait for. Many others will be the same and think their personal favourite. But none are quite as important as the return of Gran Turismo this year.
Why? Well the racing on PS4 so far has been a massive let down. Driveclub was average to be kind to it and then you have 3rd party titles that are the best option. Meanwhile their rival, Xbox One has had 3 Forza games, all of which very different and all exceptional, genre defining titles.
This is what Gran Turismo normally does: set the bar for racing games. And usually sets it incredibly high.
Now I have to admit to not being a racing fan. This can come out in 2017 or not for me personally. But for the PlayStation nation, there are masses of people awaiting this game. Many more wanting a really amazing racing experience on PlayStation 4 and yet to receive it. This SHOULD do that, if Polyphony Digital deliver as they usually do.
It looks glorious too, so much I wish I could really enjoy the genre more.
This is a huge release for Sony this year and needs to be a big E3 announcement with a short release from there. Maybe September to leave time for God of War in November.
3My Concerns for 2017
That’s the good stuff done but what are the pitfalls Sony needs to avoid in 2017? They are in the lead but competition is going to peak in the next 18 months. These are my worries for PlayStation this year that could see them slip up.
Horizon Zero Dawn Just Being Good
I say this a lot, but there is a massive difference between a good game, great game and a true classic. A lot rides on Horizon Zero Dawn for me, it’s massively hyped up and that has proved very bad for big games in recent times.
This game will be good, no question about it. But will it be great or even a classic, must play game?
God damn it I hope so, and so do tonnes of other PlayStation 4 owners waiting for this one. On the bright side the game hasn’t been rushed, it looks stunning and plays very nicely from the small section I’ve had a go on.
But we have to contemplate the idea it could fall into the overhyped category with The Division, Destiny and No Man’s Sky. We’ve seen so many huge titles not deliver on their promise that it can’t be discounted. Plus, the hype is so big now that it doesn’t even need to be bad to fail.
Should this game get reviews around 8 out of ten, these days this is a good game. For me that is a failure for Horizon. To realise the out of hype and promise this game has, it has to be exceptional and receive reviews to match.
PlayStation VR Becoming Gimmicky
I was concerned about this before pre-orders went in. Well, that and my pathetic stomach that wants to throw up constantly with a VR headset on. But, the last thing this needs is to get a few decent games and then be a footnote as part of other titles.
“Play The Horizon DLC with PSVR” or similar needs to not become the norm.
The VR kit is more readily available for people now. No more waiting lists, you can get out there and get it. You can terrify yourself in Resident Evil VII on it. But most importantly for PSVR, they need to announce some big titles specifically for it that make it more than just a gimmick.
Now Sony have been clever with some big games as the release dates are not fixed. While God of War and Days Gone, even Detroit and my pick of the new games Spider-Man is expected this year… None of them are actually pencilled in anywhere. The last thing we need to see slipping into another year is the big exclusives we’ve been waiting for.
And this is the key thing with Sony that is both a big strength and a source of frustration. To their credit PlayStation would rather see their first party studios release a game when it’s ready. This leads to some quality games… And lots of delays.
Many of these studios and titles have had a long time to get these ready to go however. Detroit, God of War, Spider-Man and Days Gone plus Gran Turismo Sport and more games have had plenty of time being made in secret. And for many almost a year has gone by since they were announced.
Time to set some dates and stick to them.
It’s one hell of a year to be a gamer. Regardless of where your preferences lie, competition is only serves to make the market better. Nintendo are back with a new Zelda, Mario and no doubt more big franchises to be announced. Plus Microsoft bringing out Project Scorpio mean Sony have to make themselves stand out this year.
They are the market lead and need to continue to behave like it.
A few big game announcements at E3 would add to the quality of games they have coming this year. If they get those key exclusives out, deliver on the quality they promise and avoid delays, I can see them continuing to lead the way by a distance.
What do you think about PlayStation in 2017? Let me know what you want to see, the games you want most and what could see them slip up. Use Disqus to comment below and I’ll get reading and replying.
Until next time gamers (which will be my Xbox Preview 2017), game on.