Their silence may be frustrating, but there is a method to their madness.
Sony and Nintendo fans are currently riled up. This is actually immediately apparent if you have had any exposure to the video gaming community in the last few weeks. Any time Sony or Nintendo tweet, or post a video to their YouTube channel, or do anything, fans are there in droves, demanding information. Message boards across the internet are filled with thousands of posts of Sony and Nintendo fans engaging in vociferous speculation, which gets increasingly desperate and outlandish with each passing day.
There’s actually a good reason for the restlessness of Sony and Nintendo fans, though. In what can only be described as a cruel game of chicken, both companies have decided to just… not communicate with their fans much. At least, not the information that their fans want.
For Sony fans, that information is more details about the PlayStation 5. The PS5 is due to launch later this year, which ordinarily necessitates more information shared about it. And yet, Sony has been almost frustratingly quiet: they have shared some details on the technology they will use in their next generation console, and they have shared the logo (which, by the way, is absurdly boring), but that’s really it. We don’t officially know what the console looks like, what the controller is like, what the specs are, when it is launching, what its launch lineup might be, or what it might cost.
In and of itself, this isn’t too unusual of a situation. We are months away from the anticipated launch of the PS5, after all, so Sony doesn’t have to really show their hand just yet. But for fans, the situation is exacerbated by a series of circumstances that add to the sense of uncertainty around the next gen PlayStation console, and the company as a whole: conflicting reports on the console’s specs (and how they may compare to the Series X); Sony’s admission that it hasn’t finalized a price yet, and is waiting on Microsoft to go first; the very real possibility that the global outbreak of the Coronavirus may cause a delay in the launch of the next gen consoles; and Sony themselves announcing they will skip E3 yet again this year, and not announcing any concrete alternate plans with regards to how they plan to communicate with fans, leading to a sense of anxious uncertainty not just about what the PS5 is, but when we might learn more about it. At least in the past, we had E3 or TGS to mark as definite, concrete markers to look to for more information – right now Sony fans do not even have those.
Nintendo fans find themselves similarly flummoxed at Nintendo’s obstinate silence. We are currently in the longest gap between two Nintendo Direct broadcasts ever, and this is actually a pretty big problem. It’s a problem because Nintendo typically goes for shorter announcement to release cycles. Which would be fine, but this is directly supplemented by a fairly predictable schedule of information drops (typified by the Direct videos): Nintendo will share information four times a year, with a Direct early in the year, and one in the Fall, plus E3, and some information towards the end of the year (usually at The Game Awards).
As long as Nintendo sticks to that schedule, things are fine, because you always know what’s lined up and in the docket. As soon as the current release schedule begins to run thin, there’s more stuff announced in a new Direct.
This time, that hasn’t happened. The last Direct was in September last year. Nintendo did not share any information at The Game Awards. And there has been no Direct at the beginning of this year – while, of course, there is a chance they still might have one in the coming weeks, that would be later than any previous similar Direct so far, which have typically been in January or early February.
The situation is made worse because we literally don’t know what to expect for the Switch this year. Animal Crossing and Pokemon Mystery Dungeon are coming this March, but what beyond that? Is the Breath of the Wild sequel coming this year? Is Bayonetta 3? Metroid Prime 4? Shin Megami Tensei V? When is Xenoblade Definitive Edition launching? How about Bravely Default 2?
The problem is made worse because Nintendo IS communicating… just not about the things people want them to. They announced a Direct in January… for Pokemon Sword and Shield, which had launched less than two months prior. The final fighter pack for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate was just detailed in a random video. So was the final Fire Emblem DLC pack. And all this while, there are rumors about upcoming games swirling, and reports about production delays thanks to the Coronavirus (yes, again), and general uncertainty about exactly what Nintendo has lined up for the year when two next generation consoles are releasing, and of course, the persistent and not entirely irrational fear that we might be headed towards a drought of major releases, which have been so endemic to Nintendo platforms in the past, but which Switch has managed to avoid so far.
In both these cases, I do get the frustration, and I even empathize with the desire for more information. But in the end, Sony and Nintendo have both managed to craft successful game consoles and ecosystems with the PS4 and Nintendo Switch, and they have done that because they know what they’re doing. And it’s not like there has been a shortage of games to play on either system in this period, either. The PS4 just got Dreams, which might become one of the highest rated games of this generation, if early reviews are any indication, and heavy hitters such as Nioh 2, Persona 5 Royal, and Final Fantasy 7 remake are just a few weeks away. Switch fans just got Thronebreaker and Tokyo Mirage Sessions, and Pokemon Mystery Dungeon and Animal Crossing: New Horizons are just a few weeks away. Both systems are also benefiting from a steady stream of third party releases and announcements. It’s not like there hasn’t been anything.
The thing is, ultimately Sony and Nintendo can afford to stay silent and take their time to line things up just right and reveal them on their own terms – because they have earned that benefit of the doubt. They have consistently delivered great games to players for years now, and shown themselves to be privy to the pulse of the industry.
Sony and Nintendo’s silence, ultimately, is a testament to their success, and the confidence they have in what they have achieved so far. They don’t have anything to prove anymore, so they don’t need to constantly make noise to endear themselves to anyone. Eventually, we’re going to get the PS5 announcement and the next Direct, and no one will care that either of those happened a few weeks later than what they had hoped for. Because, if the last few years are any indication, both Sony and Nintendo will end up delivering the goods – and in the end, that’s what matters.
Note: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, GamingBolt as an organization.