It is not a new story. We have seen delay after delay on several titles. It is however time to look at the issue surrounding this. First, the game many people will not care about, but it is one of the largest played franchises. The title is Minecraft and it was said to be a launch day title. It has shown itself too be a massive hit on PC and Xbox360, so the fact that it was going to grace the shores of Sony was good news. It was delayed on the PS3, and when it came just before Christmas it showed that the graphic improvements as we saw the shading on the PS3 it gave us a clear indication that the game on NextGen would be well worth it. It has not come yet and it is now said to be delayed until June 2014. That gives it a delay of 3 quarters. That same delay is now shared with Watchdogs and Driveclub. The game Watchdogs has at least a little amount of excuse as it clearly stated the delay a week before the launch of the PS4. But these delays show a deeper issue. Either Sony marketing is not managing their issues correctly and in fear of desertion are willing to keep the gamers for too long in the dark, or we see a level of miscommunication between console and software houses that should not be acceptable in any way, shape or form. Which is the correct one?
I leave that up to the reader, but consider how this list of delayed games is growing. Witcher 3 was announced for later this year. Now it will not be seen until February 2015. In this case, like with Watchdogs the gamer gets a timely announcement, yet the amount of delays are now adding up and gamers should consider themselves as investors into a new gaming system, yet they get no return on investment. Is that fair?
If we consider the quote “This is the list of games planned to launch for the PlayStation 4 between Day 1 and the end of March 2014” and we see the delays of Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty (spring 2014), The Witness (mid 2014) and Wolfenstein: The New Order (may 2014) then you can understand how we should get worried. This all is even worse for Oddworld, which is a revamp of the original PS1 game, now for the PS4, which means that most issues of this game would have been known long before the console came out. So it all adds up. These last few titles are not that much delayed as they were launch window titles, but the delay still counts towards to overall lack of games. Infamous is still on track and Thief got released on time, it is the bad rating of Thief (in my view slightly undeserved) that still ends up having a negative impact, which is not to be ignored.
I must also admit on the other side of the scales that Sony has been trying to offer a level of overkill for the members of PlayStation Plus. They are throwing everything but the kitchen sink in that direction. Even though not all on PS4 (some on PS3), the amount of quality games (including Killzone) that could be freely downloaded must be acknowledged. I think that this is what gives them a little more time for now.
In the end we will see more delays. The Crew (a racing game) is also delayed, but then on all platforms, so it is not just a Sony ‘issue’. So why is this all such a massive issue for gamers?
Consider the ‘advertisement’ we all saw on the game Drive club. Sony has been beating us to death with it and it did look really good. Now, the way it was shown and the fact that it was a launch day title was not just an error. It was in my view a blatant form of intentional misrepresentation. If we consider the path of any game; development-testing-alpha-testing-beta-testing and then the gold master, the fact that a game has 3 quarters delay means that they were in a place long before the alpha stage. This means that it had been known for some time that there was no way to get this game out in time, so how was the ‘demo’ arranged? Consider the ‘implied’ votes on the score in the rolling demo. All this points getting back to ‘utter deception’ show us that the hands of Sony are not clean in this regard either.
So even though I am (and remain for now) a huge Sony fan, we must hold them to account for both their actions and in-actions, if not, then indeed some gamers might consider that the safest move is to move towards the Xbox One (even with the architectural flaws it currently has). In some cases the games have been delayed on both systems, but consider that Titanfall has a 90% rating and as Forza also got rated that high, shows that racing fans can at least get their racing freak on with an Xbox One, something currently not possible on the PS4. Those who have read my other blogs might know that I have been highly criticising against the XB1, I have also stated more than once that a console can only survive if it releases top games. At present the scales of balance are moving away from Sony as the games are more and more getting delayed. This is the lesson that was imprinted into the heads of members of the board of directors of Sony with a sledgehammer when we saw the issues on PS2 and PS3. It seems that they still have not learned this lesson. It is hard to blame them for the failing of other software houses, yet the fact that it is happening again with the PS4 should turn on many red lights in Sony HQ. I reckon it takes one more delayed top title for the PS4 to start making a sales shift and start changing the balance of power for NextGen consoles. No matter what hype some acclaimed ‘experts’ throw at you for 1080i resolution and frame rate. The first is that this level of quality is rarely offered by games, and in the end a good game is a good game, no matter what resolution it runs on. It does not matter if the PS4 shows graphic superiority, not having the games is what stops people buying the console in the first place.