Microconsoles were always regarded as being something inferior or to be avoided, but that all changed with the NES Classic. With Nintendo at the helm, these miscreants of gaming consoles were seen in a new light. They were no longer something to be ignored, but to be embraced. And so the many companies that originally didn’t want to touch the market, are gleefully ready to dive in for the first time ever or in ages.
Here we find Sony, one of the many companies who are seeking to jump on the bandwagon of retro microconsoles and release something of their own. Enter the PlayStation Classic, Sony’s answer to the retro microconsole craze. But unlike the NES Classic, the C64 mini, or even the NeoGeo mini, the way Sony is introducing the PlayStation Classic leaves a multitude of unanswered questions, and are most likely going to be told in a way that will anger many along the way.
The biggest and perhaps most concerning aspect of the PlayStation Classic currently is that there is only a handful of games we know are coming to the consoles. Those games (as of this article posting) is:
- Final Fantasy VII
- TEKKEN 3
- R4: Ridge Racer Type 4
- Jumping Flash!
- Wild Arms
and…that’s it! Currently, there are only five games that have been announced for the PlayStation Classic and no information or even hints regarding the rest. The PlayStation Classic was announced on September 18th, 2018 and is planning to be released on December 3rd, 2018. With such a short turn around from announcement to release, and to only have a fraction of the information available, it’s concerning.
The first and most obvious concern is that Sony is asking consumers to pre-order and purchase a product they don’t have all the information for. When both the NES Classic and SNES Classic were announced, all the information regarding the games were readily available and was part of the appeal. Consumers could make an informed decision well before the product releases to assure they would be able to receive one. But with the PlayStation Classic, Sony is asking for a leap of faith. After the stock shortages of both the NES Classic and the SNES Classic, fans of these types of consoles are continually concerned that there may be a potential stock issue and miss out on something they really want. Stuck between a rock and a hard place, a portion of these consumers are likely to err on the side of caution and pre-order the console anyway to make sure they receive a copy.
This is where part of the concern surrounding the PlayStation One turns partly into deviousness. Sony, knowingly or not, is preying on that concern surrounding fans to help sell the PlayStation Classic without providing the entire line up of games. Consumers don’t know how many of the PlayStation Classic are being made, but they know what happened with past consoles and will react accordingly based on that. What makes this matter worse is the fact that Sony hasn’t announced any additional games as of yet, which further adds to the concern surrounding the console’s release.
With so many spots remaining for the PlayStation Classic, consumers interested in purchasing the console are, in part, hoping that one of their favorite games is going to be included. Survival Horror fans will be hoping for titles such as Silent Hill or Resident Evil 2, Racing fans will want Gran Turismo or Wipeout, and platforming fans will want Crash Bandicoot and Croc. Because consumers don’t know, those empty spots will remain as potential hope for each consumer holding out for one of those titles they sought after being added, until all are announced. With everyone having their own hopes for the PlayStation One Classic, and the process that will most likely occur, the lack of information simply has everyone buying in because they all believe that their title is going to be added.
The concerns don’t end there, unfortunately, by not revealing all the games during the initial announcements, but there is most likely going to be a process of everyone slowly becoming disappointed with the initial launch. To announce all the titles in one other lump sum, Sony will be missing out on a valuable marketing opportunity to promote their upcoming PlayStation Classic. What will most likely happen instead is that Sony will opt to announce the upcoming games for the PlayStation Classic in a series of announcements. This tactic will likely be enacted to maintain a consistent amount of excitement for their upcoming release. This means that consumers who are waiting or interested in the product will be at every point, on some level, disappointed with the news. If you are looking forward to racing games on the PlayStation Classic, and what is announced instead is a series of horror games such as Resident Evil, then you’re going to be disappointed. The reverse is true as well; if you are looking forward to survival horror games, but Wipeout is announced alongside a series of racing games, you’ll be disappointed. This trend will continue until finally all of the announcements are made. This means that each announcement that will be made prior to the final will be received similarly with each iteration. While this tactic may seem sound for Sony from a marketing perspective, for consumers it may seem grueling.
The PlayStation Classic looks to rest on the same laurels as the NES Classic and the SNES Classic, however, Sony has missed several important and key steps in delivering their first microconsole by casting a sea of doubt through missing information. Consumers are expected to pre-order the microconsole despite not knowing the full lineup of games, which is further exacerbated by the trend of microconsoles having limited stock and consumers knowing they will need to buy early to secure a product. While the PlayStation Classic, in the end, might be an enjoyable product, the process leading to its release is surprisingly more concerning and devious than anticipated.
If you are looking to purchase the PlayStation Classic, take a moment and consider the aforementioned warning signs that perhaps, it isn’t best to preorder the upcoming microconsole. Don’t be caught up in the hype, and instead, simply wait, or risk a severe case of buyer’s remorse that was constructedd partially by Sony’s handling of the PlayStation Classic’s release.