As companies continue to move away from E3, they are forced to come up with their own ways of communicating with consumers regarding their latest products. Nintendo has made a name for itself with it’s Nintendo Directs, and Microsoft has made an entire show out of their announcements with Inside Xbox. It is only natural that Sony, being the last horse to horse to cross the finish line, would make its own game-announcement show; enter State of Play.
Initially, I found State of Play to be a bit of a poor attempt at a Nintendo Direct (and let’s be honest, it still is), but this past State of Play managed to achieve something that previous iterations did not—it was interesting! Yes, for the first time in Sony’s history of State of Plays, finally, we were graced with a series of exciting announcements. In past iterations of the show, the announcements we received—while still impressive—failed to make the show feel like it had a purpose. Taking a quick look at the September’s State of Play, compared to this most recent December edition, and the differences quickly become jarring.
The most obvious and essential difference between the most recent State of Play and its predecessors is the gravity of announcements. In the December edition of State of Play, it featured content from Babylon’s Fall, a game that up until this point, had not shown any gameplay. On top of this, the Resident Evil 3 Remake—that many of us had suspected would be announced soon and was pining over—was also revealed to the world for the first time. There was even a teaser for Ghost of Tsushima, explaining that there would be more information at the game awards. Of course, there were other announcements, but for these shows to be worth the excitement and anticipation that Nintendo Directs are given, there needs to be valuable information, and the past State of Plays didn’t provide that.
Past iterations of the show just provided smaller, less important news, focusing more on providing a platform for smaller titles or additional information about titles that were already known. This is most apparent in September’s State of Play, choosing to focus on games that were previously known in place of providing truly noteworthy news. Highlights included: MediEvil getting a demo, a new trailer for The Last of Us Part II, and the reveal (of possibly the most adorable game ever) Wattam. None of these announcements are poor in their own right, but they don’t warrant an entire show. These announcements could have just as easily been announced on YouTube through a single video, and the gaming press would have picked it up and ran with it.
The same could be said with Sony’s second State of Play that aired back in May of 2019. It started strong initially with Monster Hunter World: Iceborne being announced, a massive expansion to a hugely successful entry into the Monster Hunter series, but quickly after this news, it faltered. A few Indie titles were shown off, a new trailer to a game we already knew was releasing, and a bit of fluff in-between. If you missed the show, there was only that one main piece of information that was important, and it could easily be found elsewhere because it was plastered everywhere. While it was a proper announcement, it didn’t provide enough purpose nor interest to once again warrant a whole show.
After watching these past State of Plays, I didn’t feel compelled to make sure I caught them when they went live; I just waited for the news to eventually work it way out through social media and news outlets. As I stated in a past article of mine:
…State of Play simply serves as a time of the month in which game news can occur in this format. There is no need for the news to be displayed in this method; it just, is. Iron Man VR announcement? Great! But if all that is being provided is a trailer and a date, why couldn’t this only have been a trailer post? Why does it need to exist within this format of a show that doesn’t attempt to be a show?…
But this latest State of Play saught to change that. The information provided was more complex, more in-depth, and, most importantly, there was a decent amount of substantial details. There was a big-ticket reveal, first-time gameplay, and an anticipated teaser. With just knowing that this information was contained in this latest edition of State of Play, I felt compelled to watch the rest. It made me think, “what else was included?” so instead of just going to youtube or news outlets hours later to learn about the highlights, I instead watched State of Play. It provided all the information I was looking for, and some more, and I genuinely enjoyed watching it knowing some big reveals and announcements were peppered throughout with some other games being brought to light in the process.
This State of Play got me interested and wanting to watch, unlike the past. If Sony can keep this level of quality and delivery moving forward, State of Play might actually be something to keep an eye on and watch from time to time when it comes out. There might be some big-ticket announcements or reveals, multiple ones at that, but that would be a guess. However, unlike before, where State of Play wasn’t known for big announcements or reveals, that is no longer the case. Games like Resident Evil 3 and others can be announced during State of Play, and that makes things interesting.
Sony has finally made it click, and we all may need to watch it moving forward.