State of Play: Does Short Form Work for Sony?

Yesterday, gamers across the internet gathered in excitement for a fiesta of Playstation announcements. Sony’s first official “State of Play”, a short form trailer filled livestream, debut was smooth as butter. A few surprise announcements here. A couple exclusives there. And a ton of confirmed release dates made the most of the roughly 20 minute event. Ignoring the awful voice of the digital announcer, it’s safe to say “State of Play” was a success.

But, was it the right move?

State of Play
PlayStation

Long time Playstation fans are accustomed to narrative driven experiences. A rule that holds true for announcement trailers as well. Looking back on past Playstation events, you’ll quickly find that most trailers ran 2-3 minutes with tons of narrative detail. Whether eluded to or directly presented, the trailers draw you in by presenting a full living world. Cinematic or in game footage, the announcements tend to deliver the beginning of your next gaming adventure. 

State of Play, Sony’s equivalent of a Nintendo Direct, took what felt like a very different approach. It crammed as many announcements as possible into 20 minutes with tons of gameplay footage. Gameplay footage that shows what you will be doing without intriguing us with the why we’re doing it. Sure with a game like the PSVR exclusive IronMan VR, coming fall 2019, you don’t need to necessarily know why he’s fighting the bad guys. He’s a superhero, that’s just what they do. 

IronMan VR
Camouflaj, PlayStation Worldwide Studios

However, with a game like Ready Set Heroes, as fun as the multiplayer action game looks, it’d be great to learn more about the world. Don’t get me wrong, I’m personally excited for the idea of 4 player party game. Especially one that looks like the Looney Tunes dungeon crawler i never knew i wanted. It just didn’t feel like Sony. It felt like Nintendo. 

It’s not about the violence or adulthood

And before you type “Eh look another guy to grown for fun games.” realize my complaint is not about the games. It’s about the presentation. Years of watching E3, Paris Games Week, Tokyo Games Show announcements have set a certain expectation. An expectation that I’ve quietly watch continue to become less and less important. I’d be lying if I said I knew this was coming. Looking back on the most recent E3 conferences though, I feel kind of foolish for not.

Since the release of the PS4, every Sony E3 conference has featured a short form sizzle reel announcing 10-15 games in a matter of minutes. It started off as just the Indie game reveal. Which was offensive for it’s own reasons we don’t have time to talk about now. And slowly it evolved to what we can now expect to be a regular occurrence called “State of Play”. That’s not the end though. Even during this short form experience Sony managed to pack in a video montage cramming release dates for 8 games into what felt like seconds. 

8 Games in 60 Seconds? Whoa.

Games like Falcon Age, Everybody’s Golf VR, Trover Saves the Universe were included in this short montage. Forget release dates, the spotlight on these games wasn’t long enough for me to write down all 8 names. And I write super fast because I have awful hand writing, so to me that says a lot. I want to go back to the good old days when gamers complained not enough games were shown. Ok maybe not that far back. Maybe go back to the short-lived time where the balance was almost perfect.

Regardless, I’m a diehard Playstation fan so I’m going to rock with the team no matter what. But, I’m no yes man. If I see something I’m not particularly excited about I’m going to say something. As of right now, I am not entirely excited for the next State of Play. And considering PlayStation will be absent from E3 2019, I’m concerned. Your move Sony. 

About Vega Montanez

Vega Montanez, 26, is a Dominican-American Hip Hop and R&B artist who loves video games. Born in New York, NY, Vega spent the early days of his life living in the Bronx and Washington Heights. As an artist, Vega delivers an introspective style of hip hop spiced with emotional undertones, powerful context, and atmospheric sounds. As a gamer, Vega loves narrative driven single player games and fighting games. He's also really bad at finishing games, so be careful of spoilers.