Home / Software & Gaming / Console / KitGuru Games: The PlayStation Showcase was Everything I Feared

KitGuru Games: The PlayStation Showcase was Everything I Feared

Ahead of PlayStation’s long-anticipated 2023 Showcase, I shared a list of my hopes and fears regarding the event. The showcase has now come and gone, and clearly Sony must have read my piece as they seemed to directly address all my fears – by doing exactly what I did not want them to do.

In my previous KitGuru Games, I shared three hopes and three fears that I had leading into the PlayStation Showcase:


  • The Last of Us Factions Deepdive
  • PlayStation VR2 Blowout
  • Bend Studio’s Next Big Game


  • Too many live-service games
  • Too much (any) Wolverine
  • PlayStation Q-Lite

With the cache amassed by Sony specifically through previous PlayStation Showcases, I felt as though my hopes (and fears) towards the event were rather conservative in approach. Yet somehow even my ‘realistic’ expectations failed to be met. Now, before I go into the issues I had with the showcase, I must stress that overall the event itself was good. Pretty much every game shown off / announced at the Showcase was interesting or unique in some way or another.

On the 3rd-party / indie front we got so many visually striking, interesting, thought provoking and emotional trailers. While none of them are as hype as seeing the return of a major AAA first-party franchise or whatever, many of the game’s shown off were highly exciting in their own right.

Ghostrunner 2 looks to be expanding upon the first title’s excellent-feeling gameplay while adding new mechanics, making the fast-paced parkour slasher even more bombastic. Sword of the Sea is the next game from Giant Squid Studios; behind the visually-striking and fun PS5 launch title The Pathless. Nearly a decade after the initial launch of the first game, The Talos Principle is back with a sequel that promises to offer “more mind-bending puzzles to solve, new puzzle mechanics, a richer storyline, more secrets to uncover, and the biggest, weirdest world Croteam has ever built.”

Gris developer Nomada Studios took the opportunity at the Showcase to make us all shed a tear or two thanks to the announcement of ‘Neva’. Like with their prior release, Neva looks to feature a pretty painterly aesthetic. Though we did not see gameplay directly, the trailer suggested that this upcoming 2024 release will bring with it expanded combat opportunities while still maintaining the emotional core the team are now known for.

I could keep going, as of the 34 total announcements a majority of them were exciting in one way or another. Unfortunately, it is time to talk about all of the many problems I had with the Showcase – namely the first-party PlayStation Studios announcements (except for Spider-Man 2, which was basically perfect).

My primary fear heading into the event was that Sony was going to show too many live-service games, at the time saying this: “One of the reasons publishers like the idea of live-service games so much is that they are typically designed to keep players coming back again and again, dedicating as much of their free time as possible to one single experience. Diluting this message with the announcement of half a dozen or so new live-service games will not only split the player base, but could leave a sour taste in the mouth of fans who come to PlayStation for their epic single-player titles. That is why for this showcase specifically, I hope the console manufacturer keeps its live service talk isolated to The Last of Us Factions.”

This was by far my biggest disappointment with the Showcase. Three of Sony’s biggest first-party titles announced at the event were all vague cinematic trailers for live-service shooters, and while each teaser did have its own vibe – with all three likely to look and play very differently – the announcement of FairGame$, Concord and Marathon all fell flat thanks to a lack of gameplay whatsoever. In fact, all three seemed to be pre-rendered cinematics, meaning that we truly got barely anything out of these announcements.

One of Sony’s greatest strengths in recent years has been their commitment to showing gameplay as well as typically running everything on the PS5 itself. This was the first PlayStation event in years which felt as though the studios were being ‘encouraged’ to showcase their titles far ahead of them being ready for the limelight – leading to these less-than-exciting cinematic teasers. So, not only did we get 3 different first-party live-service titles which will be competing for our time, but they failed to even sell the individual merits of each game to fans. Even Bungie’s Marathon (which was by far the most unique-looking of these live-service games) gave us next-to-nothing – a concerning start for PlayStation’s live-service push.

Speaking of live-services, the one title which I not only hoped would be at the Showcase, but expected it was Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us Multiplayer Project, with me saying ahead of the event: “This is why Factions [The Last of Us Multiplayer Project] needs to be the headliner for this showcase. Not only have fans been waiting for ages, but if done well (and I have complete faith in Naughty Dog to do just that), the Factions game could set the standard for PlayStation’s new push towards live services.”

As we now know, Factions – or whatever it will end up being called – did not show up at the PlayStation Showcase. Interestingly, in the days following the event, Naughty Dog released a statement to fans discussing the title’s absence, saying: “The Last of Us fans, We know many of you have been looking forward to hearing more about our The Last of Us multiplayer game. We're incredibly proud of the job our studio has done thus far, but as development has continued, we've realized what is best for the game is to give it more time.”

They continue, “Our team will continue to work on the project, as well as our other games in development, including a brand new single-player experience; we look forward to sharing more soon. We're grateful to our fantastic community for your support – thank you for your passion for our games, it continues to drive us.”

Naughty Dog has always emphasised the ambition of this multiplayer title, and with the repertoire, commitment to quality and industry-pushing nature of the studio, Naughty Dog more than deserve as much time as they need in order to get it right. That said, it would have been nice for them to make this announcement ahead of the event, helping to set expectations somewhat. Alas.

The real issue with the lack of any Last of Us is that Sony couldn’t use it to set the standard for all of PlayStation Studio’s other live-service titles. Of the three live-service games ‘shown off’ two are from brand new studios with no prior releases and the other is from Bungie – who already operate a live-service title (albeit not perfectly). While I don't believe any of these games would hit the theoretical peak that I believe The Last of Us Multiplayer title could very well hit, using the game as a representation for this pivotal moment in PlayStation would have created a sense of ease for those concerned with the new trajectory Sony is heading in.

For now, we know next to nothing about The Last of Us Multiplayer game; FairGame$ looks like a hybrid between all of Ubisoft’s titles put together; Concord…exists; and Marathon will feature the colour green a bunch. As a big PlayStation fan, I still have faith in all of these games (dare I say it, I even enjoyed Destruction AllStars) and will give them all a go when they eventually release, but as a ‘PlayStation Showcase’ the selection was somewhat weak.

Since before the headset even launched, people have been spelling the doom of Sony’s PlayStation VR2. I’ve thought this to be rather short-sighted. The system has barely even been out, launching just a few months ago. In fact, it really only had its proper launch earlier in May, with all sales prior to this being exclusively through the PlayStation Direct Store. Despite this, the headset has already sold a respectable 600,000 units – ahead of the first-gen PSVR despite having a soft launch through Sony’s site. This is why one of my hopes for the event was for us to get a big PSVR2 blowout, saying at the time:

“We already have a few good first-party VR titles available for the next-gen headset in the form of Horizon: Call of the Mountain and Gran Turismo 7, but we need more bespoke, lengthy and complete VR games. Across the many studios which Sony now owns or who has partnered with, there exists a strong number of teams who have great familiarity with VR development – Firesprite; London Studio; Insomniac Games and Team Asobi.”

I am sad to say that none of these studios showed up with any VR content – and the VR games we did get were rather paltry. Now, it was nice to finally have a PSVR2 version of Beat Saber (especially as it is a free upgrade), but as with that game, all of the VR titles showcased looked like they could be PSVR1 launch games in their scope. Of course the vastly improved PSVR2 hardware (with eye tracking, adaptive triggers, haptics, HDR OLED panel etc…) if utilised correctly can make a huge difference for games which otherwise would be unexceptional, but with the tenfold-increase in hardware power of the PS5 when compared to the PS4 – and the boundaries being pushed in the PC VR software space – I expected some ‘real' games to be shown off at the Showcase.

Don’t get me wrong, I love all VR experiences; I’ve been an early adopter of the technology going back to the Google Cardboard and DayDream smartphone VR days. But with it having been almost a decade since then, I would have expected more evolution in the space, especially by a VR hardware manufacturer. That’s not to say that those games aren’t coming. I mean, Arizona Sunshine 2 could be the best game of all time, but you can’t tell from a pre-rendered CG trailer – and that is exactly what we got.

I’m a VR optimist and with how good the hardware is, I hope that Sony treats the platform with as much respect as it does its flatscreen games, and that we see new AAA first-party VR titles for years to come. Unfortunately, not everyone shares my optimism and so a showing such as what we had at the PlayStation Showcase does little to convince others that the platform is worth investing in.

The final main thing I specifically did not want to see was PlayStation’s rumoured Q-Lite handheld…so of course Sony announced Project Q. Looking very much like a first-draft mock-up, the Remote Play only device is said to feature a “vibrant 8-inch LCD screen capable of up to 1080p resolution at 60fps” while including all of the same features from a regular DualSense. I don’t know about you, but any time I have tried to use Remote Play in the past, the experience has not been pleasant.

PlayStation’s Project Q reminds me of the PS3 generation Sony, when in an attempt to mimic the success of the Nintendo Wii released the ill-supported and rushed-feeling PlayStation Move. Sony is seemingly at it once again, except they have decided to copy one of Nintendo’s biggest failures – the Nintendo Wii U. Did I expect Project Q to be a switch competitor? Of course not, but in announcing a handheld such as this, I expected some sort of ‘x factor’ which would elevate it to become more than the sum of its parts. As of right now, there is nothing of the sorts; rounding out a weak showing of first-party software with an equally soft hardware announcement.

I’ve been dogging on PlayStation quite a lot here but I would just like to reiterate the fact that on a semi-objective basis the showcase was a good one, featuring dozens of games – many of which included gameplay. We got new announcements, and a boatload of indies; each looking better than the last. On the 3rd-party front Sony did what they have been doing best, but it was the first-party showings surprisingly which disappointed.

Perhaps Sony jumped the gun a bit on its live-service push, wanting to impress shareholders with the sheer number of projects in the works which are designed to make the company more money on a recurring basis. Maybe Jim Ryan bumped his head and decided to 180 PlayStation’s whole deal. I’m not sure what compelled the company to host the showcase in the way that they did but it clearly did not work. All we can hope now is that another Showcase is on its way soon – and that it makes this one look like a State of Play.

Discuss on our Facebook page HERE.

KitGuru says: What did you think of the Showcase? What was your favourite announcement? And your least favourite? Let us know down below.

Become a Patron!

Check Also

Valve isn’t planning to release a Steam Deck 2 for two more years at least

It has been about a year and a half since the Steam Deck launched but …