Sony has kicked off its PlayStation 5 launch event with a first look at Spider-Man: Miles Morales. The video game centres on the star of the firm’s recent hit movie – Into the Spider-Verse – and briefly showed off some of the new console’s graphics power.
Racing game Grand Turismo 7 and an “enhanced” version of Grand Theft Auto 5 have also been announced. The games machine will compete against Microsoft’s forthcoming Xbox Series X. Sony’s forthcoming console is set to go on sale later this year, seven years after the PS4.
In addition to being able to deliver improved visuals, the new machine also has a customised hard drive that will make it possible to radically reduce load times.
Sony is building a library of launch titles that will only be available on its next-generation machine. This contrasts with Microsoft’s approach, which is to initially release new first-party games on both its current and next-gen consoles.
However, the coronavirus pandemic may pose a challenge to both companies.
Although they have both said that production is on track for winter 2020 releases, it is unclear what level of demand there will be.
“Console gaming has proven to be resilient to economic downturns because it continues to offer good per-hour entertainment value,” Piers Harding-Rolls wrote in a research note for Ampere Analysis.
“Even so, the recession and growing unemployment in key sales territories will undermine adoption – less so at launch [but] more significantly after mid-2021.”
Sony streamed a pre-recorded video rather than a hosted live event because of the virus. The video is being broadcast at 1080p resolution, much lower than the PS5 is capable of.
The PS4 outsold the Xbox One globally by more than a 2:1 margin, but the gap has been much smaller in the UK.
In advance of Thursday night’s event, one industry insider said there were two things he was most excited about.
“The first is the new controller – the adaptive triggers offer deeper and more meaningful feedback for gameplay,” explained Robert Karp, development director at UK developer Codemasters.
“The other is the super-fast loading. On PS5, waiting to get into the action is a thing of the past.”
The new Spider-Man game acts a follow-up to 2018’s action-adventure game based on the Marvel superhero.
But this time round the protagonist is the Afro-Latino teenager Miles Morales rather than Peter Parker. The brief trailer showed him fighting and web-slinging through New York, showing off snow and electricity particle effects that would not have been possible in such detail on the PS4.