October and November are typically the biggest months for game releases, with Call of Duty, Battlefield, Fallout 4, and more heavy hitters released in years past. PlayStation has largely missed on the fall timeframe for its big games since the PS4’s release. This year is no different, aside from one huge caveat: PlayStation VR releases this month, and it is a huge console exclusive experience. Sony doesn’t have just one or two blockbuster games: It has a wholly new console experience that is unavailable anywhere else (on console).
Outside of the PS4’s launch, Sony has missed on big fall exclusives due primarily to delays. The Order 1886 got pushed back in 2014 to a February 2015 release. Uncharted 4 was a casualty the following year. This fall, Horizon: Zero Dawn was pushed into 2017, as was GT Sport. The long-delayed Last Guardian recently received another minor delay back to December — after the all-important Black Friday shopping day — and even Gravity Rush 2 has now been delayed into January 2017.
Despite these issues with fall exclusives, the PS4 has been rollicking right along and outselling the competition in most months. Some of the top games on the system are available only on PS4 — Uncharted 4, Bloodborne and Transistor each come to mind as personal favorites, released at different times of the year. Even so, I understand some gamers’ frustration and confusion, especially during a fall season when Xbox One can boast two blockbusters in Forza Horizon 3 and Gears of War 4, and Nintendo released the well-reviewed Paper Mario: Color Splash on its dying Wii U.
I contend that these gamers are missing the mark. Sony has a colossal fall exclusive: PlayStation VR. Everything else — aside from the Tomb Raider sequel — has been moved far away from the new hardware. In looking for a giant traditional game, we’ve missed the elephant in the room, wearing virtual reality goggles.
PSVR officially releases to the masses on October 13, and reviews for the new system and its games have begun to pop up. The unit itself is receiving very positive reviews. It provides a great virtual reality experience at a relatively budget price — and this fact means that it also comes with a few issues. But people are positive and excited about it.
The games themselves are also getting good-to-great reviews, with a few stinkers thrown in. Superhypercube and Thumper appear to stand out so far, with many yet-to-be-reviewed. The system itself comes with an 18-game demo disk, so new owners can try the experiences before they buy.
Virtual reality isn’t for everybody. I’m not sure that it’s even for me. I want to try it sometime to see what my body’s reaction will be. I’m afraid it will make me sick. I also don’t have $400-plus to drop on a new console this fall, and neither do I have the time for it. Additionally, I’ll soon have three children under the age of 8 in the house. PSVR is recommended for gamers 12 and up. I want gaming experiences I can share with my children.
But I am excited about it in general. I’m excited to see what others’ experiences are. Kyle, here at PSVG, is getting a unit on day one. I’m sure we’ll have his impressions.
The point is: PSVR is PlayStation’s big exclusive this fall. It isn’t going to satisfy everybody, including me. But not every game has to — God of War isn’t going to check all of the boxes, either. Nor will The Last Guardian. The hope that I have for this fall’s big release is that it will be successful and influence future hardware and software development, much in the way that Mario 64 influenced every 3D platformer that came after it.