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PlayStation has a big year ahead of it with blockbuster releases

PlayStation's game lineup is as strong as ever — but stumbling blocks loom large.

A new year means new opportunities and new head-scratching decisions in the gaming industry, with one of the biggest players being Sony and its gaming division at PlayStation. While PlayStation had a somewhat quiet 2021, it was by no means boring, releasing a handful of titles while investing in new teams for PlayStation Studios.

With the PS5 entering its second year on the market, more games are on the way, in addition to exciting new tech and absolutely massive industry shakeups. There's a lot to go over, so let's take a look at what to expect from PlayStation in 2022.

Back to back blockbuster releases — and what's next

Sony isn't waiting far into the year to launch some big games. Guerrilla Games' Horizon Forbidden West is slated to arrive on Feb. 18, 2022. Hot on its heels is Polyphony Digital's Gran Turismo 7, a racing title that'll be out on March 4. Meanwhile, Sony Santa Monica's God of War Ragnarok doesn't have a release date but having been delayed out of 2021, it seems like a safe, secure bet that it arrives at some point this year.

Still, regardless of where Ragnarok falls (barring an incredibly unlikely delay to 2023) it's sure to complete a trifecta of well-reviewed, top-selling games. Horizon Zero Dawn and God of War 2018 have sold over 10 million and 19 million copies, respectively, before arriving on PC, and there's no reason the sequels should be any different.

Moving outside Sony's first-party, there's a couple of big timed console exclusives that add to the upcoming PlayStation rollout.

Forspoken from Square Enix is slated for May, while Tango Gameworks' Ghostwire Tokyo has a window of sometime early in the year. Final Fantasy 16 is the real question mark, but after a long delay in 2021 there'll be a huge rollout of information soon. Game development is hard at the best of times and with the world continuing to be so far from the best of times, if this mainline entry in the long-running franchise needs more time, a delay to early 2023 wouldn't be surprising.

No matter if Final Fantasy 16 makes this year or not, it's an impressive slate of software. But are there any yet-unannounced titles that could make the cut for 2022? I'm inclined to say no, with one big exception. The still-unrevealed remake of The Last of Us is reportedly nearly done, and if Sony wanted to synergize with the upcoming The Last of Us HBO Show from PlayStation Productions, a dropping it alongside the show later in the year would work quite well.

While these are the games that can or should arrive in 2022, I expect Sony to talk more about what's ahead in the years to come. Over the last few years, Sony had adopted a "we'll talk when we want to" strategy, choosing to share updates on first-party games and other developments when its ready, instead of fighting to stay in the week-to-week news cycle that dominates social media. That's worked well but at some point this year, we do need to see a few reveals.

Obviously not everything has to be shown, especially with the company stepping into VR (more on that below) but extenuating circumstances do require PlayStation to have a clear plan for the road ahead.

It's PS VR2's time to shine — but at what cost?

Sony shared more information on PlayStation VR2 at CES 2022 and outside of its aforementioned big titles, I expect this next-generation of VR gaming to be the company's main focus. Bringing in first-party games like Horizon Call of the Mountain is a great way to leverage Sony's IP, but more will be needed. Partnerships could bring in titles like a VR version of Resident Evil Village or Valve's Half-Life Alyx.

Even with chip shortages continuing, the more limited, hardcore appeal of PS VR2 means its totally viable Sony could launch its new VR sometime in late 2022. The launch slate aside, there's a few key questions the company needs to answer. Will there be backward compatibility with the library of original PSVR games? How much will the controllers and headset itself cost? It's an exciting proposition but one that needs clarity.

The Activision-sized elephant in the room

There's no way around it, Microsoft's plan to acquire Activision Blizzard is massive, on a level I still can't quite comprehend. It's easily the biggest shakeup in gaming in the last several years. For almost $70 billion, Xbox will gain control of franchises like Call of Duty, Diablo, World of Warcraft, and more. It'll take some time for the deal to go through, meaning this won't directly affect PlayStation in 2022. After that however, there's a potential issue.

Right now, Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer has expressed a desire to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation, though we'll have to see how that pans out. Worst-case scenario, losing Call of Duty is big blow to Sony's revenue, but it's worth noting that Sony still has multiple free-to-play titles on its system that'll rake in revenue, including Genshin Impact and Call of Duty: Warzone, the latter of which definitely won't be pulled from the platform no matter what, in line with Microsoft's past acquisitions.

Sony's not in trouble, but it needs to make its strategy crystal clear, or it will have a problem.

The idea Sony can just "answer" Microsoft by making a similar purchase isn't realistic, but neither is just sitting still. Sony moved more quickly in buying teams in 2021 than in the past, and I'd expect this to continue, with the company shoring up additional support and VR studios to make game development in the years ahead as smooth as possible. Sony can't just snap its fingers and replace lost third-party franchises, but it can ensure its own massive games come out without hiccups due to a lack of internal support or limited resources.

Then there's Spartacus, the rumored competitor to Xbox Game Pass. Whatever the exact plan is around this service, the value offering will need to be high. Maybe Sony will to start experimenting with some games that launch day one into the service, including smaller first-party titles? I'd also expect PC ports of games to arrive much quicker, speeding up the revenue these not-inexpensive titles can recoup.

Sony's not in trouble, but it needs to make its strategy crystal clear, or it will have a problem.

Launch Edition

Horizon Forbidden West

$70 at Amazon (PS5) $60 at Amazon (PS4) $70 at Best Buy (PS5) $60 at Best Buy (PS4) $70 at GameStop (PS5)

New machines to take down

Aloy is back and better than ever in her next adventure from Guerilla Games. When a plague forces Aloy to journey to the Forbidden West, she'll uncover secrets about both the past and future of the lands.

Source: androidcentral

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