Sony's video game division plans to hold an event on June 4 at 1 p.m. PT / 4 p.m. ET, showing off new titles the company and its partners are preparing for its PlayStation 5 console, due this fall. The event will be streamed over the internet as governments around the world slowly begin reopening their economies amid the pandemic that's infected nearly 6 million people and killed more than 361,000 patients in the past six months.
The event is designed to both announce new games and show gameplay from the new PS5 console, Sony said. It'll last about an hour and is designed to be part of "series of PS5 updates," with more announcements to come before the device's launch. It's also the latest sign of Sony's confidence that its biggest new console launch since 2013's PS4 will happen despite the disruptions the coronavirus has caused to daily life, work and supply chains around the world.
"We remain absolutely on track," PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan said in an interview. "We're going to launch this holiday, we will have a global launch. And where we're greatly looking forward to it. And we very much want the gaming world to look forward to it, too."
Sony's PS5 event comes as the video game industry prepares for two of its biggest new product launches in nearly a decade. Sony's PS5 and Microsoft's Xbox Series X are slated to be released in time for the holiday shopping season, promising sharper and more intricate visuals, faster gameplay and new titles such as Microsoft's Halo Infinite space war epic.
The game console launches come at a complicated time. Governments around the world have pushed citizens to shelter in place, slowing economic activity and shuttering businesses. As a result, more than 40 million people in the US have filed unemployment claims as the country faces one of the worst economic crashes in a century.
In response to the coronavirus, Sony in April announced it would give away copies of its hit adventure games Journey and Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection for free. More than 10 million people downloaded those games, Sony said.
Though neither Sony nor Microsoft have revealed what they'll charge for their respective devices, Ryan said Sony wants to make sure people feel it's fair. "We'll try to get the price right and value proposition right," he said.
Ryan added that Sony's struggled to meet initial demand for previous PlayStation devices when they've launched. That may happen this time too, he said, but it won't be meaningfully worse because of the coronavirus. "Right now, we're not seeing anything saying to us there's going to be problems with quantities or we won't be able to launch the way we want," he said.
The PS5 launch isn't Sony's only big push during the next few months. In June, it'll also release The Last of Us Part II, a post-apocalyptic survival game made by the company for its PS4. And in July, the company will release Ghost of Tsushima, an action-adventure samurai game set in feudal Japan.
Both titles are highly anticipated and are being released after delays following the coronavirus outbreak.
On Wednesday, Sony posted a 23-minute trailer for The Last of Us Part II on the web, discussing its story and showing off gameplay ahead of its release. The trailer came following broad leaks of the game's details on the internet in April, including seeming story spoilers and gameplay.
Despite the drama, Ryan said demand for the game remains strong. In one example, he noted that Sony tallied more preorders in Europe for The Last of Us Part II than it did for Marvel's Spider-Man at the same point before its launch. That 2018 superhero game, which was also a PS4 exclusive, was considered one of the best games of that year.
"We hope this'll be a defining game for this generation," Ryan said of The Last of Us Part II. And though Sony hasn't announced plans to offer a more visually rich version of the game for the PS5 when it launches, Ryan said the version launched in June will run on the PS5 without issue.
Though The Last of Us Part II will launch in June, the company's June 4 event will focus on "games you'll be playing after PlayStation 5 launches this holiday," Sony said.