PS5 reveal date was a source of confusion among employees, say insiders
Some of the event participants didn't know the date until it was announced.
Following weeks of rumors that Sony would finally reveal the PS5 sometime in early June, the company has confirmed its next-gen look at "the future of gaming" reveal would take place Thursday, June 4. Some reports from industry insiders indicate the event was shrouded in such secrecy that some developers participating in the showcase didn't even know the exact date until it was publicly announced.
Some of the leading voices in video game journalism that previously reported "early June" as a timeframe for the reveal were Bloomberg's Jason Schreier and Takashi Mochizuki, along with VentureBeat's Jeff Grubb. Shortly after Sony officially announced the reveal on Friday morning, Schreier tweeted, "Sony was so paranoid of leaks (and/or things were so constantly in flux) that at least two developers who will actually be presenting at next week's PS5 event told me they weren't given any date at all."
Sony being "paranoid of leaks" should come as no surprise considering that in early May, crucial plot details from The Last of Us Part II — one of the most anticipated games of the year that also happens to be a Sony exclusive — were leaked to the public by hackers "not affiliated with Sony Interactive Entertainment or [the game's developer] Naughty Dog."
At the time, Schreier himself noted that "with everyone working from home, video game builds are far less secure than they would be if they could only be played in the office." The going assumption is that remote working conditions during the final development phase for The Last of Us Part II caused certain cybersecurity vulnerabilities that made the hack possible.
Particularly because the PS5's official designs have yet to be revealed and production is expected to be ramping up for a release later in the year, we can assume that leaks of any kind are a major concern for Sony right now.
"I expect official reveal of PS5 design is near anyway because ... mass production is starting and that means leak risk of console/console image," Bloomberg's Takashi Mochizuki wrote on Twitter May 28, sharing an article from April 16 revealing Sony's plans to limit PS5 production in its first year. "The virus has already upended Sony’s promotional plans," he wrote in the mid-April article. "The company may forgo hosting a public press conference for its PS5 release date and price unveiling due to infection fears. Recently, it was forced to reveal its DualSense PS5 controller in a hurried fashion, according to people informed on the matter."
A May 18 report from VentureBeat's Jeff Grubb marked the first credible claim an "early June" reveal would still happen: "The company was originally planning this for June 4, but is moving it around," he wrote. "The exact date is more nebulous now."
At some point, that date reported was changed to June 3 and back again. It suggests some degree of chaos behind the scenes at Sony, which is to be expected in light of the cancellation of E3 and resulting digitization of game reveals. The pandemic has also interrupted the supply chains that are necessary to physically produce consoles.
Sony may have only finalized plans within the last 48 hours, which would be why at least two of the developers expected to participate had no idea until the event was officially scheduled.
All of this doesn't bold ill for the next-gen console, but Sony has to show off a lot for the PS5 if it wants to keep fans happy, particularly when Microsoft has already revealed an impressive array of features for the Xbox Series X.
PlayStation 5 will be released in late 2020.