PlayStation knows how to do it big. As one of the major players of the console game market, they’ve got a huge reputation to live up to, and they do it on the regular, selling an air of prestige gaming.
While the PS5 was particularly elusive at the start of its life cycle, that’s starting to change- Sony Interactive Entertainment announced an uptick in production for the console, and now it’s more readily available for consumers in Malaysia. They even brought something special to mark the occasion- an art installation for Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, right here in Lot 10 in KL.
Live From PS5
Warwick Light, VP of Channel Sales Asia-Pacific Region for PlayStation says these installations are important for PlayStation, since they present a way to bring the game world that much closer to ours.
“I think PlayStation is known for being fun and creative”, Warwick says. “Our fans have never been more engaged than what we’re seeing now with PS5. It’s important to us that those fans feel proud to be part of the PlayStation community “.
“These sort of large scale activations are a way that we could bring PlayStation to life. People can see and engage with something 3 dimensional, and I think what the installation does is to create a real genuine curiosity and they stimulate conversation with gamers and non-gamers. Which is really great”, he adds.
But why Malaysia next? It’s simple- Malaysians just love PlayStation. Despite the region being largely focused on mobile games and casual experiences, the PlayStation ecosystem does a good job of propping up the home console market, particularly with titles like Call of Duty and the FIFA games and exclusives like God of War.
“We’ve proved the reception PS5 has had in Malaysia, and we’re excited to celebrate that with this installation. It’s not the first time we’ve done something like this in Malaysia, and I can promise you it won’t be the last”, he says.
He says these are all part of the Live From PS5 brand- which saw things like giant PS5 console installation in Dubai as well as a giant Leviathan Axe in London and Seoul.
“At the moment, at PlayStation we’re excited to invite a lot more players around the world to join our community. And that activation is directly linked to our new campaign called Live from PS5, which was inspired by some of the biggest games available on PS that will become fan-favorites, thing like: Marvel’s Spider-Man, Horizon Forbidden West, God of War: Ragnarok, Gran Turismo 7″, Warwick explains.
“This sort of premise behind [the installations] takes you inside some of these game worlds where there’s sort of a breaking news spin to it. And the news items describing some of the extraordinary events taking place that are being linked to an increase of activity on PS5”, he says. “We’ve chosen, especially for Malaysia, Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 for the installation and that’s to emphasize that this game is coming exclusively to the PS5 later this year”.
“We’re obviously very pleased with how PS5 has been resonating with our players and demand is continuing to grow stronger and stronger. And look, I love to use this opportunity if you don’t mind to really thank our fans in Malaysia for the passionate support that they’ve given us since launch in 2020”, he says.
This current #LiveFromPS5 is a loud-and-proud way of showing that- it’s PlayStation not only a love letter to fans in Malaysia, but also a reminder that it’s easier than ever now to buy a PS5.
Escaping Into Virtual Reality
It’s set to be a pretty big year for PlayStation- aside from the ramped up production of the PS5, this year also saw the launch of PS VR2- the successor to PlayStation’s original VR headset. While there’s no doubt that the PS VR2 is an impressive piece of tech, it’s got one particular hurdle: The SEA region is notorious for preferring compactness, something a space-requiring VR headset just won’t comply with.
However, Warwick argues that while that trend holds true, that doesn’t speak for all APAC gamers. The ones who do get a PS VR2 end up quite liking it.
“What’s coming across is how much people love the Sense controllers [and] how comfortable they are, the haptic feedback is great, the adaptive triggers are really immersing people into the gameplay”, he says.
This isn’t empty market-speak either. Warwick shared his experience playing Horizon: Call of the Mountain:
But I think what people want to know is what’s it really like? All I can tell you is my own experience having recently played Horizon Call of the Mountain, which first of all is visually stunning, and there’s a scene where you’re in a canoe drifting down a river and looking at breathtakingly clear water.
And I leaned over and dipped my hand into the water to which sort of immediately interactively left a water trail.
And also during a climbing scene it was so real. You know that sort of sensation you get in your stomach when you’re up high and you look down, and you sort of get that sense of “Woah, I shouldn’t be up this high”. I actually had that feeling, it’s that real. It’s pretty cool but yeah, I agree with you,there’s nothing quite like playing it.
“Horizon Call of the Mountain was great, we got some thirty games coming in the launch window, and there’s around 100 more in development, so there’s plenty of exciting experiences to come”, he promises.
In The Business Of Play
When talking about regional differences, Warwick gives off the impression of someone who believes in the spirit of the games industry. That is to say, people already have their favorite games, and it’s about giving people a chance to play them on PlayStation.
“Well truthfully, we’re lucky at PlayStation to have equally passionate fans no matter where we are in the world, and that’s something we never take for granted”, he says. “But, I have observed differences in game popularity from region to region. And I think in Southeast Asia for example, games like Monster Hunter, Final Fantasy, and Genshin Impact have got a stronger audience and fanbase there”.
Warwick also reflected on his time with PlayStation- he was part of the effort to launch the original PlayStation in New Zealand, and in the years since has seen the PlayStation brand grow with every new console generation.
“The thing I love about PlayStation is how we’ve continuously pushed the boundaries of play over the years”, he explains. “We’re there for our players, continuously innovating and evolving gaming to make PlayStation more exciting and more immersive. The console generations are a great example of that”.
“We’re relentless in the pursuit of fulfilling the dreams of our players, and we’re super proud of how each of those console releases have shaped the entertainment space over the years”, Warwick continues, referring to innovations like the VR2, DualSense Edge and Project Leonardo accessibility controller.
However, there’s one innovation that isn’t driven by technology- more and more of PlayStation’s first-party titles have been creeping into the mainstream with TV shows like The Last of Us or movies like Uncharted.
“I guess one of the things that I’m proud of is how some of PlayStation Studios’’ most famous franchises are now becoming part of popular culture beyond gaming”, he explains. “We’re talking about the Uncharted movie, The Last of Us becoming an HBO series, and the Gran Turismo movie. I’ve just watched the sneak peek trailer the other day, and of course it looks and sounds absolutely amazing. That’s just been fantastic to watch the generations”.
Contrary to popular belief, this wasn’t about games being “legitimized” by TV. Instead, Warwick’s explanation painted a more appreciative tone for the work developers do- one that says more along the lines of games having TV-worthy stories as just one of the many moving parts in them.
“I think the thing that people love about gaming is that it subsumes other forms of media, right?”, he asks. “What I mean by that is, games are like books, there’s great stories that they tell. They’re like movies, the cutscenes that you get, the cinematography in them in those scenes are amazing. The music that you get are like albums, quality and the soundtracks of movies”.
“So they [games] subsume all these forms of media, yet what’s amazing about them is they allow you to explore your possibility space”, he says. “And that’s what it is to be human as we’re constantly exploring our possibility space and everything that we do every day. And to be able to have an entertainment medium that subsumes those other things but allows that to happen is quite amazing. Every generation improves on that, I think. So I’m always passionate to be able to bring an even more immersive experience to the player”.
Coming To Malaysia
When we were done talking shop, we also got to ask Warwick about what he thinks about Malaysia on a personal level. To no one’s surprise, he quite enjoyed the time he’d spent here, visiting Penang, Langkawi and KL.
“Penang was really interesting as the city’s town planner Francis Light, actually shares my last name. And it was interesting walking around Georgetown and seeing a few things that are named after him, so I quite enjoyed that”, he said.
But what of the food?
“I also have to confess that I got hooked on Nasi Lemak when I was there. And it’s essentially quite hard to find that in London, but it’s great for me now living in Singapore where it’s obviously available everywhere there”, Warwick says. “I like it with either fish or chicken, and not too spicy. But yeah, I’m a big coconut fan, so I love it”.
“I’m hoping to get to Malaysia in May. Because I’m hearing our studio in Malaysia is doing a real cracking job at supporting PlayStation Studios globally, and I’m really keen on getting out there and meeting the team there”, he notes.
Between PlayStation Studios Malaysia and the HQ in Singapore, it’s no surprise that PlayStation as a brand has its eyes set on South East Asia. Like Warwick said, the PS5 should be less of a unicorn hunt now, with more units made available for purchase for fans who’ve yet to upgrade for next gen. For fans of Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, don’t forget to check out the art installation in Lot10, and stay tuned for a very special contest from us.