It was one year today (February 20th 2013) that the PlayStation 4 was unveiled at a Sony Press Conference in the US. And ever since that day, the console has changed the face of gaming as we know it. It’s certainly been an interesting year, so thought I’d do a run down of the last 12 months.
When the invites for the conference went out, we all knew what was about to happen. The months of rumours, speculation and leaks would all be put to an end. And we would finally get a glimpse at the future of the PlayStation. We finally got confirmation that the console was coming (duh). To add to that we also got a sneak peak at upcoming titles for the platform and gasp at the next-gen sexy footage. Importantly we got some insight from it’s creators and developers about the power and simplicity of the console, we knew that it would be a gaming focused peice of hardware. Even with all juicy info, we didn’t get to see what we all came for, the box itself! It was a cheeky bit of PR genious which seemed to overshadow the lack of info about an acual release date.
The months after
The months and weeks after lead to lots of speculation; Pricing, the release date, peripherals and how the box would look where debated the world over. As somebody lucky enough to be on the inside, these months were hell. Friends screaming at me for info was a regular occourance with patience not being a option, do gamers even have any? 😀 The hype was obviously huge at this point and with Sony mainly keeping quiet, it meant anticipation for the years biggest gaming event was even higher than usual.
Before that gaming event, Microsoft staged it’s own event. It was the to be the unvealing of thier new console, the Xbox One. With this annoucement, it was plain to see that they were aiming for something quite different. The console was to be an entertainment centre for the living room and be the hub with which you interact with your TV and services, along with being your go to box for gaming. We saw a few games coming out, along with the odd teaser or two. But overall the confernce was based on the consoles wide range of entertainment features, which left some gamers feeling alienated by the event as a whole. The US focused features also lead to a backlash and the less said about the “Always on” scenario the better. But even so, just seeing the console itself lead to a large amount of excitement for gamers.
The console war offcially began in June 2013. We knew both Microsoft and Sony would need to use the event to win gamers to their cause. Sony dropped a host of more announcements, we got more in-depth looks at upcoming PS4 games and learned more about it’s features and connectivy to the PS Vita. However Sony dropped a few bomb shells which has lead to some people stating this was the greatest E3 of all time. Always on-line wouldn’t be implented, disc sharing was welcomed, a release date, an applauded price and finally an unveiling of the actual unit (which could be purchased without the camera) meant this just might have been the greatest E3, atleast for Sony. While for Microsoft it seemed like a PR nightmare and became the starting point for a host of back tracking measures in an attempt to win back favour.
November 29th seemed to come at a snails pace. But the months and weeks leading upto the launch had the PS4 at an unparalled high. Previews and reviews of the consoles software and hardware proved that console had bettered the often difficult PS3 in pretty much everyway. Sony seemed to have listened. The earlier release of the Xbox One didn’t put that much of a dent into the overall excitement. And with Sony annoucning that they would be putting a fair few pounds into the marketing campaign, it was rare to go a day without seeing the console advertised. Some argued that the console lacked a “killer” launch title and with mostly luke warm reviews for key titles such as Knack and Killzone, this had some wondering if it was worth picking one up.
But even so, with the console sitting on 1 million pre-orders it unsuprisingly sold out wordwide and it’s easily seen as one the biggest console launches in history. The only blemish seemed to be a few consoles suffering from start up errors and the odd faulty HDMI port. But sony responded saying, “The number of affected PS4 systems is less than 1%, which represents a very small percentage of total units shipped to date and is within the expected range for a new product introduction.” Sony quickly swooped to replace the faulty consoles at a brisk pace to not allow for any negative publicity from users.
With Sony this week announcing sales figures of 5.3 million for the console, it’s easy to see that the console has had a great start. The second string of first and third party titles are starting to come out and PlayStation Plus has continued to be great value for money, with its offering of included PS4 titles.The console is only hitting Japanese shores this week, Sony ofcourse has a huge domincance there in the home console market, so it’s safe to say sales will probably sky rocket even further.
The continued support of the indie publisher has certainly helped and looks like it will continue for many years to come. The ball certainly seems to be in Sonys court at the moment and seems something pretty substantial would need to happen, to derail the continued love of the system. Microsoft still seem to be struggling in terms of good PR for the Xbox One and the constant confirmation of third party titles running with slightly less polish on the console is not helping, espcecially when you consider how much more the console costs. However with titles like Halo, Gears of War and TitanFall on the horizon the console, it still has what it needs to win over more gamers. The “Console War” for this generation is not close to over (don’t forgot Nintendo) and it still remains to be seen who will come out on top.
Ignoring my obvious bious and talking as a lover of gaming, I feel that the PS4 is not doubt the perfect console for gamers. And I feel that so long as Sony keep this stance of appealing to us and correcting their mistakes made on the PS3, the PS4 might be remembered just as fondly the PS2.