With the PlayStation 4 now mere months away, it’s becoming increasingly obvious that its predecessor is not simply going to step aside. Sony has always done a stellar job of supporting its systems throughout the entirety of their ten year lifecycles, but it appears that it’s going to have a helping hand from third-parties this time around. Recent announcements have demonstrated that publishers are eager to mitigate the risk associated with the switch to new hardware by releasing their wares on existing machines too. But is the cunning strategy impacting your excitement for the impending platform?
Of the handful of titles confirmed for the PS4 thus far, many will also launch on existing systems. Bethesda’s recently revealed Wolfenstein: The New Order is the latest experience to prescribe to this trend, with the first-person shooter planned for the PlayStation 3 and next generation hardware. It’s in good company, too – Call of Duty: Ghosts, Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, Destiny, and The Evil Within will all follow a similar philosophy. In fact, it’s easier to list the titles that are legitimately exclusive to the upcoming console, with the likes of Killzone: Shadow Fall, DriveClub, and inFAMOUS: Second Son representing the few games that are not netting a PS3 counterpart.
Even Sony itself is struggling to eschew the strategy. The manufacturer’s latest batch of indie titles – spanning Hohokum and Doki-Doki Universe – are planned for the PS3, PS4, and Vita. It seems that the lure of its current system’s enormous install base is proving too much for the company to overlook. But what impact will the ongoing relevance of existing hardware have on the next generation, and shouldn't the platform holder be setting an example to third-parties to turn their attention to the next big thing?
To be fair, cross-generation titles are not necessarily a new phenomenon. The Xbox 360, for example, launched alongside a slew of PlayStation 2 ports, including GUN, Need for Speed: Most Wanted, and Peter Jackson’s King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie. It took a long time for the industry to turn its attention away from existing install bases, and early sales figures suffered as a result. But with the PS3 still pumping out graphically impressive content, could the impact be even more pronounced this time around?
Speaking as part of a video interview designed to promote the PS4 version of Ubisoft’s upcoming Watch Dogs, senior producer Dominic Guay explained that, short of a few graphical bells and whistles, the next generation version of its open world opus will essentially be the same as its PS3 counterpart. “We’re going to have more immersion,” he ambiguously explained. “We’re going to increase connectivity, and we’re going to enhance the density of things. It’s going to basically be the same game experience, but magnified on the PS4.”
Such a statement is somewhat concerning. We’ve no doubt that the next generation version of the hacking simulator will look much better than its PS3 alternative, but is the promise of a higher resolution and a sturdier framerate really going to drive punters to the platform in their droves? Naturally we’ll need to see side-by-side comparisons before we can determine for sure, but if you can obtain a comparable experience on current hardware, then where’s the incentive to upgrade? After all, even if Sony manages to avoid a $599 US dollar-esque blunder with its impending platform, it’s still going to look like an expensive investment next to existing hardware.
The manufacturer will perhaps counter that there’s more to the PS4 than upgraded horsepower. Features such as the vaunted Share button and its more efficient operating system will prove a draw over the PS3, but we’re not entirely convinced that average consumers will be swayed by such incremental upgrades. There’s a small chance that E3 could improve the software landscape for the upcoming platform, but the Las Vegas show is equally likely to bring word of yet more cross-generation releases.
And if that’s the case, we have to question how accepting the mainstream market will be of the PS4. Blockbuster exclusives such as Killzone: Shadow Fall will demonstrate a significant improvement over existing hardware, but with many of the system’s third-party releases available on cheaper platforms, how many gamers outside of the hardcore community will be willing to upgrade?
Are you planning to play cross-generation titles such as Call of Duty: Ghosts and Watch Dogs on the PS4? If so, what’s convinced you to upgrade? Let us know in the comments section and poll below.
Are cross-generation titles affecting your enthusiasm for the PS4? (39 votes)
Yes, I don’t really see the point in upgrading yet
I’m not really sure at the moment
No, I’m still excited for the enhancements that the new console will offer
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