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Talking Point: Why the PS4 Is Well Set for Success

Posted by Sammy Barker

Perfect position

It’s amazing the difference that a generation makes. Sony sauntered into the PlayStation 3 era with an industry leading brand, lofty ambitions, and its eye off the ball. An embarrassing price tag, awkward architecture, and out-of-touch board of directors consigned the platform to third-place in the console race for much of its lifespan – a trait that could only be reversed by the management magic of soon-to-be CEO and lifelong Ridge Racer aficionado Kaz Hirai. Those were undoubtedly dark days for the Japanese giant’s gaming division, but it feels like the company’s learned from its mistakes.

Contrast the above to the current situation surrounding the PlayStation 4 and it couldn’t be further away from the struggles of 2006. The system has smashed sales records around the world, moving an unprecedented one million units within 24 hours in North America and a gigantic 250,000 units in the UK. Its current global install base sits in the region of 2.1 million units, with Asia still yet to secure the system and demand completely unsatisfied around the world. But while the figures are reassuring in an era where analysts are pessimistic about the prospects of dedicated gaming devices, the system itself also paints a positive picture of the future.

Despite arriving a year late, the PS3 deployed in a bit of state compared to the Xbox 360. The console lacked the powerful connectivity features of its counterpart, and shipped without a unified achievements system, software-based storefront, and even the means to access the XMB inside a game. Countless firmware updates rectified many of these problems over time, but it took the device several years to attain anything close to parity with Microsoft’s machine, and even then a complete lack of forethought meant that requested features such as cross-game chat never got implemented.

Compare all of that to the PS4, though, and Sony’s system looks much better placed. The next generation console’s user interface may be basic, but it’s efficient and allows easy access to key features out-of-the-box. Granted, there are irritations inherent to the lack of organisation options and the clunky download management module, but that these are even primary complaints evidences the progress that the platform holder has made in the operating system space. In fact, it’s the Xbox One that appears to have the more pressing problems when it comes to system software.

That constant game of catch-up really hurt the Japanese giant’s previous platform, but with such a strong foundation to build from on this occasion, the future looks bright for the format’s firmware team. Rather than implement missing features already available in the competition’s machine, it will now be able to spend more time expanding upon the excellent social features that are already built into the hardware. And with a much slicker patching protocol, it’ll be able to roll out these updates without the social network jeers that accompanied virtually every PS3 fix.

Of course, the firm may have gotten away with the delays and system software mishaps that plagued its previous platform if it was able to demonstrate a sizeable step forward from the competition – but the unnecessarily complex nature of the CELL architecture culminated in little more than software delays and poor ports. Key titles such as BioShock didn’t arrive on the device until a year after their original release, while other banner multiformat games like Grand Theft Auto IV shipped with crippling performance issues.

A more accessible architecture and powerful under-the-hood performance has enabled Sony to eschew this problem with the PS4, however, resulting in a number of next generation titles running better on the Japanese giant’s system than on the Xbox One. Regardless of whether you’re able to spot these differences or not, the fact that the console is already commanding an advantage over its closest competitor bodes well for the performance of third-party titles moving forwards – and it means that lead architect Mark Cerny’s super machine is likely to assume the coveted role of lead platform in most development environments.

The software situation is also much stronger this time around. Sony Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida may have caught some slack for the delays to DriveClub and inFAMOUS: Second Son, but now the manufacturer is emerging from a record breaking launch window with two big exclusives in the pipeline. It took years for the PS3 to build up a compelling library of titles, but the spread of software appears to be much better managed on the firm’s next generation console. The recently announced MLB 14: The Show will add to the roster, while The Order: 1886 and Uncharted PS4 are presumably not too far away either.

Moreover, unlike the PS3, the manufacturer has its blossoming indie relationships to lean on. There’s no doubt that Microsoft will catch up in this area over time, but during the slow months leading into next Christmas, timed exclusives such as Octodad: Dadliest Catch and Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number are going to keep the console feeling fresh while big blockbusters like Destiny and Watch Dogs amble onto store shelves.

Of course, none of this means that Sony should take its foot off the gas. We’re still very much in the early stages of the next generation, and the more meaningful skirmishes will take place over the coming years. With a couple of record breaking releases in its rear view mirror, though, it’s hard to ignore the positive position that the PS4 currently occupies. Granted, there may be plenty of work ahead, but the Japanese giant’s next generation console is off to a staggeringly strong start.


Do you agree that Sony has laid some promising foundations to build upon, or do you think that we’ve been drinking the new console Kool-Aid? What areas do you think that the platform holder needs to focus on in order to maintain its headstart, or are you happy with how the next twelve months are shaping up? Wax lyrical in the comments section below.

Do you agree that the PS4’s immediate future is looking bright? (49 votes)

Yes, I’m excited to see how the system matures over the coming months

88%

Hmm, I want to wait and see what’s in store first

10%

No, I’m not especially impressed with the hardware or upcoming software

  2%

Please login to vote in this poll.

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User Comments (15)

Epic

#1

Epic said:

I agree, the PS4 launch line up may have been weak but the future is just to damn awesome to be truth, Infamous Second Son, The Last Guardian, Watch Dogs, The Order 1889 and even more suprises along the way.

Bliquid

#2

Bliquid said:

I see a bright, steady future ahead.
For me, PS4 is lacking only in games i care for, and they'll arrive eventually.
And if they keep lineups like the late PS3 has, well, greatness awaits.

get2sammybAdmin

#3

get2sammyb said:

@Epic For me, the "weak" launch lineup is going to become a positive very soon. New games are dropping weekly through until Christmas with stuff like Flow, Doki-Doki Universe, and Zen Pinball 2 giving new people to play. Then there's DriveClub, inFAMOUS, and MLB in the New Year, alongside all of the indie stuff. Furthermore, the fact that Sony has hardly announced any games from its first-party teams — which we know are working on stuff — means that it can keep getting people hyped. Microsoft has already announced stuff like Halo and Quantum Break, so their impact won't quite be the same.

I don't think this system is going to suffer from much of a drought at all.

TasukiStaff

#4

Tasuki said:

I have to say I am lovin my PS4 and I am really glad I picked one up. Sony didn't make me feel like I needed a PS3 honestly, and then with that price tag that even made it more so. I think that at the time Sony thought they were unstoppable cause of their success with the PS2. I think by the time they learned that lesson it was too late in the PS3's lifespan to fix it. Its nice to see that they got back on track with the PS4. I am looking forward to the future of the PS4 especially with all the info that's been coming out with Gaikai. I can honestly say I am looking forward to what Sony is doing this gen where as last gen I really didn't care.

PMasterTy9

#5

PMasterTy9 said:

I am loving my PS4 and my recently purchased Vita as well. I think the PS4 is going to be very successful and the future is bright. I don't feel that the launch lineup has been weak so far. I am enjoying the games that are currently out and I have not been bored or disappointed with anything so far. Sure, some games could be better and some are not perfect but that is normal. With games like Infamous, Drive Club, and other indie games coming out in the coming months I think we will be satisfied until Destiny and Watch Dogs come out. By that time we should have more news and more announcements on upcoming games and features like Gaikai.

Morenoj1220

#6

Morenoj1220 said:

I purchase both xbone and ps4 I can honestly say that ps4 is way better in every way possible. People make a big deal that sony went after indie games for there launch and xbone has more exclusive AAA titles. I rather have every single indie games that sony has than xbone exclusive titles there better and fun to play can't forget about F2P games which xbone doesn't have. Sony has much more to offer for 1st party exclusive I love what's sony is doing and taking there time in announcing them there still over 6 more exclusive studios that hasn't been announced. Sony will most deff win this generation.

belmont

#7

belmont said:

Seems that PS4 will not suffer the drought that Vita and the Wii U suffered after launch.

Well read article. I also think that the price of the machine will help in the success. ~ 400 euros may be somewhat high due to how the economy is nowadays but it is still cheaper than X1 and cheaper that other pieces of tech like ipad etc. And if someone is already a plus subscriber from PS3 then he/she will have free games to play in the period he/she saves to buy more retail games.

odd69

#8

odd69 said:

Just think of how more the ps4 will sell once everything settles

Subie98

#9

Subie98 said:

I want to see how its doing after another 9 months. Im glad to hear its doing well all the time. I think its probably going to keep doing well. However things happen and I want to make sure before Im committed.

Gamer83

#10

Gamer83 said:

I'm not sure yet how successful the PS4 will be in the long run but I'd like to think it does indeed have a bright future given that it has terrific hardware, the best controller ever designed, a more than fair price for what it offers and, barring any delays, a tremendous lineup for 2014 and if the console takes off the library will expand and become stronger and more diverse as the years go by. As big a PlayStation fan as I am, there's no denying that the PS3 was quite the joke when it launched in 2006 and it took until 2009 before it came into its own. Sony did such a great job with the turnaround, however, that the PS3 went from easily my least-used console from the time I bought it in summer 2007 through the end of 2008 to easily my most-used, and favorite, console from mid-2009 to the end of the generation. Given how much better PS4 is at launch than PS3 was, both in how it's designed and its software library, it should mean great things for the future. We'll see how it all plays out.

divinelite

#11

divinelite said:

Don't count Asia too much btw
We have to pay much higher than anywhere in the world, except hongkong
Fellow Asia must pay 550$ to 700$ (my country Indonesia has official price of 700$)

RisefromAshes

#12

RisefromAshes said:

Sony have listened to the gamers and delivered.

They are now reaping the rewards.

Simple.

You listen and act.

Can't say the same for Microsoft.

charlesnarles

#13

charlesnarles said:

I'm glad I paid $600 for 3 and in heaven about paying only $400 this gen. I liked ps3 a lot, despite its obnoxiousness. PS1 tested polygons and PS2 perfected it, where PS3 tested HD and PS4 will perfect it. The software will come in droves once driveclub and stuff get the ball rolling. By next year we'll be playing many different amazing finally-actually-next-gen games yay

sinalefa

#15

sinalefa said:

I will stick to my PS3 for the time being. Depending on the games that are released during these next two years, then I may feel comfortable enough to upgrade.

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