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Blast from the Past: This Time One Year Ago, Sony Promised to Give Us a Glimpse of the Future

Posted by Sammy Barker

Turning back the clock

An old sage once said that time flies when you’re having fun – and the past twelve months have proved that anonymous philosopher right. This time last year, we were sitting in stunned silence staring at a cryptic video clip that promised to give us a glimpse of the “future” on 20th February. Naturally, our instincts jumped straight to the PlayStation 4, but that wasn’t proved correct until SCE president Andrew House officially confirmed the console at the platform holder’s PlayStation Meeting press event almost a month later.

The whole affair was actually rather uncharacteristic for Sony, as leaks had become common for the company during the PlayStation 3 era. Veteran brand fans may recall the firm sneaking the slim iteration of its previous console through the FCC under a pseudonym named the Sand Dollar Enterprise – a move which evidenced just how little faith it had in its ability to keep a secret at the time. But the build up to its next generation announcement couldn’t have gone smoother, with the overconfident organisation even holding a press event for some of its Vita titles on the eve of the abovementioned trailer being released.

Classic Comments

I'm drooling! Did anyone notice the colours of the lightning in the video? They are all PlayStation colours except there is gold instead of pink. Hmmm... - 3Above

Are you sure that it's 1st February and not 1st April? I'm having trouble believing all of this. If it's true then Sony has just turned February into Fabruary! - eliotgballade

After the sloppy start to the PS3 and the Vita's mess of a start, it'll take something monumental to make me want this on day one. 99.9% chance I'll be sticking with what I've got for the next year or two. - rastamadeus

And what a trailer it was. In hindsight, it was just a 45-second clip focusing on electrical currents, sparks, and the PlayStation platform’s famous face buttons, but the video’s crackling sound effects, meaty bass thuds, and subtle synth swirls really hinted at something of importance. Concluding with the aforesaid 20th February date, it would remain the only real correspondence that we’d receive about the event for a couple of weeks, too. The manufacturer eventually started a countdown to the conference, highlighting the legacy of its place in the hardware space, but the dearth of any real announcements made the build up all the more exciting.

The first trailer hinted at a firm that had shed its arrogance and replaced it with a humble confidence

Of course, it didn’t take long for the speculation to begin. Within minutes of the platform holder dating its briefing, seasoned industry analyst Michael Pachter took to Twitter to confirm that both members of the media and investors had been invited to the event, a characteristic typical of a showing with serious significance. The Wall Street Journal followed up shortly after, stressing that it had learned from “people familiar with the matter” that the Japanese giant would announce its next generation console during the conference.

As a result, we turned our attention to the five pitfalls that the platform holder must avoid with its hypothetical new machine. “Don’t give it a ridiculous price,” we pleaded. The firm responded with a reasonable $399.99. “Ditch proprietary peripherals,” we begged. The organisation answered by keeping its new gizmo relatively open. “Make the hardware more accessible,” we implored. The company reacted with a super simplistic architecture. “Don’t riddle it with firmware updates,” we beseeched. The manufacturer replied with a device that manages itself in standby. “Please eschew the customary software drought,” we stressed. Yeah, about that one...

In truth, with a trickle of titles due over the coming weeks, you could argue that the PlayStation maker avoided that issue, too. And at the time, that all prompted us to ponder whether the brand’s best ever year could be ahead of us. “The past may never be as exciting as the future, but for 2013 to truly dominate it will need to topple the birth of the PSone in 1995, the launch of Metal Gear Solid in 1998, and the introduction of the PlayStation 2 in 2000,” an excited editor wrote. “The staggering thing is that, if everything goes according to plan, it's more than attainable. This really could be PlayStation’s greatest ever year.”

Whether or not 2013 actually was the best period for PlayStation will probably be determined further in the future, but there’s no doubt that the initial announcement of the company’s next generation reveal changed the tide. It caught the entire industry off-guard – including a certain competitor that took an eternity to even respond – and ultimately led to record breaking sales that are still ripping up the rule book as we type. First and foremost, though, it hinted at a firm that had shed its arrogance and replaced it with a humble confidence – a company that, at that moment in time, seemed more than ready to reclaim its throne.


Where were you when Sony deployed its shock PlayStation Meeting trailer? Has the console exceeded your expectations from that night, or fallen short? Reminisce with us in the comments section below.

Has the PS4 lived up to the expectations you had when Sony teased it? (55 votes)

Well, the console has actually surpassed my expectations

58%

It’s more or less what I thought it’d be

38%

Sadly, the system has fallen short of my high hopes for it

  4%

Please login to vote in this poll.

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User Comments (15)

KAPADO

#1

KAPADO said:

It has surpassed my expectations, although I know these titles aren't really what the PS4 is capable of . Exceptions go to killzone's visuals. Now Give me a new my God of War 4 and the next Quantic Dream project...

Gamer83

#2

Gamer83 said:

Definitely did not surpass my expectations, unfortunately. On the plus side I can't say it hasn't meat them. There's some notable exceptions such as NES, SNES, Dreamcast, PS2 and Xbox 360, but for the most part I never expect a great first year. If it's good, I'm happy if it's slightly above average, ok I'll take that. If the third parties do their jobs- unlike Sony's first party teams with the exception of Guerilla and Sucker Punch- PS4 can still have a slightly above average first year. I'll wait until the end of the year before making a full conclusion, right now it's looking like it'll meet my expectations, nothing more, nothing less.

charlesnarles

#3

charlesnarles said:

I'm happy with it tech-wise: 1080 native res, hardly any noticeable pixelations, and the high framerate makes it sooo much easier on the eyes than ps3. I love the controller's ergonomity, stick resistance, and new rumblers (battery could last longer, but still gives a solid 12 hrs of playtime). Downloading gets priority and the wifi card is fast, strong and reliable. And the hdd compresses files to have enough room for 500gb to hold dozens of installs. I literally don't have a complaint as of today : ) I was so excited and I still am!

TasukiStaff

#4

Tasuki said:

I am quite pleased with my PS4 in fact I haven't been this pleased with a console in a long time. Looking forward to what the future holds for this system.

ShogunRokAdmin

#5

ShogunRok said:

It's just about what I thought it'd be, although I still find myself drawn to my PS3 more than I would have imagined after getting a PS4. When it comes down to it, I suppose the games just aren't there in bulk yet. I'm sure by this time next year, that won't be so much of an issue.

sajoey

#6

sajoey said:

I'll be honest, watching that teaser again after all this time, I still got chills.

Reverend_Skeeve

#7

Reverend_Skeeve said:

I'm super happy with my PS4 and it actually surpassed my expectations. Everything is so slick and smooth, even now already, and I'm sure we'll see lots of optimization of the UI (including sorting functionality for content and such) somewhere down the line.

I know the games don't make the machine truly shine yet, but it's a glimpse of what to come. Killzone and TR look beautiful and the higher native res really shows. Also, colors seem to be much more vibrant than on PS3 or the 360.

*phew, sorry.

/happyrant off

KAPADO

#9

KAPADO said:

@ShogunRok didn't we all do the same when the PS3 came out? we all go back to the previous console periodically until things are really rolling

TehPlayerHecz

#10

TehPlayerHecz said:

It has lived up to my expectations. Right now, this is only the beginning but with PS Now and after March, more announcements, more kickass exclusives and third party games, software updates and the release of PS Now. A great year for Sony and PS :D

ShogunRokAdmin

#11

ShogunRok said:

@KAPADO It was different for me as I didn't grab a PS3 at launch. I got mine along with Oblivion, so needless to say I spent hundreds of hours with it right from the start.

Jaz007

#14

Jaz007 said:

It's more or less my expectations, but Second Son hasn't come out either. ;)

divinelite

#15

divinelite said:

@shinl yes wii u has it, so...
anyway one year ago right, even I'm afraid it will go to Vita route, but as we have seen it today, sony managed to do (almost) everything goes right for ps4.

now waiting for last place yet the most valuable place for ps4,... JAPAN

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