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.
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
It’s more or less what I thought it’d be
Sadly, the system has fallen short of my high hopes for it
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