When Sony releases its PlayStation 4 console this year, it will have a strong, solid product in the marketplace that will bring Sony back to its dominating position as a video game company.
Earlier this week, I published an opinion article expressing my views on why I think Wii U will be a strong contender in the upcoming console hardware generation. But that was only part of the story.
If video gaming has taught us anything, there’s always more than one winner. And so, I present you with a list of reasons why I think PlayStation 4 will be a dominate product in the upcoming gaming arms race.
Third Party Friendly
If Sony have committed to anything with PlayStation 4, it’s that developing for the console will be simple. They’ve done this by using already popular development processes to create a console that just about anyone can pick up and whip out a game for with minimal effort.
Sure, the increase in processing power will undoubtably increase development costs, however since the barrier of entry when it comes to working with the system is far lower than PlayStation 3, developers will be free to create whatever game they like without having to worry about sticky taping hyper-realistic graphics over MacGyvered code.
What this means is that developers will have no excuse, there will be plenty of new and exciting experiences on PlayStation 4.
PlayStation 4 is also about satisfying indie developers. Sure, the above point preludes this but Sony are taking lengths to ensure indie developers not only get their development kits, but can launch their games on the system with a full bevy of support.
I don’t feel that indie games are the “be-all, end-all” of the video game industry; there is plenty of merit of having big budget blockbuster titles. However, indie developers are great because they are uninhibited by unrealistic release dates and marketing budgets. They can take five years to develop a game before they even talk about it publicly.
This generally tends to result in more creative, more inventive experiences but on a much smaller scale than big budget, published titles.
And this is why PlayStation 4 is innovative compared to other systems. Sony know there’s raw power there ready to be wielded, but they’re not forcing it down the throats of small time developers. More importantly, they are not penalising smaller developers by having a highly visible online store and enabling cross-platform buying.
Mainstream Media Support
Why bother spending millions of dollars in advertising if the mainstream gaming media are already behind your product and telling fans to buy it?
This is the advantage PlayStation 4 has over a console like Wii U. Sony have taken strides to achieve this, of course: editors only write content the readers want to read, and if Sony are showing very Western-audience friendly titles like Killzone: Shadow Fall, they’re beefing up that demand for content.
There are plenty examples of how PlayStation 4 has gotten the bigger end of the stick in the mainstream media compared to Wii U. One that readily comes to mind was the general forgiveness handed to Sony for announcing PlayStation 4 without actually showing the console at the event. In contrast, Nintendo clearly showed the Wii U at their announcement event several times though the media chose to simply pretend it wasn’t there.
Don’t get me wrong, though. Despite my personal feelings about how the gaming media should conduct itself, generating more discussion on any video game console is a fantastic thing for the industry. The more we can debate issues and put video gaming out there as a credible use for our free time, the more people can invest in the industry and make it a better place.
PlayStation 4 does not have the uphill battle Wii U had when it comes to widespread acceptance. The console is already getting good reports and lots of media attention. When it launches, Sony wont have to worry too much about disaster control and can focus their efforts on communicating the true benefits of owning the console.
One of the best decisions Sony made with PlayStation 4 was to keep the console conservative.
Sure, we all want and even demand something new but we should face the fact that we don’t really want to invest in something that’s too different. We’re happier to upgrade than we are taking a stab in the dark at a wondrous new technology.
PlayStation 4 is different enough so that everyone can understand it’s new, but similar enough to ensure we’re comfortable with purchasing the upgrade. The controller might have a touch panel on the front but it largely look like a PlayStation controller.
Assuming the actual PlayStation 4 console isn’t in the shape of an hourglass, PlayStation 4 appears to be a console we can all envision owning and setting up next to our existing home theatre components.
This conservative design philosophy has moved into software, too. The User Interface of PlayStation 4, from what we’ve already seen, does not look vastly different to the PlayStation 3 yet it manages to make navigation appear even simpler.
The one thing humans love more than change is to have things stay exactly the same. PlayStation 4 achieves this conundrum with style and careful thought, and I think that sends a positive message to potential customers.
More than Just Games
Sony have made it clear they are trying to secure exclusive distribution of Ultra High Definition (UHD) content via their UHD television sets and they would be crazy to pass up the opportunity that PlayStation 4 offers in this space.
While UHD isn’t a market at the moment PlayStation 4 will see another five to seven years of technology evolution and assuming its ready to meet the innovations of tomorrow, having that ability to distribute UHD content to all kinds of TV sets is a surefire win.
Of course, high definition movie streaming and high quality music servies will always be selling points for PlayStation 4. How Sony will continue to evolve their console over the next few years will really set it apart from the competition, if done correctly.
Sony’s entire company is about leveraging good ideas and spreading them out to as many different products as they can. This will be the hallmark of PlayStation 4 and will cement it as a number one console in the upcoming hardware generation.
As you can see, like Wii U there are many positive reasons why PlayStation 4 will take top crown in the upcoming generation war.
Both consoles are top notch pieces of kit, each with their own sets of benefits and drawbacks. As mentioned earlier, I do believe there’s enough room at the top for both consoles, especially when we’re seeing this level of quality and dedication from the manufacturers.
But what do you think? Is PlayStation 4 going to win the console war? Or will it go the way of PlayStation 3 and sluggishly pursue the goal to the bitter end?