The PlayStation 4, will officially be one year old tomorrow. And I will give it a round of applause as Sony and the PlayStation brand have made a resounding start off of the now current generation. Even though the PS3 started off slow and finally gained traction, it still lost a large swath of its fanbase during last generation. Now, learning from its mistakes, and that a name isn’t the only thing that is needed for a console launch. They went back to basics, and making sure that the console put the gamer first, and nothing else. It went to developers and talked with them, and asked what they needed to make a solid, A+ game in their eyes. They essentially went back to basics. And its paying dividends!
The PS4 has led all ten months since its release one year ago, and hasn’t stopped. They have mounted one of the biggest, “We Hear You” campaigns since the console was launched. Listening to what we, the gamers, the consumers, the casuals, the hardcore, the every once in a while, to come to the fold, either switch, stay, or come back. Admittedly, it is tough when you friends continue on with the Xbox, or vice versa, since this generation will probably be determined by where your friends are, kind of gaming. But the ecosystem of the PS4 has gone from the multimedia hub that it was as a PS3, to the more streamline, games and broadcasting arena, that allows gamers to play, solo or quickly connect with friends before launching into a game. And with the features that were promised during that fateful shift at E3 a year ago, being released in a massive update (2.0, and 2.01), Sony is hitting strides at the right time, and giving games something to want during the Holidays this season.
With the massive influx of streaming content, ala YouTube, Twitch, or UStream, it makes the living almost akin to a theater and people watching you play. Some features like, recording to a separate device wasn’t available at launch, but Sony listened, and they removed the black box that was HDCP, and allowed YouTubers to rejoice and use their PS4s to stream. Additionally, they have polished up those interfaces giving the user, the gamer, more things to do from better comment sections during streams, to better usability for uploading clips and such to social media, and now YouTube directly. They even gave the gamer, a small tool, that does wonders for editing, albeit not like you could on a computer, but “Share Factory.”
As I have seen and heard from forums to in-person, people are switching, and happy about it, and the potential it has, or is currently showing them. But this is the reason why, I Akodo of Real Otaku Gamer, think that day one reviews of consoles are rather asinine in the fact that, you have a console, barely hours old, and not much to it, since it was just released. You can judge the wares it has and come with, but it can only go so far. At the year mark, you can judge the console, in its entirety. For instance, let’s talk about the PSN. Since the PS4 launch and the premise to play online service, for only the games, and not putting something you already paid for, behind another paywall, for the instances of netflix or Hulu or the ilk, you still have a solidly functioning console. As with the PSN you get automatically with the year subscription of PlayStation Plus, which allows you to get a free game each month on the PS4, sometimes its something great, like Splunky, other times its something else like Velocity 2X. Sometimes it hits, sometimes it misses. But the PS+ always is adding. And with it being pay, means that Sony can upgrade infrastructure and improve the service as a whole, but that too takes time.
The games, the games are the main selling point of a console, for what is to come and what will be there the day you buy. And the lineup for the future is looking strong with games like Uncharted 4, and Order 1886, to name console exclusives, two unknown “AAA” titles being announced sometime in early december, and with the undoubted shift in developers going towards the console with the bigger base, means 3rd party exclusives that haven’t been announced and will, and current exclusive like InFamous, Knack, Killzone, and The Last of Us: Remastered. Side note: Didn’t think the masterpiece that is “The Last of Us” needed a remake, but its a damn gorgeous game, and for those who have turned to the blueside, i.e. Sony, from being on the 360 and not experiencing the master piece. To indie games, that as of right now, console exclusive like No Man’s Sky, and out now on the PS4 and exclusive, Octodad, Resogun. The PS4 has given a plethora of games to be played on it, and from now, and to the future.
The interface of the console, gone are the cool and sleek Cross Media Bar (XMB), and more individual folders, this has left much to be desired. And I believe with how receptive SOny and its Playstation team have been, the nuances will slowly take shape, and change to a more manageable feel. Another thing that was annoying at launch, seeing the notification for every single person doing something on their PS4. For instance, Person X joined a party chat. THis has been curdled a little but still, its less frequent. But a little thing from the PS3 that has been brought to the PS4 is the dynamic themes, so that’s a plus.
But as the good, of a console, there is bad. Although the revamped DS controller, now, DS4 has the worlds greatest feel, and is much of an improvement over the last in every degree, the DS4 knobs of the analog sticks wear out quicker. I have a DS3, from launch that still is functioning, and has its knobs intact. Gone are some of the functionality of the PS3 that was a sign on minimalist in the sense of moving to the PS4. The overall media hub that the PS3 was, like the music limitations, or the immediate USB support, and bluetooth as well. The cheap attempt to get gamers to talk with its cheaply made headset. But now the USB functionality are fixed in an update, and the headset market is entirely better!
So after a single year, the PS4 has grown with its audience, implementing things that the consumer wants, and continuing Sony’s drive of the “Gamer is first!” or more simply put, “Games!” Or like Steve Ballmer so elloquently said: “DEVELOPERS DEVELOPERS DEVELOPERS DEVELOPERS DEVELOPERS DEVELOPERS DEVELOPERS!” I wonder where Sony will go with its massive momentum that it has gained in its entire first year, forcing the competition to rethink their entire way forward. And return to the Sony brand that dominated during the era of the PS2. But as we all, as gamers is, Watch and See!