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Opinion

Looking Back On The Year Since The PlayStation 4's Reveal

And yet we've only just begun.

There’s a delightful symmetry as the PlayStation 4 is now on sale in Japan, effectively marking yesterday’s one year anniversary of the PlayStation 4’s announcement. That day followed months of leaks and rumours, with photos of dev kits appearing and details of touchpads and light bars slipping through the net of secrecy that surrounded them. Then Sony started to join in, coquettishly teasing the PS4 themselves.

It was at the PlayStation Meeting 2013 in New York on February 20th that Sony took control, though. Everything up until that point had been rumour and conjecture, but Sony brought everything into focus.

Knack became the first PS4 game to be aired in public, as Mark Cerny took to the stage to give us the juicy details about the console’s inner workings. After the complexities of the Cell CPU, Sony were turning to an AMD designed APU with a PC-like system twisted to Sony’s demands for a balanced but powerful and easy to develop for system. The biggest surprise came in the form of 8GB of GDDR5 memory, much larger than many had anticipated.

The DualShock 4 also appeared in its finalised form, the first substantial alteration of the PlayStation controller since the dual analogue sticks were added. Rather than the touchpad and large LED light, it was the Share button – making use of Gaikai’s technology – which really defined a big part of Sony’s vision for the coming generation.

Yes, the games would be more impressive graphically, with Killzone: Shadow Fall, DriveClub, Deep Down, Watch Dogs and Destiny all promising a huge leap in visual fidelity, but it was interconnectivity which would push Sony’s new generation. New games truly centred around playing with your friends in a more pervasive manner and the ability to hit the Share button and show that great moment, rather than just tell.

It’s proven to be a powerful notion and one which has seen Twitch reporting that after just two months on sale the PS4 was already accounting for 20% of all broadcasts. That’s before new ideas like interactive streams have really come into play.

PS4-Anniversary-IL1

Though Sony didn’t show the actual console design at the PlayStation Meeting, a fact which was lampooned and derided all the way to E3, theirs was a tough act to follow. So it proved as there was always a sense that Microsoft were playing catch up with the Xbox One.

A first outing months later in May that focussed far too heavily on TV and multimedia content rather than games, the bundling of the Kinect camera with every console and an objectionable DRM system which would have altered the way in which you could trade and share games with friends.

Microsoft were forced to backpedal in the face of widespread and harsh criticism, and it was telling that Jack Tretton could come on stage at E3, simply say that there would be no DRM on disc-based purchases and receive a round after round of rapturous applause.

Sony’s strong and decisive positioning has led to months of bad headlines for Microsoft. While Sony stayed the course and played on gamers’ nostalgia, Microsoft had to alter their plans based on gamer feedback, unintentionally allowing Shuhei Yoshida to deliver single word rebuttals or confirmations that invariably painted Sony in a better light.

Of course, Sony have had their own missteps. A lack of certain obvious media features, the delay to DriveClub, the inflexibility of some Share button functionality and even the delay of the Japanese launch which would have disappointed millions of fans in Sony’s homeland.

But regardless of any pre-launch stumbles, what both Microsoft and Sony did well was sell consoles. Both sold vast numbers of consoles across the world, with over 7 million shifted in a little over a month, putting to bed the persistent suggestion that home console gaming was to die a death by smartphone. It was an impressive show of force.

PS4-Anniversary-IL2

While Sony do have the early lead in this race, they can’t get complacent. The PS4 has launched in Japan just as this article has gone live, opening a new chapter in the PS4’s story and a new market which Sony are sure to dominate. But there are still questions to be answered.

Microsoft’s Xbox team are working incredibly hard to improve upon their software, so that while the persistent news of poorer resolutions or frame rates on the Xbox One continue, they could easily take a lead in general functionality via a series of major OS updates. Not to mention how Titanfall is arguably an exclusive with more mass appeal than inFamous, or the potential for the Xbox One to drop in price one way or another.

The challenge for Sony is to maintain their own momentum, to deliver on their own promises and missing features. As Peter wrote last week, what we have in March is a light shower of new games, but the monsoon season isn’t be until later in the year. At E3 and Gamescom, we’ll doubtless learn what Sony have planned for later this year, with the potential for exciting new games from the likes of Naughty Dog, Media Molecule and more.

It’s been a year since the PlayStation 4 was announced, but in truth the story of this generation has barely even begun.

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28 Comments
  1. bunimomike
    Member
    Since: Jul 2009

    Lovely article, fella. Nice recap. Best of luck to our Japanese gaming brethren and may they enjoy all of the orifice/tentacle themed games they appear to love so very much.

    *saves money to move to Japan*

    Comment posted on 21/02/2014 at 15:09.
    • ron_mcphatty
      Member
      Since: Sep 2008

      I was gutted when my Japanese Vita 2000 didn’t come with a tentacle-grope wallpaper. Totally crestfallen.
      I agree, lovely article! A year ago I feined sleeplessness in order to pinch my girlfriend’s iPad and watch the reveal which predictably cut out just before we saw the controller. I then joined the moronic masses in declaring that Sony should’ve shown the console, but I’m happy to admit I was wrong and the hype plan worked perfectly. Can’t wait to get a PS4 now, it’s probably gonna be in June for my birthday :)

      Comment posted on 21/02/2014 at 15:52.
  2. HellRaiser85
    Member
    Since: Dec 2013

    It was Jack Tretton not Andrew House.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SJ-To7WJyWs

    Comment posted on 21/02/2014 at 15:39.
    • Stefan L
      Community Team
      Since: May 2009

      Oops, yes. It was Andrew House who got to take the applause for the price, but Jack Tretton who got to enjoy the lack of DRM. Fixed.

      Comment posted on 21/02/2014 at 15:55.
  3. Geeby
    Member
    Since: Feb 2014

    I don’t want to be “that guy” what with me being new here, and I certainly ain’t no grammar po po..

    Buuuuut..

    “…the monsoon season isn’t be until later in the year.”

    Just keepin’ a look out for ya ;)

    Relating to the article however.. Naughty Dog, Media Molecule and Sony Bend. Cannot WAIT to see more. Going to be a good year!

    Comment posted on 21/02/2014 at 16:29.
    • Starman
      Member
      Since: Jul 2011

      If you say it in a west country yokel style it sounds ok.

      Comment posted on 21/02/2014 at 16:32.
      • bunimomike
        Member
        Since: Jul 2009

        TSA: Tractors. Sexy. Arrrh!

        Comment posted on 21/02/2014 at 16:44.
      • kjkg
        Member
        Since: Apr 2010

        I actually did this before reading your comment. Odd.

        Comment posted on 21/02/2014 at 16:45.
      • Geeby
        Member
        Since: Feb 2014

        Haha! It does actually work :O

        Although I was reading it in the voice from that bloke off’ve Time Team. Crazy southerners.

        Comment posted on 21/02/2014 at 16:48.
      • Stefan L
        Community Team
        Since: May 2009

        There I was, about to fix a little typo which a certain someone missed while editing, but now I’m going to leave it as it is.

        I do love me a good west country aa-accent. ;)

        Comment posted on 21/02/2014 at 17:14.
  4. blast71
    Member
    Since: May 2012

    Coquettishly…

    Thank frak I’ve got dictionary.com on me phone. ;)

    Comment posted on 21/02/2014 at 17:01.
  5. Kitch
    Member
    Since: Aug 2008

    TSA doing what it does best. A lovely opinion piece and bang on accurate.
    My next purchase will be Thief then it’s a long wait to see what else is coming our way.

    Comment posted on 21/02/2014 at 17:23.
  6. Lyts1985
    Member
    Since: Jan 2009

    Nice read :-)

    These sort of articles are why I never visit any other gaming site. Cheers Tef!

    Comment posted on 21/02/2014 at 18:31.
  7. Andrewww
    Member
    Since: Jan 2010

    An adequate recap, I’ve really enjoyed the pre-launch time, it was very exciting.
    And, I’m actually already quite happy with the games I got on the PS4, but my play time is limited. And it’s given me Outlast, which I’m still deeply in love with, having just finished it only once. (No, I could not have played this on a PC, I would never have. I’m a console person.)

    Comment posted on 21/02/2014 at 22:03.
    • bunimomike
      Member
      Since: Jul 2009

      Don’t you listen to him, Tef. You’re a beautiful, sensitive man. Andrewww’s just being a meanie. :-P

      Comment posted on 21/02/2014 at 23:45.
      • Andrewww
        Member
        Since: Jan 2010

        Of course, that’s how I am. But, it seems I come across as mean even if I don’t intend to… ;o)
        I found it a good recap. Ok?
        And I’ve enjoyed reading it. Better?

        Comment posted on 22/02/2014 at 00:28.
      • bunimomike
        Member
        Since: Jul 2009

        Oh, matey. Was enjoying the tease. Tef is in a call with me on Skype and I thought I’d make him out to be all hurt and stuff. :-) You say what you fancy. He can take it!

        Comment posted on 22/02/2014 at 03:28.
      • Andrewww
        Member
        Since: Jan 2010

        :o)

        Comment posted on 22/02/2014 at 13:32.
  8. Voolar
    Member
    Since: Mar 2009

    Sony don’t look as though they’re gonna drop the ball on this one. XB1 appears to be coughing up blood. Nothing MS does is garnering positive press… I’m really hoping that Sony can build and build – I’m loving my PS4…!

    Comment posted on 21/02/2014 at 22:21.
    • Andrewww
      Member
      Since: Jan 2010

      I wouldn’t write them off too quickly, and I’m not a MS person at all. They had a really bad start, messed up what they could and even more. But still, they know how to keep their fans close, e.g. with bought games, like Titanfall. And at some point they’ll release Halo 12 and Gears of whatever 9, and the audience will go ‘Woow..!’, and TSA will write about 20 articles about each (ok, now I’m being a meanie. Don’t really mean it that way, love TSA, that’s why I keep coming back.)

      Comment posted on 22/02/2014 at 00:12.
    • bunimomike
      Member
      Since: Jul 2009

      I can’t say the second most successful home console launch ever should be likened to coughing up blood (as funny as that was! :-)) but it’s interesting to see how things are panning out this early on already.

      Comment posted on 22/02/2014 at 03:31.
    • Voolar
      Member
      Since: Mar 2009

      The second wave of console purchases will be determined by what friends and family already have. Lots of people bought 360s because all their friends already had them. People want to play COD and FIFA with their mates. With the PS4 outselling the XB1 2:1 even in MS’s traditional heartlands (the US and the UK), I can see the shift towards the PS4 continuing.

      I think Titanfall will sell units, but you can play that on the PC and on the 360 as well. And, although people like to belittle the significance of it, it’s clear that the whole 1080p / 60fps thing has seeped into the buying public’s psyche. Even casuals seem to have the perception that the XB1 is a weaker machine.

      Comment posted on 22/02/2014 at 08:10.
      • bunimomike
        Member
        Since: Jul 2009

        Oh, agreed, fella. Momentum is a fascinating thing whether it’s positive or negative. The PS4 is riding the crest of the wave at the moment and there’s no sight of it abating any time soon.

        Comment posted on 22/02/2014 at 13:04.
  9. Broonba
    Member
    Since: Mar 2009

    I’m pleased that Sony have turned over a new leaf and that they’ve been going from strength to strength, as they took a hammering when the PSN fiasco was in full swing.
    However, I’d like to see a few tweaks to the PS4, such as the ability to watch DVD’s and Blu Ray movies, as well as being able to rip your CD’s to the HDD. Being able to share your game captures to You Tube would also be great.

    Comment posted on 22/02/2014 at 23:41.
    • Starman
      Member
      Since: Jul 2011

      It doesn’t play dvd’s? Surely not!

      Comment posted on 23/02/2014 at 09:57.
  10. Broonba
    Member
    Since: Mar 2009

    Oh aye, folders too.

    Comment posted on 22/02/2014 at 23:41.

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