Sony’s Playstation brand is once again soaring thanks largely to the successful launch and sales of the Playstation 4. Since it’s 2013 debut the PS4 has held a commanding lead over the XBox One and WiiU by means of low prices, a varied library of games and ambitious software such as Playstation Now. That’s all fine and good but what we care about is the future, specifically, what Sony has up their sleeves to keep the Playsation on top.
The Digital Age Cometh
That’s all fine and good but what we care about is the future. Streaming has been the name of the game for Playstation, since it’s reveal Sony has stressed the capability of playing console quality titles on multiple devices. Promises of playing PS4 games on our phones or PS Vita were a major part of the PS4’s launch campaign, ultimately turning out to be just that, a promise. Despite their best intentions streaming titles from the PS4 to smaller devices didn’t work as efficiently as guaranteed. FPS drops and serious lag problems exposed how unprepared Sony was for the digital future. Enter Playstation TV, a tiny device no bigger than a deck of cards able to stream games from a nearby PS4 to a connected TV. The smallest Playstation product was marketed as a Vita for your TV, all the functions included. For $100 gamers had access to a second PS4 for the household, and it worked. Next came Playsation Now, a completely digital games rental service delivered to any Playstation device by means of streaming. Although it’s currently in open beta, if the service works fluently and with ease it opens the entire Playstation archive of titles to gamers. That’s a big “if” though.
Flex those muscles
Sony has an impressive stable of first-party developers, not only in numbers but in talent. Sucker Punch, Guerrilla Games, Studio Japan, Media Molecule and Naughty Dog to name a few have produced games everyone should know. The encouraging note is only about half of Sony’s studios have released a PS4 title. Of the remaining, most have revealed what they’re working on, leaving a handful of studios toiling away at an unknown title. What is Guerrilla Games’s second team working on ? What about Santa Monica ? Most would assume a new God of War installment is being worked on since the God of War has since to make his PS4 debut. With the Xbox One’s sales surpassing the PS4 of late it can’t be long until we hear of Kratos’s return.
Did you know there’s a successor to the PSP? It’s no secret the PS Vita isn’t doing so well, especially when compared to the PSP and the 3DS. Sony has seemingly stopped first-party support for the handheld which would normally be the kiss of death for any gaming platform but we live in an age where consoles can survive off small/indie games alone. The Vita remains to be the go to handheld for getting your indie fix, earning the suitable nickname of “the indie machine”. Although it may have found a market it can flourish, that shouldn’t stop Sony from pushing the Vita to a larger audience. Some more first-party support and communication with the PS4 would go a long way in selling Vitas. Slap on a price drop and there may be some life left for the handy handheld. As of now the Vita has an attach rate of 12 games, more than any other console or handheld on the market. The people who have Vitas love them, now it’s a matter of making the expensive console more accessible.
Sony took a beating with the PS3, the console was too expensive, incredibly difficult to work on and had a weak online infrastructure. It’s refreshing to see the Japanese giant learn from their mistakes with a console that can compete with any. Not only have they rectified they past mistakes they’ve embraced the future, the company continues to show strong support to indie developers, invest time and money establishing an online infrastructure strong enough to support constant streaming and of course listen to what developers want. When you break the boxes down the PS4 and Xbox One are the same machine, leaving software and services as the determining factors. With Sony’s new approach to console development, they may reclaim the glory of the PS1.