As an annualized event, Las Vegas’ Consumer Electronics Show event routinely helps to introduce a cavalcade of contraptions from many of the world’s top companies. This year, Sony and the PS4 had some serious competition to contend with, namely from Valve’s upcoming “Steam Machine” (a streaming console which connects directly with the online “Steam” service). Moreover, there was no push back from Microsoft (via the Xbox ONE) as they decided to opt out of this year’s CES event.
For all intents and purposes, the main focus of Sony’s efforts was on the emergence of the all-new “PlayStation Now” service. This exciting new cloud gaming service will allow users to access a wealth of content from the PS3 era (and perhaps those predating it as well). In other words, people will soon be able to tap into the PlayStation’s incredible library without having to even own a console, which is more than a bit exciting, to say the least. Naturally, PS4 owners will have the ability to utilize the PlayStation Now service on their consoles, which more or less solves the issue of backwards compatibility, doesn’t it? Of course those who don’t own Sony’s new flagship console will also be able to tap into the power of PlayStation Now as well, either via smartphones and tablets or through one of their upcoming (specially-designed) TV’s.
Given that there was a general lack of demonstration going on in the software / games department (at least in a professional context), perhaps the biggest PS4 news at 2014’s CES was Sony’s sales figures. In short, 2013 saw more than 4.2 million PS4’s sold internationally. In other words, since this past November, Sony almost hit their slated objective of selling over 5 million units (a feat which they hope to achieve by March 2014). For those who might be unaware, Sony has a meticulously crafted business plan which they’re operating from here. In order to move on to the next phase of the plan, they have to be able to demonstrate the ability to make up for things like up-front hardware purchases and the like. It should also be noted that Sony's sales were far more impressive that Microsoft's.
Additionally, the overall popularity of the PS4 doesn’t really appear to be waning, which implies that long-term sales might climb to hitherto unknown levels. Naturally, Sony is hoping to exceed or match their triumph with the PS2, which is still considered to be the most successful video game console venture in history. For all intents and purposes, it would seem that the PlayStation 4 is on track to surpass the PS2 – with a slew of amazing-looking, feature-laden titles all scheduled to hit store shelves this year. Love it or hate it (and let’s face it, you probably adore the PS4), Sony’s new console is in the process of shaking up the industry. Even those who consider themselves to be die-hard Microsoft / Xbox devotees have to stand in awe and admiration of Sony’s ingeniously crafted sales strategies.
As a dedicated consumer electronics product, the PS4 isn’t just a “game box”, as they say, it’s also a sort of “all-in-one” entertainment device. For those who might be unaware of just how far things have come since their last video game console purchase, consider the fact that most of them now allow you to access multiple types of streaming content (and services). In other words, you could pick up a PS4 with the aim of using it as an access point for TV programming, movies, music, as well as web browsing. In short, you might think of it as a gaming-friendly computer that’s both incredibly powerful and dependable in addition to being more affordable than a similarly-matched PC. For instance, did you know that you can actually use a PS4 as a DVR recorder?
Aside from wanting to bring dedicated streaming TV programming to the PS4, Sony also has plans to integrate the obligatory services such as Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, and many others. Quite simply, you could say that the PlayStation 4 is comparable to a number of other consumer electronics devices, assuming that they could be mashed together into one unit, of course. For example, you can use the console as a glorified Tivo if you wish, or perhaps even forgo the use of a computer altogether, opting instead to rely on the PS4’s web browsing capabilities. Such a setup isn’t going to work for the more internet savvy, but for the person who only uses it in a general manner (email, news, etc.). To date, Sony’s still refining the PS4’s web browser however, and it’s not currently clear as to whether or not they’ll add support for flash (so people can watch Youtube videos on their consoles).
Well, that’s pretty much it for PS4 news from CES 2014 in Las Vegas, see you next year!