Just a few years ago the notion of Sony releasing another console that might become popular enough to overtake the fabled PS2 seemed like just another pipe dream, little more than wishful thinking. After all, we’re talking about a true phenomenon here and no one can really pinpoint the why or how of video gaming success. If it were that easy to roll out a new winning console then every sizable company out there with any technological know-how would be doing it and making money hand over fist. Of course, actually creating a console that ignites the imagination of the average consumer is a bit trickier. Moreover, to actually produce one that is poised for exponential growth is even more of a long shot. Nevertheless, this is exactly what Sony has done with the PlayStation 4 and god only knows how far its reign will extend…
Slice it, dice it…cut it up however you’d like, but the numbers don’t lie and they currently point toward the PS4 as being an incredible success. Over 15 million units sold as of the time of this article’s writing, and there seems to be little sign of the trend slowing down any time soon. Sales aren’t always everything, of course, it’s often the case that consoles will have strong and weak periods, where greater or fewer people are buying. With the PS4 there’s this odd feeling though, as if it seems fully poised to break the mold and smash all previous records. Sony seems to have produced a machine that has the momentum to absolutely smash everything in its path and the best part is, the best is probably yet to come.
The technological wall
It’s often been said that a kind of “technological wall” exists in video games, where the general visual level of graphics buts heads against what’s capable of being pulled off in terms of design. The fact of the matter is that despite the seemingly endless river of possibilities and any forward progress that might come our way, developing advanced AAA titles requires lots and lots of capital financing. These big budget blockbuster games are not by any means cheap. At the same time there is the “quality factor”, meaning that true artistry cannot be rushed, whatever the cost.
How is this all relevant to the PS4, you ask? Well, the PS4 is really just another platform, a “thing” to project creative game ideas through and it is indeed powerful enough to last for quite a while (in terms of its seasonal appeal and longevity as a medium for developers). Big companies obviously want to save as much of their hard-earned funds as possible and having a console that won’t need replacing (generational update) is certainly a boon. Seriously, developers currently seem to be scrambling to produce titles which can even push the PlayStation 4 to its graphical limits (and they have yet to do so, btw). This implies that the PS4 represents a sort of “technological wall” that everyone can both bounce concepts off of as well as slowly surmount. In other words, it will be quite a while before this console is considered “obsolete” and that’s actually a good thing for gaming in general. A more powerful, all-inclusive console certainly isn’t frowned upon, especially when it caters to big and small developers alike.
Games, games and more games
Likewise, the PS4 library is generating a steady stream of great games and (as previously indicated), the best is likely yet to come. Every single month there seems to be some new amazing title which pushes the envelope just a little bit further. All of the top studios in the world have certainly turned their attention to Sony’s flagship machine and are hard at work in finding new ways to exploit its power and popularity. Naturally, we haven’t seen the best or strongest titles emerge yet, as the console is still fresh off the presses, but just give it a bit more time. …Soon enough though we’ll see some truly amazing games that will no doubt rewrite all the rules and alter our standards and expectations for future releases.
As if the prospect of merely playing great games in HD weren’t enough, Sony is also about to release their new VR tech which has been dubbed “project Morpheus”. For all intents and purposes it seems to work nearly identical to that of the Oculus Rift, the only difference of course is that the proposed headset is quite a bit lighter, smaller and sleeker than competing models.
Assuming that they are able to hit the market with a well-functioning VR system that is compatible with even a sampling of the great games for the console, it will probably be an overwhelming success. Conversely, if they find a way to enable VR for most 3D FPS games, it may forever alter the face of video gaming in general. Assuming that things take the latter route, we might see PS4 sales enter entirely virgin territory, far surpassing any and all other records and making the PS2’s figures look diminutive.
Additional services and apps
Then there are all the additional services and apps which end up making the PlayStation 4 into more of a full-service entertainment complex than a mere gaming console. What we have is basically the culmination of the advances made during the 7th generation plus the new stuff that’s become commonplace and expected. What’s more, the PSN is now poised to act like more of a true hub with incredible options for social interaction as well as streaming loads of amazing content.
The writing’s on the wall
By and large, “the writing’s on the wall”, as they say. Most people probably sense by now that there’s something different or special about the PS4, that it isn’t just another fly-by-night console that’s going to be quickly replaced. Again, if it’s popularity continues along the current curve it might very well become the best gaming system……well, ever.