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Perception is reality: Sony’s PS4 ramps up the console cycle

Tuesday, 2nd September 2014 12:43 GMT By Matt Martin

Sony is confidently doing its own thing on its own terms, ignoring the established rules and blazing a trail in this new-generation of home consoles, says Matt Martin.

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It’s not yet a full year since the PS4 launched but it’s already taking huge strides across the battlefield of the console war, stockpiling ammunition, humming its own tune, oblivious to the work of its rivals. It’s as if Sony is in a league of its own, revealing new projects for next year as it lines up a range of first and third party games all set to launch across the tail end of 2014.

“There’s no waiting until next year to talk about 2015′s line-up – here it is and it’s on the heels of a winter of good-looking multiformat releases.”

Last month it was all about Europe and the west during gamescom, and yesterday it was the turn of Japan to get special attention from Sony and its loved-up partners. Eighteen days before the Tokyo Game Show has even started and Sony confidently revealed a stack of new games for Vita and PS4, including the return of fan favourites like Persona and Dragon Quest.

This is a company that isn’t shy of the work its doing and the projects it has underway. There’s no waiting until next year to talk about 2015′s line-up – here it is and it’s on the heels of a winter of good-looking multiformat releases.

There are some duds in the 2014 release slate – Sony should probably retire LittleBigPlanet in the same sense that Microsoft should have shelved Fable this gen – but perception is reality, and as Sony continues to make a lot of noise, it sucks up Microsoft’s air when it comes to multiformat releases.

Destiny is for everyone, but the perception seems to be it’s a PlayStation game first and foremost. Multiformat games are already selling better on PS4 than on Xbox One in some regions, it’ll be interesting to see how significant that split is when Bungie’s MMOFPS hits shops next week and how that influences the planned yearly updates.

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Over the hump of Christmas sits Bloodborne, easily one of the the most anticipated games of early 2015. Again, perception is that it’s a brand new game having only been officially revealed at E3 this year and due in February – Sony isn’t waiting around to serve PS4 players everything they’re hungry for. Contrast that with the return of something like Halo 5: Guardians – officially revealed at E3 and due this time next year at the earliest. It seems a long way off.

In that same spirit of speed is Silent Hills. Announced at Gamescom (and for once, it was a surprise for the press and the fans) a playable demo from Kojima and Del Toro was available to download on the PS4 instantly. Not a teaser trailer and a logo, but a fully weird and frustrating playable experience that needs a walkthrough to complete. That’s a game announced, a demo released, completed and fully documented on fan sites within hours. And they say the mobile games industry moves fast.

“Silent Hills was a game announced with a demo released, completed and fully documented on fan sites within hours.”

The problem with Microsoft is that it seems to be playing by unspoken and stifling rules. Sony isn’t waiting for a consumer show to open its doors before running a 90 minute press conference on its own terms. It’s taken Nintendo’s attitude of doing its own thing and ran with it. Microsoft will have a booth at TGS with press appointments and demos and free stickers and t-shirts like every other chump in the building. Meanwhile, Sony is probably already planning E3 2015.

Because here Sony sits on a throne made of 10 million PS4 consoles and with a clear idea of where it’s going over the next months and years. Microsoft may have a battle plan drawn up too, but it’s not sharing beyond the established rules of press releases and trade shows and all that other old-school communication nonsense.

The last generation was drawn out so long that studios and publishers collapsed, franchises sunk into the dirt, and talent left the industry for good. It got so bleak that some even thought Facebook might have a future in video games.

But this generation is picking up speed very quickly and it’s Sony that sits behind the wheel. Microsoft can’t risk slipstreaming this, it needs to break out and blaze its own path or continue standing in Sony’s dust.

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