Sony dropped PS3 in Cologne last night. Its focus is next-gen, next-gen, next-gen.
Sony’s message couldn’t have been clearer: PS4 is here, the past is just that, and this is just the beginning.
Dylan Cuthbert and Michel Ancel both agreed, speaking on a panel after the Sony press conference at gamescom 2014 yesterday, that focusing on one piece of hardware allowed them to produce the best results. Both of the celebrated developers had just announced PS4 exclusives.
Sony shares the sentiment. PS3 didn’t get a single mention in its Cologne presentation this year, and Vita was more like the uninvited neighbour poking its head round the party window than the friend with which you share your plans. Sony stood up in front of the crowd and said “PS4” for 90 minutes. The effect of the focus is obvious: here comes the next-generation.
Bloodborne and The Order: 1886 opened the salvo, and are the first PS4 games I’ve seen which truly do look like a step beyond the current clutch of cross-gen software. The former, especially, packs some amazing visuals. These platform-holder presentations usually have a few big hits, some filler, some upward pointing graphs and a load of blather about entertainment services, but it seemed to me that Sony’s had problems distilling PlayStation 4’s future enough to even fit it into the allotted time. The firm plastered three or four demos over the big screens before an exec even walked onto the stage. Why have a man talking when you can show people what focus means? SCEE head Jim Ryan kept it simple when he finally spoke, almost as if to say, “You didn’t come to see me, right?”
Bloodborne, WiLD, Alienation, Tearaway Unfolded, Until Dawn, Driveclub, Metal Gear Solid 5, Far Cry 4, DayZ, Destiny, Hellblade, The Tomorrow Children, LBP3, Infamous: First Light, Volume, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter: almost everything was either new, had a new trailer or had a news story. The service and sales announcements were laser-specific to PS4, which seemed so solid in Sony’s eyes that the top brass barely needed to justify it anymore. The PS4 project is through 10 million sales and will release updates allowing you to play with friends whether or not you own the same games. Does anyone even need to say how exciting this is? What more do you want? The presentation practically wrote itself.
I’m struggling to think of a time when the European PlayStation team has exuded such effortless confidence. Speaking before the show, reps shrugged off Microsoft’s Tomb Raider exclusivity bombshell from its earlier gamescom press event, going as far to insinuate that such moves aren’t in the players’ best interests. They just didn’t seem to care.
You could argue there was no “nuke,” but Sony’s gamescom conference this year was more carpet-bomb than mushroom cloud, an endless explosion of games and announcements, all of which would separately make top headlines on a normal day, and every single one of them related to PS4.
Sony’s message couldn’t have been clearer: PS4 is here, the past is just that, and this is just the beginning. PlayStation’s ball and chain is usually its platform diversity, that it’s required by games law to give proper time to all its existing hardware, but the decision has clearly been made that PS4’s time is now. Vita can wait, and PS3 has probably waited long enough. PlayStation 4’s games look incredible and Sony’s online aspirations are breathtakingly audacious.
Focus on one platform brings the best results. Why talk about anything else?