If you haven’t listened to our latest After Hours podcast yet, I’ve joined my colleagues in picking up a next-generation-now-current-generation console. The PlayStation 4 is a thing of beauty, and it sits on my IKEA LACK TV shelf proudly alongside my other consoles, providing quiet yet powerful execution of full 1080p experiences that make the visuals on the previous generation look muddy by comparison. Naturally, I decided, that I wanted to ask the crew why they really picked up a PlayStation 4. Here’s what we all had to say.
5. Sony’s entire revelation of the PlayStation 4 in 2013
Yes, you’re reading this correctly. My number five reason why I got a PS4 is the marketing, which started with the PlayStation Meeting that happened in February of 2013 leading all the way up to its release in November 2013. Sony revealed the new controller and its ideology, with much pessimism from many gamers, of how gaming is their number one priority for the PlayStation 4. During E3 2013, they proved that not only were they the platform for gamers, but also how they didn’t believe in the idea that controlling how many devices their games are played was something that would be friendly to consumers. It also didn’t help that many developers began to come out and say that the mere inclusion of DDR5 on the PS4 was a godsend for the platform, allowing for higher resolution video output and higher frame rates. There’s the surprise Twitch announcement which Sony sprung up, after Microsoft had announced that they’ve partnered with them a few weeks prior. There’s the PS4 to Vita remote play which works on every PS4 game, provided it doesn’t use the PlayStation Camera. And last but certainly not least, its price point of $399, which severely undercut its competition by $100. But really, this whole reveal is the handiwork of people who, at least a few months prior, gamers didn’t know existed behind the scenes: Andy House, Adam Boyes, Shuhei Yoshida, and Mark Cerny. And you can’t ever say that Jack Tretton’s reveal of their DRM policies was not history in the making. The amount of cheering and applause when that scene happened was something that many journalists present at the venue said hasn’t happened in a very long time. People chanting, “Sony! Sony! Sony!” reinvigorated the system wars like never before, and it’s led the platform to outsell the Xbox One by a margin.
4. Its price point: $399
I was present at Microsoft’s E3 Press Conference last year and I was there to witness people’s surprise when Microsoft priced their platform at $499. All I could think about was how there was a lot of arrogance from Microsoft coming into E3 thanks to their DRM policy and demanding a price point which proved unpopular for Sony during the advent of the PlayStation 3.
Sadly, I was not present at Sony’s E3 presser, but what we did witness – as I’ve already outlined in my previous bullet point – was history in the making. But the best part, I believe, is when Sony announced that the PlayStation 4 was going to retail for $399. Many people have predicted that the console would sell for $449 or higher, as its component costs, if broken down as individual PC parts, would’ve cost that much. Suffice it to say, this proves that you don’t really know anything until you see its innards.
There’s been a few anecdotal quotes that we’ve heard that let us know that Sony has been targeting the $399 price point since the very beginning and it’s great that they’ve acknowledged that they goofed in that department. The price is just icing in the cake, however, as you’ll soon learn when you read the next reasons.
3. The DualShock 4 controller
When we got a hold of the DualShock 4 controller at E3 2014, we all fell in love. Not only was it a radical departure from the previous DualShock design, one that has persisted since the original PlayStation, but the changes they made to the form factor were smart. The handles now feel a lot more ergonomic and seem to be hug your hands as you wrap your fingers around it, the triggers feel natural while still maintaining somewhat of a similar feel with the older DualShock L2 and R2 buttons, and the Analog Stick is properly spaced apart and now has a proper place to rest your thumbs on. There’s also its new features like built-in speaker, way better vibration control, a headphone jack (the PS4 comes with a one ear headset of decent quality), the touch pad which doubles as an additional button, and the LED bar that identifies which player you are as well as react to certain gameplay, you’ve got a controller that’s ripe for experimentation. Oh, and I guess I should mention that the SixAxis motion technology is still built into it, but the pressure sensitive face buttons and shoulder buttons are no longer present.
2. Long term potential
The one thing that’s different about the PS4 and the Xbox One is that Sony is already talking about the future of the platform well ahead of their competition. Within the past few months, Sony has announced the official name of their Gaikai powered streaming gaming service, PlayStation Now, as well as unveiled their VR initiative currently codenamed Project Morpheus. In addition to these announcements, Sony has continued to provide great value (I sound like Jack Tretton here) by releasing free PS4 games via the PlayStation Plus service, addressing player requested functionality such as a more in-depth video editing application, being able to save screenshots and video to a USB drive, and finally having strong developer support for their platform. Comparing the PlayStation 3 and the PlayStation 4’s potential at the beginning of their cycles has been night and day, and I honestly can’t wait until we start seeing games optimized for the platform being released within a few months time.
1. Naughty Dog
Out of all of Sony’s studios, none has made me more excited about the potential of the PlayStation 4 with regards to the future of gameplay than Naughty Dog. It’s true that we haven’t seen anything concrete in terms of live, running gameplay from Naughty Dog, but I think it’s safe to say that they’ll continue to push the boundaries of the platform more than any other developer who’s signed up for the task of making games for the system. Looking back at the company’s history on Sony platforms, from Crash Bandicoot on PSOne to the technical marvel that was Jak and Daxter to the Uncharted series and The Last of Us on the PlayStation 3, Naughty Dog has grown into a powerhouse of a developer. And I’m going to make a controversial statement: as much as I hate seeing Amy Hennig and several other Naughty Dog luminaries leave the company recently (company founder Jason Rubin left a long time ago), Naughty Dog’s culture and creativity will be one that will be more apparent in its games than any one contributor who’s part of the team. To me, Naughty Dog is a premiere developer whose works have always held critical acclaim. Even Uncharted 3, while many will say wasn’t as good as its predecessor Uncharted 2, was still far better than most video games released in the past generation or so. Needless to say, I’m excited about whatever project they have in the pipeline, whether its Uncharted 4, The Last of Us 2, or any new IP that they decide to built. Cheers, ND!
5. The Price
Sony got the price right, absolutely, perfectly right. At $399.99, the PlayStation 4 is cheap enough to fly off store shelves, and the system’s powerful hardware and strong 3rd party support makes it well worth the premium over the Wii U. Since it was announced to be $100.00 cheaper than the Xbox One, it was that much easier for me to immediately pre-order my console once I found out about the price. I also very clearly remember the $599.99 price tag on the version of the PlayStation 3 that I wanted when that launched, and I didn’t end up buying one until the price dropped below $400.00. I guess that’s my ceiling for a video game console. Sony nailed this one.
4. Infamous: Second Son
The visuals I saw at E3 2013 for Infamous: Second Son were good enough to get me interested in the PlayStation 4. Furthermore, since that game would not be coming to PC, it was the first exclusive title to pique my interest for Sony’s new platform. Now that it’s out and earning good to great reviews, you might be surprised to learn that I still haven’t played it. I guess some time since E3 the hype wore off, and at this point, I wouldn’t mind waiting for a price drop or the inevitable “free on PlayStation Plus” announcement that I’m expecting within a year’s time. In any case, I have no intention of purchasing it at full MSRP, but I’m still looking forward to playing it when it falls into my price range.
3. Kingdom Hearts III
Nothing will stop me from playing Kingdom Hearts III when it comes out, so I might as well be prepared for it and have a system to play it on.
2. Final Fantasy XV
Likewise, Final Fantasy XV is an absolute must play title on its name alone, and I’ve become comfortable with playing games from this series on Sony platforms. I am a bit concerned that it looks more like an action game than an RPG, but hopefully my worries are unwarranted. I can only hope that it turns to be great at the very least, because Square Enix is long overdue for a masterpiece.
1. I’m an idiot.
Yup. The number one reason that I bought a PlayStation 4 is that I’m an idiot. I couldn’t afford one, I wasn’t interested in the vast majority of the launch titles, I’m completely buried in my ceaselessly growing backlog of games (on PC, handhelds and older console platforms), and to this day the only game I’ve put any significant time into on the PlayStation 4 is Resogun. The system has been collecting dust ever since I finished my review, aside from occasionally being used to stream Netflix, Hulu Plus, or Crunchyroll. I know my purchase will eventually be justified, but in the short term, it was a very bad buy for me—especially considering I’ll be getting Watch_Dogs on PC. My PlayStation 4 has been put to one good use, however. It’s provided a suitable throne for one of my cats.
5. Sony’s long term support of their platforms
I’m a two console gamer and have been through the last 2 previous generations going with both Sony and Microsoft consoles and this generation will be no different. However, only a stubborn fool will deny how much value Sony’s platforms provide with support long after their next console has launched. The same can’t be said about Microsoft in this regard. Killing the Xbox shortly after the launch of the 360 and all but abandoning first party support on 360 in the last 2 years, Microsoft doesn’t seem to be very much interested in the long haul. They’ve said this generation will be different, and only time will tell, but Sony’s track record is a proven fact.
4. PS Plus
I was admittedly very late to the party with PS Plus on PS3 only getting it around June of last year. Now that I have it, I can’t ever see myself letting it lapse. While PS4 hasn’t had the same level of content as has been available on PS3 (I’m not a huge indie gamer and much prefer AAA games), there is still content available should I ever run out of games to play. Also, AAA PS4 games coming to the service is matter of when, not if, so having it on PS4 is a no brainer.
3. Infamous: Second Son
The showpiece and first truly next-gen looking game for the PS4 was jaw-droppingly gorgeous and looked fun as hell. Seriously, I would have bought this game on the visuals alone. Yes, I am shallow.
2. Naughty Dog
If someone had told me that the developer responsible for Crash Bandicoot and Jax and Daxter was going to make my favourite game of the last generation I would have probably laughed in their face. Except that is exactly what happened with Uncharted 2. The Uncharted series became my favourite franchise last gen, and The Last of Us set a new standard for narrative in games. Nevermind the fact that they know how to make games look even more gorgeous than any other console developer. The prospect of what they will be bringing to PS4 is more than enough reason for me to buy the console, sight unseen. Call me a fanboy all you want. Do not care.
1. Sony’s E3 2013 brutal knockout of Microsoft.
While today I now own both an PS4 and an Xbox One, coming out of last year’s E3 I was only going to own a PS4. The reason for this boiled down to I absolutely hated Microsoft’s vision for the Xbox One – severe restrictions on used games, a 24 hour check in and the Xbox One being bundled with Kinect – which, at the time, was mandatory to use. Watching Sony take apart Microsoft’s anti-consumer policies with blow after blow literally made me jump out of my seat and cheer. Immediately after they announced the price of $399.99, I went to Amazon and placed my preorder.
We haven’t had this much fanfare and excitement for a console announcement in a very long time. I just wished we were there to witness it in person.
I, like everyone else, watched E3 with growing anticipation and excitement, and then with the denouement of $399, I preordered about 36 seconds after the Amazon link went live. All those features, and it looked DAMN nice on my entertainment shelf. E3 was a hype magnet for Sony, who had a damn fine booth, and plenty of stuff on the show floor. Microsoft might have been proud to show the Xbox One, but E3 2013 belonged to PlayStation 4.
4. Twitch Streaming
I watch a lot of Twitch streams. Mostly fighting game related stuff, but there’s nothing like watching fl0e’s attempts at I Wanna Be The Boshy. Streaming for many people was a difficult endeavour, with needing streaming boxes, computers, etc. With PS4, you had one button to press, and you could stream on Twitch (or Ustream). The cameras may still be in short supply, but the system works damn well. You can also share screenshots and video clips of awesome things, but one button streaming is where it’s at. The only sad thing is that Twitch emoticons don’t work for the player. (Biblethump)
3. The controller
I loved the controller when I held it at E3, with its improved triggers, and the touch pad that has yet to truly be exploited to its full potential. But the secret weapon of the Dual Shock 4 is the Analog Sticks. The nubs feel better and more in control as opposed to the Dual Shock 3’s mushroom tips, but that’s not the ultimate feature of those sticks; it’s how far apart they’re spaced. The additional distance between the two makes it easier to separate your hands in your brain, and it’s extremely better for first person shooters. I would argue that the Dual Shock 4 is the superior controller to the Xbox One controller.
2. Guilty Gear Xrd
I suppose I should list a game, huh? Not Destiny, not Infamous Second Son, but the newest Guilty Gear. That trailer screamed more than anything, “Next Gen is here”, and the use of the Unreal engine and 3D visuals that look 2D are absolutely amazing. I can watch both the announcement trailer and the subsequent trailer and I am screaming in my head that I need this and it looks awesome. It may also be coming out on PS3, but I want to see it on PS4. This looks absolutely stellar, and strange as this may seem to you, this is the most next gen game that exists.
1. The Vita
I bought a Vita at launch, and it sucked for a bit, then it was cool. I really loved off-TV play on the Wii U, and I wondered how well Remote Play would work. Would there be no lag? I watched videos and it looked good, but not perfect. When the day came, I had Injustice popped into the PS4, and I launched into Remote Play. I couldn’t believe that there was no lag. I could not perceive any lag. This was a perfect solution, and some games are great to play from the comfort of the prone position on my bed. It’s an amazingly well-done solution.
Many different reasons, many different games, and certainly many varied opinions! Now we pass the question to you, our dear readers: Are you getting a PS4? If you already do, why are you getting it? Are you willing to trade your older game systems for it? How much do you really want to move into the new generation of gaming? Sound off in the comments below!