Amidst all the excitement around Sony’s new console there’s obvious concern that it could render PlayStation 3 as a lame duck. Does the current gaming generation have anything to worry about leading up to launch?
Tonight seems set to officially signal the beginning of an era for Sony’s new PlayStation 4. Simultaneously you could of course call it the beginning of the end for PlayStation 3, albeit fairly premature at this stage.
As cool the heralding of a nextgen system is, it might be with reflecting on what it means for gamers now and whether the system it hopes to replace in our hearts is ready to be succeeded.
“In truth, the console took several years to really break through and arguably only justified itself over the last four years.”
The PlayStation 3 arrived to retail in 2006, making this its seventh year. In truth, the console took several years to really break through and arguably only justified itself over the last four years.
Every console grows into its potential anyway, with the more sophisticated game releases providing the best showcase of genuine power. These defining titles will often appear fairly late in the system’s expected lifecycle.
Certain platform exclusive releases have proven to be groundbreaking and sufficiently highlighted what the system can achieve. However this year had looked to be among the most promising yet with the likes of Grand Theft Auto V, The Last of Us, Remember Me and Watch Dogs all predicted to arrive. Whether we can legitimately include the perennially pushed back The Last Guardian in this little lot remains to be seen.
But nonetheless this in many ways makes the announcement of a PlayStation 4 early in 2013 all the more surprising. Sony had previously insisted that there was understandably plenty of life left in PlayStation 3, so it seems most likely its hand has been forced by Microsoft’s plans for Xbox 720.
Many are predicting the a PlayStation 4 console won’t arrive to European customers until first quarter next year, slightly later than Japan and US gamers can expect. However just by announcing a planned product upgrade, Sony must mitigate the risk of consumers holding out until then.
When you factor in the global economic troubles and a tendency for punters to be more frugal, it makes sense many will look to save for the new device. Continuing to plough cash into a current games console they intend to replace in 12 months could be a tough sell.
Conversely, it could make greater sense to drop this bombshell over a year where so many tempting PlayStation 3-based gaming experiences are set to land.
Retailers too will be nervous about how a PlayStation 4 announcement will impact trade, at a time when business is tough enough without encouraging customer apathy. A new console launch is usually a boom time for resellers and indeed the gaming media, but the interim period can feel like a long wait.
“From an alternative perspective, should gamers worry that PlayStation 3 developers could lose sight of the ball?”
From an alternative perspective, should gamers worry that PlayStation 3 developers could lose sight of the ball? We know studios will be working on PlayStation 4-related projects now and as a potential launch deadline gathers pace, could sister PlayStation 3 projects be unconsciously sidelined?
It’s a fair concern and might yield the explanation behind underwhelming hatchet jobs like Aliens Colonial Marines. Perhaps the Gearbox-headed 4-way development team had its myriad of fingers already stuck into a bevy of more attractive nextgen pies. Purely hypothetically of course.
All in all though it does raise legitimate concerns for how the remainder of the PlayStation 3’s tenure will unfold. How Sony and its developers handle the inevitable transition will be intriguing over the next few years.
For gamers lets just hope they manage the selling of a greater experience with PlayStation 4 without damaging the lingering potential of a healthy PlayStation 3 system.
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