From Humble Beginnings, To Glory, To Potential Disaster: The Future Of The Sony Playstation
The History of The Playstation
The history of the Playstation is a fascinating read, full of intrigue and drama. In 1994, when the first Playstation was released, it was not just another competitor to Sega Genesis and Nintendo 64, it was a change to the gaming world. It became the first console to sell over a 100 million units worldwide and it did that in under 10 years. The Playstation 2, released in 2000, takes the prize for best selling console with over 150 million sold in under 6 years. The PS3 arrived in 2006 and has sold about 70 million units, an excellent figure considering it competed with Xbox 360. Every six years, Sony has released a new console and in 2012, players once again begin to talk of what is surely coming: Playstation 4.
The market today is a completely different landscape than in 1994, or even 2006. Wherein the PS2 had a full year at the top of the hill in which to grow, the PS3 actively competes with powerhouses Xbox 360 and PC. Many of its once loyal customers are now casting their eyes on competitors after Sony’s mishandled security, online policies, and add ons and ads that cannot be removed. Sony’s insistent move to dispose of backwards compatibility is not well received either and will likely have an impact on the PS4′s sales.
The Playstation 4
In the last couple days, information has surfaced on distributed development kits for what will likely be the new Playstation. The project is codenamed Orbis, a Latin word meaning a circle, a rotation, a disc. The kit is the second in a series of prototypes, with a third expected next summer. Sony, of course, has not once said, hinted, implied or otherwise conveyed that this is the PS4 frame. It just happens to be a system Sony is having people work on and which is supposed to be demonstrated sometime around E3 next year, OK? The possible PS4 kit is reportedly housed in unassuming PC cases so no final PS4 housing pictures yet. It looks like Blu-ray will continue to be the drive used. As far as the graphics, the dev kits have AMD’s A10 APU (Accelerated Processor Unit) and a Radeon HD 7670 GPU (Graphics Processing Unit). The card is also rumored to be in the new Xbox which would seem to put the consoles on the same graphical level, but the onboard GPU in the AMD APU might give Sony the edge. Presently, A10 is not exactly top tier and considering this is a console for the next six years, there may be a higher chip in the end. These kits are said to be sporting 16GB of RAM which made some players need to go change their undies. Dev kits are usually shipped with higher RAM, so 8GB seems a more real, though still high, number. The PS3 uses 512MB RAM and what it can do with that is amazing. Even 4GB of RAM would be fantastic for a dedicated device. Such things as downloading in the background, cross game chatting, a viable web browser, and other apps while still playing would leave 2 to 3 GB’s of RAM for gaming. Leaks claim Sony is shooting for fully functional 1080p 60 FPS 3D games that run with no hiccups. We cannot wait to see how they plan to do all this while keeping price in mind.
The more interesting discussions surrounding the PS4 centers around Sony’s move to do away with backwards compatibility and possible implementation of launch codes and account binding. Gossip says that the PS4 will not be able to run PS3 titles at launch, perhaps not ever. However, based on PS’s history, it is not unreasonable to think PS3 titles would eventually be offered in the PSN store; a move that could either be potentially very lucrative or alienate fans, and have a significant impact on launch sales. A worrisome rumor says both next gen consoles are looking to eradicate used games completely, making the user only be able to play new games. PC players are already familiar with this model, wherein they need to buy a code to get their game to run and where trading games is a thing of the past. This would also severely limit, if not destroy, middle man trading and rental businesses like Gamestop and Gamefly. Sony made many fans when it allowed backwards compatibility in the PS2 as players could then replay their favorite PSOne titles. The PS3 initially could play PS2 games but Sony did away with that in hopes of making their PS2 section on PSN prosper, which it did. These measures would be an enormous gamble for Sony as players might very well take their money somewhere else. If Microsoft is looking to implement the same restrictions, it will be interesting to see how the players react and where their money ends up.
As there are development kits are already handed out to select creators, a launch date cannot be too far away. Most estimates are going with 2013 Holiday Season, which may seem really hopeful. Some more conservative guesses have it for 2014 Holiday Season. In the following year, as more specs are known and the aforementioned rumors are clarified, a clearer picture of Sony’s plan should come into view. There is much conjecture of which games will make up the first wave but nothing concrete since this is supposed to not be the PS4 kits. Ahem. We are saving up our money in the meantime. Playstation 4, Xbox 720 or just a PC?