So, the PS4 has been released and the new generation is upon us. However, it isn’t just with their new console that Sony have got things right. They still have two members of the family that have plenty to offer.
When Sony introduced PS+ there was initially a bit of cynicism, it was just a way to get people to pay extra money to them, with a few discounts here and there, some early access and other little bits. However, that idea evolved and became one the the best decisions for the consumer they could have made.
The Instant Game Collection offers insane value for money, it doesn’t matter to the average gamer how money is made on this, the simple matter of fact is that, we, as gamers are getting amazing content for around £4 a month (cheaper if you purchase a 3 month or yearly package). Starting off by offering free games playable on the PS3, usually offering up a PS Mini, or PS1 and occasional PSN title, the service quickly grew to give full blown retail games also.
As time passed the quality of the games began to improve, before offering up PS Vita and eventually PS4 games also. What it did though, was breathe new life into a console that should be slowing down and coming to the end of its life. Recently the likes of DmC: Devil May Cry, Borderlands 2, Guacamelee, Need For Speed Most Wanted, GRID 2, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, Remember Me, among so many others have come to the service. Most of those are less than a year old and will still set you back £20 in the shops.
It has made PS+ a must have for anyone owning a PS3, but Sony weren’t done there, don’t own a PS Vita? (you really should) Then you can still grab the Vita offerings and they are ready to add to you system when you pick one up. Uncharted: Golden Abysss, Soul Sacrifice, Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, Gravity Rush, Velocity Ultra, Street Fighter X Tekken, Lumines, Rayman Origins and so much more. All there waiting for you.
Even heading into the PS4 era, there are games from the very get go, Contrast and the best game on the new system in Resogun. There was meant to be a version of DriveClub, but the delay in the game’s release put pay to that for a while. Still though, it shows Sony has found something in PS+ and know they cannot drop it now. Whether the money from subs, or the word of mouth that has bought new people to the systems, it is doing something right for them.
With the PS4 offerings, it reminds us of the days of the SEGA Master System, with built in Alex Kidd, you get the console, which for most is a significant outlay and there is no need to buy software to get use out of it on day one, no need to even worry about bundles from retailers. Buy the console and with PS+ you already have games to play. It is a stroke of genius from a company that had severely lost its way when the PS3 released.
It isn’t just with PS+ that has made Sony the console gaming company of choice either, they continue to support the PS3 with some fantastic exclusives. In the final few months before the PS4 would hit the shelves, there was the stunning Puppeteer, and interesting Rain, and the outstanding experience of The Last Of Us, which as we stated here, is a game that will live with you to the day you die. What Naughty Dog pulled off with a system supposedly hitting its sell by date, was truly something.
But still, even with the PS4 now upon us, Sony are far from done with the aging system, there was the recent release of Gran Turismo 6 and even the upcoming exclusive in Persona 5. These are simply small quick port titles, these are fully fledged games that can shift systems. Gran Turismo is Sony, it has been a flagship franchise for them since the days of the PS1. Persona too is enough of a reason to keep the PS3 around.
When the jump was made from PS1 to PS2 and then from PS2 to PS3, it would pretty much see the older system relegated to a bedroom, or even the attic, with the intention to maybe go to it once in a while for a quick blast. With the jump from PS3 to PS4 however, we have found our gaming time has been an even split. We have yet to finish many of the games we own, whether that be through our own purchases, or those given to us through PS+. There is a huge backlog of some incredible titles. The desire it there to work through them, enjoy them and still get the most out of a system that despite all the flaws of the last seven years, just isn’t ready to retire.
When you talk about a hard life, you cannot ignore the PS Vita. A system that has been much maligned from all corners of the gaming world. Sales numbers have been mocked, the quality of the software on offer has taken a bashing and the age old ‘Vita has no games’ often gets spouted. Yet, for those that own one, they know what a glorious console the Vita is. It has some quality games on it and has become a haven for Indie titles, thanks mainly in part to Shahid Kamal Ahmad. The man who came from nowhere to become a rockstar on social media, the man who said “This game should be on the Vita, so this game will come to Vita” he made a promise and lived up to that promise.
We have the likes of Stealth Inc: A Clone in the Dark, Proteus, Velocity Ultra, Thomas Was Alone, Spelunky, Hotline Miami, Lone Survivor, The HD Adventures of Rotating Octopus Character and so much more. Thanks to this man’s vision and the team he works with, PC is no longer the go to place for something creative and different. Such was the success, that Sony themselves took this mantra to make sure their platforms would be easy for Indie developers to release their games, no longer bound by the risk management of publishers.
It is a revolution, it is changing the face of console gaming in a huge way. Other major revolutions haven’t always been for the better, not when you look at the likes of DLC and Online Passes, they have been there to be almost anti-consumer, from holding back content, to trying to stop the second hand market. In all honesty, gaming could have been in danger of falling to bits.
It shows how far Sony have come over the last couple of years. Looking at my living room and I see three Sony consoles and that is it at the moment. It is hard to pinpoint when the transition happened, but the 360 was being played less and less and when money needed to be raised to afford the PS4, it became the logical choice to sell that.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved the 360. XBLA was an amazing thing and but for it, then maybe we wouldn’t have seen Sony pushing for the smaller Indie titles and other downloadable offerings. XBLA had a 2-3 year period where it was on fire and it was sad to see those games just go, but in all honesty I knew the PS4 was my next console and I was playing the PS3 a lot more than the 360, even picking up NHL on Sony’s machine for the very first time. I do hope to revisit the 360 at some point, I still have unfinished business on there.
But I look forward now, over the past month or so I have jumped back and forth between the PS4 and Ps3, a little Resogun here, some Puppeteer there. Playing Killzone via remote play on the Vita whilst my son plays some NHL or Need For Speed on the PS3. Taking the Vita with me whilst out and about, playing a little of Treasures of Montezuma Blitz, or Everybody’s Golf (among others). Hell, even playing some Knack from the ice rink whilst my son does his hockey training.
For the first time, it feels like there is a full transition between generations, it isn’t simply a case of out with the old and in with the new, not when the old still has so much to offer. Anyone who made the jump from the XBOX to Playstation for their next console should really consider picking up a PS3 and most definitely Vita also, you are missing out on so much if you don’t.