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Daily Reaction: PS3 vs PS4 and How GT6 Will Mark the Beginning or the End

April 17, 2013 Written by Sebastian Moss

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With numerous rumors and a recent retail listing pointing to Gran Turismo 6 hitting the PS3 this Christmas, around the same time as the PS4 is expected to come out, Daily Reaction discusses the PS3’s ten year lifecycle and when Sony should fully focus on the next gen.

Seb: Back in February, Sony’s Michael Denny casually mentioned GT6 on PS3 for this holiday, Newegg has listed the game on PS3 for a November release and several rumors have said the game is coming to PS3, not PS4.

The fact (if it is true) that the game is coming to PS3 isn’t that surprising – Polyphony has spent a huge amount of time and money making the game engine and assets for the PS3, and releasing another game on the platform will end up being much cheaper and take far less time to make.

The problem, however, is that the release date seems to be right in line with the PS4’s, so that they could be out within a month or so of each other (the PS4 could even come out first). That means that, should these rumors be true, Sony’s biggest IP will be hitting their old console just as their new one comes out. That’s crazy. Mainstream press attention, consumer attention and general hype will be split, causing both products to suffer. Gran Turismo is also a game which you can play for a particularly long time, so those gamers won’t upgrade for a while – especially because the PS4 doesn’t have backwards compatibility.

And, before anyone says it, DriveClub isn’t a sufficient replacement.

Dan: This really will be the big problem that both Sony and Microsoft will have to face as they move away from their already established install bases and try to push a new platform. Can Sony financially drop the PS3 right out the gate as their new system launches, and forget the 60+ million people who already own one? No, they can’t. They also cannot completely push a product that will cannibalize the PS4’s launch, a time where you establish an ecosystem that is supposed to fuel the future of the company across the next generation.

This winter I think we will see a bit of double handed product placement, as the PS4 will be the forerunner for the Sony brand as a whole, given its obvious improvements, and the PS3 will have products (GT6) leaked out under the shadow to fuel the fans until they upgrade. Likely, most of the first-party studios will have to finish any current PS3 projects (unless they have been moved to the PS4), and then they will all be pushed on to the next hardware and never look back. Given the huge install base and the dropping presence of the major hitters, I think this will be a big opportunity for the mid-tier developers to capitalize on the market, especially internationally – which will keep the PS3 games flowing for some time.

Seb: Yeah, I agree. Sony has to support the PS3 to keep their fans happy, show that investing in the PS3 wasn’t a mistake, so that way people know that investing in a PS4 won’t be a mistake. But they still need to tread carefully, and ensure that they give the PS4 enough focus.

The ten year lifecycle announcement was a huge promise when Sony made it at the PS3’s launch, and it helped soften the blow of the enormous price tag. Now they have to try to live up to that promise, and it’ll be hard for them to do that when they’re already juggling so many different platforms. The PS4 will need all the help it can get when it launches, and the Vita desperately needs some games, so Sony can’t have too many developers working on PS3 titles.

If Sony are smart, they will continue to support the PS3 for a couple of years, but with fewer and fewer games – and not release any of them too closely to any big PS4 games or the PS4 itself (like they might be doing with Gran Turismo 6).

There is sense to keeping the PS3 alive – both to support their fans as well as earn a profit off of the large install base that they can use to fund PS4 titles. But Sony often has trouble balancing its priorities, and may end up spending too much time on the PS3 and completely forgetting about the Vita and, to a lesser extent, the PS4.

Dan: I don’t think Sony will forget about the PS4 much like they have with the Vita, the platform will just have way too much sway right out the gate to be passed over, not to mention it will be the future of their games division over the coming years.Also, I think Sony could do just fine by encouraging the indie scene on the PS3, while allowing third party developers to carry the torch of the bigger titles. How long this would have to go on though would be up to Sony, not simply due to when they get tired of producing the hardware, but when they actually decide to launch their cloud service.

Gaikai will be the inevitable answer to this problem, meaning that the segmentation of the platform is only a temporary problem, as the ultimate goal will be to once again unify all platforms and their products under one service. Development for all parties will finally make more cohesive sense when the PS4 is capable of utilizing all available titles, as well as be the end point of production of PS3 hardware in those regions where cloud is reasonable.

The only real issue will be how Sony will handle their current PSN consumers, who already own a number of digital titles that will not be so easily carried over to the next generation. Even though Gaikai will potentially allow you to play Journey on PS4, what if you already own the game? Will you have to re-buy it?

Sadly, if Sony does not properly handle the transition of products before closing off any development of the PS3, they will more than likely burn any chance of getting those millions of fans to once again invest in a Sony digital platform – killing the service right out the gate.

How long do you want Sony to support the PS3? Are you hoping to stick to this gen until the PS4 is a few years in, or do you want Sony to go into the next gen with both feet forward? Let us know in the comments below, email us creepy pictures at DailyReaction@PlayStationLifeStyle.net and follow our 10 year Twitter rants at Seb and Dan.