Daily Reaction: The End of the PS3 Era.
With the PS4 set to come out on Friday, Daily Reaction’s Seb and Dan say goodbye to the PS3 by taking a look back at the life of Sony’s most ambitious and risky console ever.
1 – What do you think of the PS3 gen so far?
Seb: Wow. It’s crazy to think that in just two days, the PS3 will become last gen and a new gen will be ushered in with the PS4. Thankfully, Sony and third party publishers are set to keep supporting the PS3 for a while to come – but it’s clear that the heyday of the PS3 era is now coming to an end.
Ok, so the early days weren’t that great. There were only a few games worth mentioning, and the price… goddamn, the price. Sony started off arrogant, believing the power of the PS2 brand would mean that the PS3 was guaranteed success, even though it was late, hard to develop for, and stupidly expensive. The result, as has been widely reported, was a massive loss of market share to Microsoft’s Xbox 360, developer hatred and predictions of doom.
As we all know, the PS3, of course, didn’t die. It didn’t ‘lose’ the console war, wasn’t Dreamcasted, wasn’t the end of PlayStation. It bounced back. Wonderfully.
Sure, there were the bad times – the hacks, the cancelled games, the Lairs – but overall, the PS3 has been a story of redemption, of having to hit rock bottom to realize that things needed to be changed.
The result was an unrivalled first party output, humility, respect for the customer (at least publicly), and a drastic change in the way the company viewed the importance of software and developer’s feedback when it comes to hardware design, something that made the PS4 as we know it possible.
Dan: I couldn’t have said it better myself Seb. The PS3 was Sony’s moment to understand that market loyalty is something that needs to be earned and respected, not abused by blind hope of capitalization and monetization. As much as I would love to say that the lesson was completely learned, and that we will not see similar traits into the future, the PS Vita and it’s memory card situation is a prime example of why we still need to keep an eye on Sony.
But, looking at the PS3 era as a whole, I feel that this will be one of those generations that people look back to with fond memories, as it was able to bring together more people than any console cycle before it and was full of landmark events.
The one thing that I have learned from the PS3 generation was to never underestimate Sony in their abilities to push forward and surprise the industry. As we have thought, year after year that the console had peaked, the PS3 has been able to continually evolve with better titles that show just how much life it has left. So, the one thing that I think needs to be said is that gamers have really gotten their money’s worth this generation and it is impossible to say that we have seen the last of what it has to offer.
2 – How much life do you think the PS3 will have left?
Dan: As I have already said, the PS3 has continued to surprise me year after year, so I cannot say that the PS3 is out of steam just yet. But, with the significant power increase of the PS4, it is going to only become more apparent that AAA titles will find a better home on the next generation of consoles over the next year. So, while the PS3 will still be able to hold out for a few years, as there are still a number of titles in development, I don’t see many major studios starting development after this cycle has run its course.
This of course will not mean that we aren’t going to see any more titles for the PS3, as there are still 80 million of them sold worldwide. I just believe that the PS4’s lack of backwards compatibility will be an issue as we move forward, unless Sony’s streaming service, Gaikai, is able to extend the reach of new PS3 games into the next-gen, we will see a sizable drop off.
One of the other major factors that will push smaller studios onto the PS4, will be the usage of the X86 architecture that has made development significantly easier than working with the PS3’s cell. So, while the PS3 does have enough units out in the wild to keep it alive, I do think that the more PS4s sold, the sooner we can let go and move on.
Seb: So obviously the machine won’t be killed the second the PS4 is out, after all there’s Gran Turismo 6 and South Park still to look forward to, but eventually games will stop coming out on the platform. As long as the install base is there, is active and is buying games, there will be games released – although most of them will be lesser versions of PS4 games.
Interestingly, what we probably won’t see happen is a bunch of indie developers using the platform for low cost development, as devs I’ve talked to have said that making PS4 indie titles is considerably easier and cheaper.
As a PS4 early adopter, I hope that the PS3 gets dropped relatively quickly, so that developers can focus on the true power of the next generation. Some readers will probably disagree for good reason, but the fact is, the sooner the PS3 is dropped, the sooner the PS4 can really hit its stride.
3 – What lessons should Sony take for the PS4?
Seb: In console creation terms, Sony has already learned a lot of lessons. The PS4 is affordable, yet powerful, easy to develop for, released alongside the competition, with plenty of games.
When it comes to things Sony can still change, there’s obviously advertising. While their ads now aren’t as weird as the whole baby thing and similar bizarre commercials, they still suffer from the problem of financing. Microsoft loves to use their deep pockets to get their products selling by plastering them on every wall. Sony, on the other hand, seems to hope that people will do all the work for them.
They also need to ensure they don’t fall back into arrogant ways and start believing everything they do is a divine manifestation of their business nous. Humility is what made the new Sony so much better, so hopefully that doesn’t change, no matter how successful the PS4 is.
Dan: Yeah, the PS3 was a great learning experience as should be obvious by now, but over all of the things that we have seen happen over this generation, nothing stands out more than the number of dead consoles. As the Xbox 360 has become the poster child for broken down systems, many forget that the PS3 has not fared the greatest either. Having gone through three PS3s, and with one that feels like it is on its way out, I do hope that we are seeing a better build from both sides this time around.
The Xbox One looks to be about 80% vents, and looks like it could store the PS4 inside it, making me believe that Microsoft have done everything they can at this point to try and prevent heating problems. The PS4 does not have the same level of ventilation, as it is significantly more streamlined and appears to not need the extra vents. Sadly, it is still too early to say if this was a smart decision by either side, as time will ultimately tell, but I do hope that we see more than a few launch editions make it past puberty this time around.