Sunday, 29 June 2014

Sony: Is This for the Players?

Since the launch of the PlayStation 4 Sony's marketing has revolved around the motto "This is for the Players", they have promised exclusive games and a focus on games above all other content. The idea has been to counter Microsoft's all in one entertainment focus. This message has had a strong impact for Sony and the PS4 is outselling the Wii U and Xbox One and is on track to be a roaring success. Despite this their policies and announcements this year for the PS4 and PS Vita have, so far, been horrendous. This piece will be looking at their messaging regarding the Vita and PS4 this year, what I think about it and what I suspect the rest of the year has in store for the company. 

PS4

The year started off pretty quietly for the PS4, there's been a few third party titles but only really one major first party exclusive, which was Infamous: Second Son. This in and of itself is not a bad thing, it pretty much mirrors Microsoft's first quarter and is to be expected during a console's early months. So all eyes looked to E3 to find out what exclusives would be coming from the companies' large stable of studios. This year we get LittleBigPlanet 3 and Driveclub. Racing games have never interested me and in my opinion LBP is only good for multiplayer fun. So really this year holds nothing in the way of first party AAA exclusives for me. So far it's for some of the players. Next year looks a lot better with The Order, Bloodborne and Uncharted but thats next year. What am I supposed to do until then? Don't get me wrong, the third party games look fantastic but a console is supposed to provide exclusive experiences, it's the biggest selling point of a system after all. 

Microsoft knocked E3 out of the park, with plenty of exclusives coming to Xbox this year and plenty coming next year, their conference was more for the players than Sony's. Sony decided to focus more on PlayStation TV and PlayStation Now. The network infrastructure simply does not exist for PS Now to work properly yet and PlayStation TV just seems unnecessary, why would I want it? 

I hope that at TGS and Gamescom they announce plenty of exclusives but I'm worried most of them will be for next year because there just doesn't see to be time for anything else to launch this year. 

PS Vita

The biggest blow Sony dealt to themselves was centred around the Vita. It got a couple of minutes at E3 with no new first party AAA exclusives announced. Also Yoshida has since said that there would be less of a focus on first party content and that indies, Remote Play and PS Now would carry it forward. The problem is there has been months of there being no new first party support, so less essentially means none. Also in the Uk the internet cannot handle streaming games and/or TV out and about so the handheld cannot fulfil its key purpose of being a portable device. Indie games and the flood of quirky and often Japanese AAA games are great, they are fantastic, but they are not enough to support a system. The best games on the Vita have been first party games: Uncharted, Killzone, Wipeout, Tearaway. And these games aren't going to come anymore. 

What does this mean?

Well it means there's not a lot coming in the way of games I want to play, it means Sony see the Vita as an irreversible failure and it means that, unlike Nintendo, they don't know how to make a handheld successful. Blunders like allowing Call of Duty for Vita to be second rate, insisting on expensive memory cards, not making the Vita cheaper at launch and now this have cost Sony dearly and allowed their competitors to trample them. 

My Vita is a brick. There are a lot of games coming to Vita but those I can't get on other platforms simply don't interest me. You may call me narrow minded but that's not relevant. What is relevant is that Sony are allowing services that can't meet their potential in the UK  to be the cornerstone of the system. They are willing to abandon fans at a moments notice and that is a scary thought. 

So 2014, policy and announcement wise, seems to be unworthy of the motto "This is for the Players". How about: "F*** the Players" instead? Because they seem hell bent on doing so. 

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