I’ve always had an unconditional love for PlayStation, through their missteps, through their triumphs, through it all. Believe me, I know how idiotic it sounds for a billion-dollar faceless company to invoke an emotion in me, nonetheless, Sony’s PlayStation brand does. But at this point I’m not so sure that faceless is the proper adjective to describe PlayStation, and recently, my infatuation was reaffirmed when Shuhei Yoshida, Sony’s Worldwide Studios SVP, appeared on the PlayStation blogcast, episode ninety-nine to detail his top ten games of the generation. Ryan Clements, a PlayStation community manager, teased the episode previously on Twitter, stating Shuhei Yoshida had shared something special with the crew. My curiosity was peaked.
Was he going to share? A new game? A price cut for the PS3? The PS Vita Slim coming to North America? The answers are No; no and no. What I got was something a bit more genuine. More sincere. While majority of the podcast was your run of the mill countdown, the ending is what stands out the most. Journey took the top spot on Shuhei’s list — rightfully so. Accompanying Shuhei’s pick was an anecdote, “..and, uh, one of the things Jenova talked about at one of the speeches at DICE was how he had gotten a letter from a girl who had lost her father, but during the process of her father dying she was playing Journey, and she said that she was going through the Journey, ya know, with her father, and she was able to kinda overcome the, um, difficulties,” said Shuhei shakily through tears. Wow. Imagine me at work expecting a game announcement and getting this. A Senior Vice President at one of the most influential electronics companies in the world moved to tears, not because some game didn’t move the expected units, or Q3 sales were low, but because a game he was tangentially involved in was able to help someone cope. PlayStation may be faceless, but Shuhei is evidence it is far from heartless.
Sony’s heart seems to be indie games at the moment. This topic has been talked about at length, and for good reason. Indies could be the future of the industry. Personally, when I think about what games I actually finished and enjoyed this year, a good portion of them are of the indie ilk. Journey is the perfect example of where I hope Sony is dedicating a good portion of their resources to. Nonetheless, the cynicism and skepticism that runs through my old veins tells me this isn’t because Sony truly loves indies, but because they see the potential of low investment games like Minecraft turning into huge success. Shuhei’s tears are the perfect cure for that, and confirmed my bias for PlayStation.
Yes, PlayStation has been getting a lot right, recently. Adapting to where the market is going with the content they are providing on their platforms, but also, how they are treating consumers.
I remember buying Socom 4 during the infamous PlayStation Network outage of 2011. Solemnly thinking to myself, “I will never buy another f&$cking thing from PSN again!” Time has made me a hypocrite, because as of right now I am playing Hotline Miami running on my PlayStation Vita in my lap, downloading Ni no Kuni on my PlayStation 3 and queuing up Doki Doki Universe on my PlayStation 4. No need to point out the obvious, all three of these things at once is a bit, how do you say, excessive? Yes, very, very excessive. Yet, through some foreign form of wizardry Sony has created this rich ecosystem with a breath of content and I just can not stop spending money.
Crossbuy happens to be one of my favorite things to grace any console ever. I am naturally a lazy person, not bad hygiene lazy, but the idea of getting up to change a disc, or even going into a different room to play a game is a massive undertaking after a day work. Thankfully, Crossbuy enables me to do as little as possible. For example, I recently purchased Doki Doki Universe (review coming soon), and it came with a copy for my PS3, Ps4, and Vita. I’ve played that game across all three of those platforms purely because it is possible. Convenience is important to consumer satisfaction, and Sony making it easy for me to enjoy games across all of their platforms for one price can not be understated. It needs to become the standard to which digital media is handled. Sure, not every game is going to be Crossbuy, but for the steadfastly approaching digital future consumers have to trust companies. That trust can be gained right now with late adopters whom may be hesitant to buy content on PS3, because of the lack of backwards compatibility on PS4. Crossbuy solves this issue, and is one of the reasons I feel comfortable investing in their ecosystem.
PlayStation Plus has single handedly postponed my PS3 inevitably becoming obsolete. Ni no Kuni for $9.99? Sure, I’ll buy that. Borderlands 2 for free? Add that to the cart too. Tuesdays have become a personal holidays to me, patiently waiting for Sony to tell me what goodies I can buy at a discounted price. If Valve’s Steam has proven anything, it has proven that people will spend money on digital games if they are priced appropriately. Sony, admittedly behind, is catching up surprisingly quickly. The next-gen will be one with services, and PlayStation Plus, at this point and time, seems to be becoming the industry standard in the console space. To me, PlayStation Plus is the embodiment of Sony; Great games, great deals, no hassle.
From Shuhei to PSN Sony is nailing everything at the moment. They lost their way for awhile, and seemed archaic in the way they were operating, but now PlayStation is back in full stride, and my inner fanboy is doing back-flips.