February 20th, 2013. That was the day that Sony decided to unveil the next generation of their home console. With a huge press conference titled “Playstation Meeting 2013” PlayStation’s top execs unveiled what was to be the future of play in the form of PlayStation 4. A console dedicated to fun and instantaneous access to the content wanted by gamers. Sneak peeks into new tools and features all centered around connectivity and new ways to share experiences. Yet in a move considered strange by most at the time, no console was shown.
In place of hardware, new games with jaw dropping visuals were put on display in order to generate that highly coveted hype cycle. It got people talking, and speculation ensued. Fast forward to June 10th 2013 at the PlayStation E3 Press Conference and all of the hype and wonder reached it’s culmination as the PlayStation 4 (PS4) console was finally revealed with some much sought after answers.
Out of the gate, the PlayStation 4 marketed itself as being everything the Xbox One was not. From it’s lower price point ($399), to its stance against DRM and the blocking of used games. The PlayStation 4 introduced itself as the gamer-centric machine. With its lineup of AAA launch games and strong indie support, the console put its best foot forward and poised itself to make some serious noise in this newest generation of console gaming.
We have now come upon the birthday of the PlayStation 4. November 14th 2014 marks the 1 year anniversary of the PlayStation 4. Let us take a look at these past 12 months and see how Sony’s first year with the PlayStation 4 went.
The Launch Window
The PlayStation 4 was launched on November 14th 2013 at the stroke of midnight during a huge event in New York City. They even went as far as changing the lights on The Standard Hotel so that the building looked like a gigantic PlayStation 4. It was time to see just how real the hype that had been so meticulously generated over the preceding months actually was. After all, the PS4 wasn’t the first console in this latest generation; the Wii U kicked it off a full year before.
Lucky for the PlayStation team they had a record setting start. Sony sold over 1 million Playstation 4s within the first month (sold to consumers, not just shipped to stores).
Despite the strong sales, the Playstation 4’s launch wasn’t blemish free. Issues with the HDMI and the “blue light of death” arose but were quickly addressed and have since quieted down. There were, and still are, quite a few questions about features that were touted during conferences and briefings as being part of the total experience.
At launch the PlayStation 4 had a sort of barebones suite of features. You could play games, access the store, share pictures and videos to Twitter and Facebook, and use a small selection of media applications. Live streaming gameplay was also supported by way of UStream and Twitch though at launch you were unable to archive any streams. That is in addition to no DLNA support, no YouTube support and no virtual controller. Features that were mentioned in the reveal but not ready at launch, or in the case of DLNA support, was missing despite being present on the PlayStation 3.
Sony assured gamers that the missing features would eventually be added, and focused their attention on games instead. The PlayStation 4 received a healthy, diverse collection of games within its first few months. First party releases such as Killzone: Shadowfall, inFAMOUS Second Son, and Knack helped to show off some of the capabilities available in the new hardware. Third party support from big developers helped to round out the offerings with prettier versions of new titles like Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, Need For Speed Rivals, Call of Duty: Ghosts, and Thief.
Smart partnerships with smaller indie developers helped to fill in any gaps left by the AAA titles and allowed for immediate PlayStation Plus offerings. Free-to-play titles Warframe and Blacklight: Retribution provided little to no cost options for players looking to try something new. Contrast, Resogun, Mercenary Kings and more showed dedication to these smaller studios. A move that proved to be vital in the months after the launch window ended.
The PlayStation burst out of the gates at top speed. It was viewed in reverence in comparison to the Xbox One (thanks to its disastrous 2013 E3). But even with all that momentum, there was no guarantee that Sony could keep it up.