Although the Wii U was released a full year ago, many gamers will consider this Friday, November 15, the real kickoff of the next generation of consoles. The PS4 will be in stores by the end of the week and the Xbox One will arrive just a few days later on November 22.
After comparing the new consoles side-by-side and weighing the pros and cons of purchasing a console during its launch, many consumers will be ready to shell out four or five hundred dollars for a new machine this holiday season. According to Sony, shoppers that decide on a PS4 will end up going home with “the most powerful video game console ever created.” A title the manufacturer claims didn’t come to it easily.
That bold claim, made by PS4 architect Mark Cerny in an interview with Polygon, was backed up by an argument that Sony has learned some valuable lessons from the missteps of its most recent console, the PS3. Cerny outlined some of the shortcomings and problems – both on the consumer and developer sides – that the PS3 had to overcome to stay competitive in the market.
“PlayStation 3 really hit a rough patch and a lot of that had to do with — on the consumer side — of the console being so expensive. So we had this goal with PlayStation 4 that we’d be a much more affordable console than PlayStation 3.”
This is one goal that Sony definitely managed to accomplish. The $399 price tag on the PS4 makes the next-gen console $100 cheaper than the 20GB PS3 was at launch in 2006 and $200 less than the 60GB PS3. More importantly, the (arguably) affordable starting price is $100 cheaper than the main competition, the Xbox One. Although consumers have to consider many factors, from exclusive titles to new controller designs, the lower price barrier for entry definitely gives the PS4 an edge for thrifty shoppers.
Cerny went on to detail some of the lessons that Sony learned through its own development partners:
“But on the developer side, PlayStation 3 had a reputation for being very hard to work with. I mean I knew that, I worked on a launch title, and so we wanted to make sure that PlayStation 4 would be smooth sailing, that it would be the sort of thing where you wouldn’t have to learn every detail of the hardware, in order to make a game. That it could be much more about the vision of the director of the title.”
It will be harder to assess how well the architects at Sony accomplished this goal until we see what kind of gaming experiences are delivered on the PS4 over the course of the next year. Exciting exclusive launch titles like Knack and Killzone: Shadowfall are definitely a good start.
Cerny believes that the development team has successfully managed to prepare for the shift in gaming towards DLC and the longer relationships that players have with each game. He hinted that the PS4 will see a “tremendous evolution” in order to keep up with the six-to-twelve month stints that players are spending with games that offer downloadable add-on content.
Do you think the PS4 will really be the most powerful console available, or is Sony is just generating some last minute hype? Sound off in the comments.
PlayStation 4 releases on November 15, 2013.
Follow Denny on Twitter @The_DFC.