The PlayStation 4 One Year Later
Well, here we are. It’s been six months since I wrote this article. That means it has been a full year since the release of the PlayStation 4, believe it or not. So we can officially put calling it the “next-gen system” to bed. The PS4 is now securely the current gen. It has sold like hot cakes, which I honestly don’t understand; who the hell is buying all of these hotcakes?
But in all seriousness, it should come as a surprise to no one that the PS4 has built a sizable lead in the sales department over its biggest competitor, the Xbox One. The PS4 came out with a consistent message about its features and pricing, started at lower price, boasted better graphical capabilities, and promised a multitude of fantastic exclusive games. Sure, Microsoft has made a lot of moves to make the Xbox One more marketable, but the fact is the PS4 got off to a hot start and is still steaming along as strong as it has been. But I’m not here to talk about sales. If you really care that much about the PS4 versus Xbox One flame war, head on over to any Internet gaming forum. I guarantee you will find two things there: 1) The most inane, meaningless arguments ever to drift across the surface of this Earth and 2) the last of your hope for the future generations.
But we are veering off course. We are all here to talk about the PS4 and that is what I shall do.
6 months ago I wrote that I loved my PS4. As I write this, I find that is definitely still true. In fact, I find myself logging more hours on the PS4 and less on PC games. Now, this is likely due to the influx of big time console releases, but it’s a trend that is the polar opposite of one I was observing just a few months ago. In fact, through a great deal of the summer, my PS4 was beginning to collect a bit of dust as it was relegated to basic Netflix duties. Tech nerds will know this is perhaps one of the greatest punishments a gamer can inflict on a console. Some may call it cruel and unusual punishment for a poor, poor video game system. I call it fair but firm. You see, for months there was just nothing worthwhile on the PS4. Of course there were a plethora of smaller indie titles and some last-gen remakes being ported to the newer consoles. However, those indie games only entertain for so long and really, who wouldn’t get bored of playing a game that they just beat less than a year ago on another console? That was the story of my PS4 throughout the dog days of summer. I happily gamed the hours away on my PC as the PS4 looked balefully on from across the room.
However, as September neared, the old familiar itch began to reappear. That itch that called for me to grab a controller. You see, the release of Destiny (my most anticipated game of this generation) was growing near. The anticipation for that game was calling me back to the PS4 to ready for hours of shooting kids on the Internet.
September 9. It’s my birthday (yay me) and Destiny is released. When I get home from work, the game is already waiting for me; happy birthday to me! Since that day, any doubts that I may have begun to develop about the PS4 have mostly dissipated. Sure, Destiny wasn’t the greatest game ever made, as many players expected. However, I have been perfectly content to waste way too many hours of my life on it. More friends began to get PS4s and I began to really see what I had been missing all summer. There is nothing quite as satisfying as hopping online with friends, grabbing a cold adult beverage, and kicking some serious ass. Or getting our asses kicked. Whatever.
And now with the release of Grand Theft Auto V on the the current-gen, I have become even more entrenched in the console gaming scene. It turns out I’m not the only one. Let me tell you about my friend Tyler.
Tyler has been a PC gamer pretty much his entire life. He’s put more hours into Counter-Strike and World of Warcraft than I am comfortable disclosing. In fact, he is my go to PC gaming buddy; that’s even how we met. However, after some gentle urging from me, he caved in and purchased a PS4 and Destiny about a month after its release. Even with my head start of a month, Tyler has put about three times more hours into Destiny than I have. Perhaps it is all my fault and I have created a filthy console casual, but I like to think that is just the power of the PS4. A guy who, as long as I have known him, has been all about the PC master race has all of the sudden begun using the PS4 as his go to source of gaming entertainment. The other day, while driving around in GTA Online and causing general chaos, I asked Tyler if he thought we should we hop back on to Day Z soon, as it had been our go to PC game most of the summer. His response? “Naaah.”
So that just tells you a little about how far the PS4 has come this year. My biggest complaint about the console six months ago was a lack of games. It may have taken Sony a few more months to get that issue ironed out, but the last few months have been a boon. A new and much-improved Call of Duty game, a new Dragon Age, Destiny, Shadow of Mordor, a new Far Cry and others have brought the PS4 out of the doldrums. For me at least, it is now the place to be. I am literally crying when I look at my budget to decide what games to buy. And believe it or not, there are more on the way through the first quarter of next year. Too many games for one person to buy is probably the best problem for a console to have. It took a while, but PS4 finally has reached that level.
But let’s not get crazy here; the PS4 still has a little ways to go to fulfill all of the promises that were made when the console was announced. We are still missing some features that have been discussed for months now. New features are added with just about every update, but it would be nice to see Sony have a bit more urgency with rolling out some highly-valued features such as a built in MP3 player. Another lacking area is PlayStation’s subscription service PlayStation Plus. With Plus essentially being required to access online multiplayer for games, it would be nice to see some features available only to Plus subscribers. Of course there is the Instant Game Collection which offers free games every month to subscribers, but I would definitely like to see something more to remind me why I am paying for a yearly subscription service. Sony could perhaps start by removing the PS + ads that are plastered all over the PlayStation Store even if you have already subscribed. It’s an annoyance and completely unnecessary. And of course the PS4 could use some simple improvements to the speed of the user interface and the quality of the server connections.
But really, these are all just pittances. I am still enjoying the hell out of that little black box after a full year with it. We may have had our ups and downs, but our relationship is as strong as ever. In fact, if you’ll excuse me, there are liquor stores in Los Santos that are just waiting to be robbed.