It has been two whole years since Sony launched its latest console, the Playstation 4. Can you believe it? Two years already, how the time flies. During this time, Sony has seen huge success with the console; the latest sales numbers have not long come out, and it has sold a whopping 30.2 million PS4 systems, an impressive number that is slightly more than what the PS2 had sold in the same time frame. It has clearly been successful in the sales department, but has it managed to meet the slogans of "Greatness Awaits" and "#4theplayers"?
After a rather dull selection of exclusive titles at launch, with Killzone Shadow Fall and Knack being the only games offered, we have since had a trickle of exclusive titles, including inFAMOUS Second Son, Bloodborne, The Order: 1886, DRIVECLUB and Until Dawn, most of which have received mixed reviews. If you exclude remasters and smaller downloadable indie titles, that is also pretty much every exclusive currently available. If you include Indie titles then the exclusives are in the hundreds. Seriously, go look at the store and see for yourself. Many of these are often overlooked despite there being some fantastic games on offer. Are these enough to hold people over until the big games come though? Probably not. For some, like myself, we have been playing tons of games on a weekly basis while some have been stuck with a dusty console, playing the same game for months on end.
The features of the console have also grown and improved over the two years. Probably the biggest of these was the highly anticipated Share Play feature, a way to allow a friend to take a virtual control over your Dualshock 4 or pass him or her a second controller to play couch co-op online together without your friend even owning the game. It is a fantastic feature, depending on your connection speed, of course. I have not had any issues with it due to my reasonably good internet (40Mbps is pretty good in the UK), but I know a lot of people that can't even use it due to a low speed. So it can be a hit and miss, a great feature but unusable for a large number of people. Since its arrival, I have not really heard anyone mention it, only the occasional whispers, so does anyone actually use the service? Other new features include Groups and Communities, Rest Mode/ Suspend gameplay, Youtube Streaming, Online Storage Increase, and Trophy Screenshots. The vast majority of updates have been for social features like Facebook Friend Finder and Stickers.
Playstation Now was also a huge thing Sony had been planning. It was to be a service where you could stream Playstation 3 games on your Playstation 4, along with a host of other products such as Playstation Vita and even your TV or phone. Last year, the service started to roll out in various countries with the occasional five or six games getting added each month. You pay $19.99/ £12.99 a month and get unlimited access to over 100 titles, almost like a Netflix of gaming, or you can pay a "small" fee to rent the game for either two days, seven days, or one month. This has been met with a lot of negativity, from the average selection of titles available, the price of the monthly fee and rentals, and the inability to play games that you already own digitally for free.
Now, 2016 is the year that looks to really bring the greatness. On the games front, we will have Detroit, Horizon: Zero Dawn, Gran Turismo Sport, No Man's Sky, Street Fighter V and NieR Automata, to name a few. This is already more than we currently have, and some of them look really tasty. PlaystationVR will be arriving, bringing even more games with it, with a lot of people raving about it from playing it at conventions. A new service that allows the emulation of PS2 games is also in the works. We have had a small taste of this in the form of three PS2-era Star Wars games that brings improved graphics and trophy support. Many people had almost forgotten about Sony's plans for his until these games appeared, almost out of nowhere.
Sony may have sold over 30 million but alongside the high sales figure are underused features and services with a slight lack of big AAA exclusive titles. It has gotten slightly better since launch, if only a little. It is almost like a good game that continues to receive small DLC packs and title updates periodically, which is still good, but it longs for that large expansion pack. A strong showing at both E3 and Paris Games Week this year was very good for them, but almost all the announcements they made won't be out for another year.
Have I enjoyed the last two years with the PS4? You're damn right I have. Has it lived up to it's hype? Not quite, but that time is right around the corner. This time next year, I believe that Sony will have finally delivered on that promise of "Greatness." How would you rate the console after its first two years? Have you enjoyed it? Do you wish you held off until it was a bit cheaper and had a larger library?
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