as one of Sony’s most incredibly successful consoles to do, it’s hard to look at the PS4 and point at any single thing that Sony did horribly wrong. But while the console and its manufacturer took the right decisions most of the time, they weren’t completely infallible over the course of the previous seven years- no one ever is. Sony made a few mistakes with the PS4 that, pleasantly enough, they don’t seem to be repeating with the PS5, at least based on how they’ve operated so far. In this feature, we’re going to be talking about a few such things.
Let’s start with the most obvious talking point here. When the PS4 (and even the Xbox One) came out in 2013, they were rather underpowered pieces of machinery. Sure, they were a step up over their respective predecessors, but their hardware components were rather dated, and both companies decided to build PC boxes that would allow for easier development and cheaper manufacturing rather making bespoke, cutting edge consoles.
That doesn’t seem to be the case this time- with either machine, but let’s stick with the PS5 here. With its SSD, its impressive processor and GPU, its 3D audio engine, and the haptic support and adaptive triggers of its controller, the PS5 is promising to be an impressive piece of machinery that will be a lot more capable of providing actual next-gen experiences than its predecessor was.
Consoles rarely every have great launch lineups these days, and the PS4 looks no different. Sure, there were plenty of major third party cross-gen releases, but other than that, games such as Killzone Shadow Fall and Knack were incredibly disappointing. The PS5 seems to be taking off on the right foot, with the likes of Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Demon’s Souls and Sackboy: A Big Adventure all releasing as its launch titles.
FIRST PARTY’S FIRST YEAR
With the PS4, Sony’s first party lineup truly came into its own, having delivered behemoth titles such as God of War, Uncharted 4, Horizon Zero Dawn, The Last of Us Part 2, and so many others over the years- but they didn’t start out that way. In fact, it wasn’t until Bloodborne in 2015 and then Uncharted 4 in 2016 that we really began to see truly great first party efforts on the PS4.
Thankfully, early impressions make it seem like Sony’s first party studios will be looking to hit the ground running with the PS5. We’ve already spoken about games such as Demon’s Souls and Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, but even beyond those, there are already some major first party releases primed for 2021, including the likes of Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart, Horizon Forbidden West, and God of War’s untitled sequel.
THIRD PARTIES’ FIRST YEAR
It’s not just the first parties who took their sweet time to hit their stride with the PS4 and the Xbox One. The generation as a whole did. That doesn’t mean there were no good games from third parties to speak of in 2013 and 2014, but it was only with games such as Bloodborne, The Witcher 3, and Metal Gear Solid 5 in 2015 that we truly began seeing spectacular third party releases.
Once again though, based on the games that have already been announced, it seems next generation is looking to take off early. In 2021 itself, there are so many major games coming out that look quite promising. Resident Evil Village, Hitman 3, Hogwarts Legacy, Gotham Knights, and so, so many more are primed to release for the next-gen consoles in the coming months, and we couldn’t be more excited.
THIRD PARTY EXCLUSIVES
To be honest, this wasn’t really a “mistake” by Sony in the PS4 years. In an ideal world, third party exclusives would not exist- but hey, if you’re looking at things purely from the perspective of the console and the console manufacturue, it goes without saying that not tapping up major third party games to appear exclusively on your machine for a certain period of time could be a mistake from a business perspective.
With the PS5, Sony are pursuing third party exclusives aggresively. Reports have suggested that they’ve approached all major third parties in the industries with big offers, and it does seem like their efforts are bearing fruit. Games such as Microsoft-owned Bethesda’s Deathloop, GhostWire: Tokyo, and Final Fantasy 16 (of all things) are confirmed as PS5 exclusive releases (and will remain that way for some time after release), and there’s every chance that many more will be announced going forward.
Perhaps one of the single biggest mistakes Sony made with the PS4 (which should tell you how few major mistakes they generally made this generation). Cross-platform play was something companies and developers in the industry were pushing for for a few years, and Sony were the biggest stumbling block for nearly all of them. Thankfully, those walls have been coming down, and cross-play is becoming more and more common. Sony now no longer seem to be insistent on blocking cross-play, and at this point, it almost seems like it might become standard in the industry in a few years.
Backward comptibility is something else Sony have been criticized because of these past few years, with the PS4 being unable to run any legacy PlayStation software (unless it’s been remastered for current-gen hardware, that is), and with Microsoft continuing to make strides in that area. Though Sony are still not doing things in this area on the same level as Microsoft, the PS5 does have backward compatibility with almost the entire PS4 library, and certain games from this library will even be boosted on the PS5 on a system-level. It’s a good start. Hopefully, Sony will continue to emphasize backward compatibility in the years to come, and perhaps make it possible to enjoy more legacy PlayStation content on the PS5.
Who would have thought seven years ago that as the generation was coming to an end, the PS4’s ridiculously loud cooling fan would be one of the things that the console would be most criticized for? Thankfully, it seems like Sony are as sick of that issue as we all area, because they seem to have invested heavily in the PS5’s cooling solution. Based on early impressions, it seems that investment has paid off, too, with the console’s fan and cooling as a whole being described as efficient and quiet. Of course, we won’t know the final results until we’ve used the console ourselves, but the early positive impressions are certainly encouraging.