Ever since joining the fray with the original PlayStation console two decades ago, Sony has been pretty much unstoppable in the video game industry. Which is pretty impressive considering they were virtually an unknown back then, with Nintendo and Sega hogging the spotlight.
While the PS1 established Sony in the industry as a viable alternative, its successor, the PlayStation 2, cemented Sony’s status as a powerhouse. And with the arrival of the PlayStation Portable, they were able to extend their reach into a territory typically dominated by Nintendo’s army of handheld consoles.
In hindsight, it’s quick to point out that Sony was most dominant in the sixth generation, when the PS2 shooed away the Microsoft Xbox, the Sega Dreamcast and the Nintendo GameCube. Although the PlayStation 3 and PSP tandem in the seventh generation proved formidable, Nintendo eventually won that one with the Nintendo Wii and Nintendo DS combo.
However, as things stand now, it looks like the crown is headed back to Sony HQ in the current (eight) generation. And it’s all thanks to a quartet of products that allows Sony to hit at every angle: the original PlayStation 4, the soon-to-be released PlayStation 4 Pro, the just-released PlayStation VR and the PlayStation Vita & PlayStation TV duo.
PlayStation Vita & PlayStation TV
Let’s start with the “weakest” of the four. Originally released in 2012 in North America, the PS Vita is the most powerful dedicated handheld console out in the market. It is the successor to the PSP and is up against the Nintendo 3DS in this generation.
It has already lost the battle a long time ago due to a lot of reasons, though, with Sony essentially pulling out support for the handheld console. However, it has managed to stay relevant thanks to its relationship with the PS4.
The PS Vita can be used for Remote Play for PS4 games – similar to the Nintendo Wii U’s gamepad, but even better. It has a better display and has a farther range. The PS Vita’s potential is largely untapped, though, so we may never know how truly capable it is with more support.
The PS TV, which was launched in North America in 2014, is like the PS Vita’s big brother. It can run most of the PS Vita’s game library, but in a much bigger screen and makes use of either the DualShock 3 or DualShock 4 controllers.
The PS TV can also be used for Remote Play which transfers your PS4 experience to another TV inside the house. Simply put, the PS TV is what the PS Vita would be like if the latter was a home console.
The PS4 leads both the Wii U and the Xbox One by a mile. Right out of the gate, the PS4 dominated its competition. It was so dominating that it’s only this year that the Xbox One was able to recover, and it required Microsoft to release the Xbox One S just to do so. The Wii U, on the other hand, is still buried underneath the rubble with no chance of recovery.
Thanks to the PS4’s superior hardware power, 1080p console gaming became a reality that produced even more realistic visuals. And while the PS4 is on track to produce even fewer games than the PS3, there are some noteworthy exclusive titles in its game library. Like Bloodborne, Infamous: Second Son and The Witness.
Just recently, the PS4 was treated to the customary “slim” version. Aside from the aesthetic change, the PS4 Slim is still pretty much the same PS4 model with a slightly updated DualShock 4 controller. But who needs that when Sony-approved pro controllers are on the way. Which essentially erases what used to be the Xbox One’s “advantage” over the PS4: the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller.
Even without the other products, Sony would still be the king in this generation. Yes, the PS4 is that good. And the scary thing is that there’s something even better on the way.
PlayStation 4 Pro
The PS4 Pro is an even more beefed-up PS4 (as if its dominance couldn’t be more apparent). The console is the first console ever to go 4K native, thanks to the doubled computing power. It has HDR support, better framerates and supports 4K streaming.
The PS4 Pro shares the game library of the PS4 and will not have exclusive games. Meaning, you don’t have to worry about losing out on PS4-only titles (or vice versa if you prefer the PS4 Slim). To take advantage of the PS4 Pro’s improved hardware, some already released titles will introduce patches that will make the “base” game even better – like the annual sports game NBA 2K17.
You could say that the PS4 Pro is Sony’s icing on the cake, which makes the PS4 brand as a whole stand out even more in this generation. As its name suggests, the PS4 Pro is specifically made for hardcore gamers who want more out of their gaming experience. And the console’s lack of a frankly unnecessary built-in Ultra HD Blu-ray player further backs up that notion.
The PS VR is the first console-based virtual reality headset in the market. And it’s the cheapest one, too, compared to its rivals, the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive. While its output falls a bit short of its PC-based counterparts, the PS VR is a good first step for Sony into the world of virtual reality.
However, the PS VR is able to make up for its relatively lacking power with its excellent lineup of launch games, with more on the way. And the design looks more futuristic and way cooler than the Rift and Vive, too, not to mention more comfortable.
If you’re planning to buy the PS4 Pro and feel like 4K gaming simply isn’t enough for your hungry eyes, then supplementing it with a dash of virtual reality might do the trick. Due to the PS VR’s reliance on the PS4 console, it counts toward Sony’s overall score. You can simply think of it as a PS4 add-on, instead of a standalone virtual reality headset.
With these four products (the PS Vita and PS TV are virtually the same thing), Sony has become the runaway winner in this generation. And it may be their best one so far (no disrespect to the PS2), thanks to the all-around-ness.
- Home console: PS4, check.
- Handheld console: PS Vita, half-check (it’s great for Remote Play, remember?).
- Home console upgrade: PS4 Pro, BIG check.
- “Other” category: PS VR, check-check.
The only thing missing now is a potential game-changing killer app that…Oh, wait. Final Fantasy VII Remake is on the way – an exclusive. Checkmate.
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