Sony entered the video game industry with the original PlayStation console back in 1994. And to say that it was a success is an oversimplification. The console ushered in a new era of consoles with CDs as the games medium, which gave developers more space to operate.
The PS1 (or PSOne) was succeeded by the PlayStation 2 in 2000, and the console was even more successful. It currently stands as the best-selling dedicated video game console of all time. There were many factors that contributed to the PS2’s massive success. But one of its biggest advantages over the competition was its unparalleled game library. Which, arguably, is still the best even today.
Dedicated gaming platform no more
Another reason for the PS2’s record-breaking sale count was its inclusion of a built-in DVD player. The chance to buy a dedicated gaming platform that also doubles as a platform for movies was just too good to pass up for consumers. And with that in mind, Sony followed up the PS2 with the PlayStation 3 which boasted a built-in Blu-ray player.
That may have been a big mistake. Despite its hardware power that further made gaming a visual treat, the PS3 was marketed more as a Blu-ray player. And this continued to the current PlayStation 4. In a way, this can be seen as degrading.
A dedicated gaming platform, especially one as beastly as the PS4, shouldn’t be placed in the same category as Blu-ray players. It just feels wrong. It sends the message the maybe Sony isn’t really dedicated to their supposedly “dedicated” gaming platform.
Instead of allotting resources, effort and time to the Blu-ray aspect of the PS4 (and the PS3 before it), Sony should have went all-in to the gaming aspect. But thankfully, it looks like Sony has learned their lesson with the upcoming PlayStation 4 Pro, a console tailored more for hardcore gamers.
A change for the better
Unlike the Xbox One S, the upgraded version of the Xbox One, the PS4 Pro does not feature a built-in Ultra HD Blu-ray player. And after Sony finally unveiled the console’s features last September, Microsoft wasted no time in pointing out the Xbox One S’s “advantage” over the PS4 Pro.
Which is ridiculous. Both the Xbox One S and PS4 Pro are dedicated gaming platforms, so why would you boast about something that has little to do with gaming itself? But hey, given the way the original PS4 model has been dominating the original Xbox One in this generation, Microsoft needs all the positive reinforcement they can get.
Yes, the Xbox One S is more “economical” with its physical UHD access. Not everyone has access to a reliable high-speed internet connection and a huge monthly data cap to constantly use streaming services like Netflix, which Sony probably had in mind.
But again: these powerful machines are meant for gaming, right? So they should just stick to what they’re supposed to do and leave it to other gadgets to play movies. Especially with the way smartphones have practically snatched away casual gamers. They can’t afford to get side-tracked with other add-ons.
And with the rising game development costs that resulted in fewer and fewer games between generations, both Sony and Microsoft need to double-down on their true purpose. Instead of looking at other ways to sell their consoles.
Sony has made the move now. Which they will hopefully stick to in the event that the PS4 Pro’s lack of a built-in UHD Blu-ray player proves as a huge turn-off for buyers.
Although it may not be really their intention, Sony’s decision sent the message to gamers that they are done marketing their consoles as movie players and are now focused again exclusively on gaming. Which, as the article title says, is a good thing.
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