How the PlayStation 3 Won the Current-Gen Console War
Mark Adams / Apr 15th, 2013 83 Comments
There’s no denying it was a slow start for Sony‘s PlayStation 3 console. The console launched over a year after Microsoft‘s Xbox 360, it was way more expensive than its competition and it was in short supply at launch. However, those early adopters knew they were onto something very good, and for many it was the home console of choice.
Forward to over six years since the release and the PS3 is now not only the biggest selling of the two main consoles, but arguably has the best selection of games from both first, third and independent developers. Some see this as a minor miracle. At the beginning, there seemed to be no chance of Sony winning this generation’s console war. However, in true Sony spirit they came, they saw the competition and they conquered. It was a long struggle, but worth it in the end. How did Sony achieve this feat?
For those who stayed through the tumultuous early years, they were greeted with better and better games. When it came to Sony Exclusive titles, the full power of the PlayStation 3 was released. Over the years Sony produced the best looking games on any of the console platforms, with titles such as Killzone 2 & 3, the Uncharted Series (all three pushed graphical boundaries unseen on a console before), the Resistance series (number three being technically uber-impressive), the sensational God Of War 3, Gran Turismo 5, Wipeout HD, Heavy Rain and the stunning MotorStorm series to name just a few. But there is, of course, more to games than graphics, and each of those titles mentioned pushed the relevant genres to further heights. This push allowed console gaming to grow to a level where we expect much more from games now than we ever did before.
It was not just the big titles that pushed limits though, as gamers flocked to obscure titles such as Little Big Planet and chose to download titles from Sony’s ever popular PlayStation Network service such as the PixelJunk releases, Flower, Echochrome 2, Dead Nation and the wonderful Super Stardust HD. For those people looking for a bit of retro-gaming, the PS3 can play PS1 games, and there are many to download on their download service, plus early PS3s played PlayStation 2 games, and now in 2013 there is a great selection of this software to download on PSN.
Quality is always far more important than quantity, and with Sony’s approach to quality software, it has left gamers with a mind-blowing choice of top-notch games that will suit everybody’s taste. Even as this generation comes to a close, Sony and developers writing for the machine are pushing out titles that are proving that there is still plenty of life left in the system.
One of the early criticisms of the PlayStation Network was that it paled in comparison to Microsoft’s Xbox Live. What many people seemed to forget though was that Sony’s offering was totally free, with no subscription and available to everyone upon purchase of a new machine. Over the years though, Sony has been fine-tuning the PSN and their store. For those of us who have seen the PSN since day one, note that the difference now between PSN and Xbox Live is that there really is not any.
For those who play online, they will know that PSN has always been rather robust. Although it lacked some of the features of Xbox Live, it did a good job of allowing players to play online together at no cost. Today, there really is no difference between the two online services, except you have to pay for Xbox Live, and anyone who says otherwise is living in a fanboy-dreamland.
The same can be said for the PlayStation Store. It is now got a huge amount of content, and thankfully due to Sony’s ongoing quality system, the quality of the titles on PSN is unsurpassed. There are quality titles available for every genre, plus genres that we never knew could exist. Looking at the titles on offer on both PSN and Xbox Live, you would be hard pushed to realize which one was the pay service and which one was the free service.
Since its launch though, Sony has released PlayStation Plus which is a brilliant pay service. PS Plus offers an instant collection of various games upon subscription, with many titles discounted to Plus members, and a lot of titles given away free each month, plus free early access to demos and Betas. The positive of it is, that it is optional, you are not forced to pay Sony, and may do so only if you want to enjoy the benefits.
Sony’s PlayStation 3 has been re-designed on a number of occasions, and the latest models are half the size of the original PS3. Of course, just like all console designs, one’s opinion on its aesthetics are totally based on personal opinion. However, taking into account that around the World the PlayStation 3 is outselling other consoles, its newer designs are obviously doing their intended job.
Also on a cost versus cost basis of each console, many people see Sony’s machine as the perfect choice because of its huge hard-drive, great game library, free internet access and so much more. In some territories there are also various coloured consoles available, which of course attract more customers.
Thankfully, Sony did not mess too much with the controller either. The PS3 Dualshock controller still remains a favorite with gamers, with its perfectly formed shape to enable hours of endless gameplay.
There are territories where the PlayStation 3 is not doing as well as the Xbox 360. However, even in these areas the PS3 is selling extremely well. Around the World, the PlayStation brand is as popular as it has ever been, and the success of the PlayStation 3 has shown that you just cannot keep a good console down if the games are there that players want to play.
The future for Sony is looking promising again. After the earlier failure of the PS3, Sony will no doubt ensure that the PlayStation 4 will be the gaming platform of choice for the next generation of gamers.
tags: opinion , ps3 , ps4 , sony