Playstation: Heading back to its roots

Article by Shawnee Lee

In the beginning, companies like Nintendo sat on the throne of video games. Then another Japanese giant called Sony appeared. The giant produced its own console called the PlayStation in 1995. Sony and PlayStation are household names today, thanks to the PlayStation and PlayStation 2. Gamers loved them both, but it wasn’t mainly due to the ability to play music or DVDs. They loved both because of the numerous AAA titles. Games such as Metal Gear Solid and Final Fantasy X were enough alone for some consumers to purchase the consoles, other less noted video games like Crash Bandicoot and Rogue Galaxy were a bonus; icing on the cake. Because of this, Sony dominated the system wars for two generations. They look to do the same in the coming years, to go back to the roots of what made the PS1 and PS2 great, which is games. However, the light dimmed with the release of the PS3.

Confident, Sony launched the PlayStation 3 in 2006 at a cost of $500 to $600. Gamers, the people who came to have faith in the PlayStation name, were stunned. How could they do this? How could they release a video game system for half a grand? Plus, at the time the PS3 lacked the standout exclusives and services it possesses now. The lack of good software at launch was enough for people to consider other options.

The PlayStation name lost support and reputation, but most importantly it lost its long term customers. The same folks who purchased PS1s and PS2s forsook the PS3 and went into another direction. In addition, the console had series once only on PlayStation now developed for the opponent’s machines. Games such as Final Fantasy XIII can be enjoyed on Microsoft’s Xbox 360.

It is now December 2011, 5 years since the launch of the PlayStation 3. The entertainment system is doing well, software and hardware sales have increased dramatically since 2006. In fact, PS3 is now within striking distance of the Xbox 360, in terms of units sold. Exclusives such as Uncharted and Killzone and free services like PlayStaton Network have contributed to the rise of the late blooming console.

2011 was not solely the year of the PlayStation 3. The sequel to the PlayStation Portable, PlayStation Vita, was named and confirmed. However, there is a big difference between the PS Vita and the PS3, excluding the type of gaming system they are. The PS3’s focus was being multi-talented, and it shows. The PS3 can not only play video games, but you can pop in a Blu-Ray disc and watch a movie in high definition. You can also stream Netflix, store pictures and music, and more. The PlayStation 3 was very versatile, but not strongest in one thing. In other words, Sony’s third child was a jack of all trades, but master of none.

What is the focus of the PS Vita, you ask? The creators have already answered: video games. Sony has declared that the PS Vita will be a gaming system first, and multi entertainment unit second. What is the difference? It is simple: The PS Vita may not be the best movie player on the go, but it will give you the games you want. Because the PS Vita will be video game concentrated, the efforts for quality software will and are showing. Take a look at the PS Vita’s launch lineup! What’s mind blowing is that the vast amount of titles available at launch means that the circumstances can only get better for the PS Vita!

The PlayStation Vita is on the right track. The PS Vita is a hot item and a lot of people are interested, including some disappointed PSP owners. The little machine will most likely have success and may even help Sony dethrone the handheld king: Nintendo.

What does it say about Sony? It tells me they have learned their lesson and are heading back to the roots that made PlayStation successful: games. A variety of excellent software is what defined PlayStation, not the variety of entertainment capabilities. That is what the PS1 and PS2 shared and what will make the PS Vita a hit.

On numerous websites, rumors are floating around that Sony is developing the PlayStation 4. Will it be versatile like the PS3 or video game centered like the PS Vita? Only Sony knows. The collective wish of most gamers, including myself, is for PlayStation to return to its roots: the roots of an outstanding video game library.