20 Years On: and PlayStation is Still Going Strong
It’s been two decades since Sony unleashed the PlayStation onto the world, with its glitzy, high fidelity CD player, revolutionary 3D graphics, hip soundtracks and (shock horror!) games intended to be played by adults.
Major titles like futuristic racer Wipeout established the post-pub multiplayer game, with its banging dance tunes and trippy visuals. Tomb Raider inspired lad’s mag readers everywhere. And Metal Gear Solid showed newcomers to games just how powerful (and unhinged) storylines in games could be.
For many of you tech nerds, the PlayStation will be the first memory that got you into gaming. What’s more, it was the first time when playing games wasn’t the reserve of spotty geeks or kids. The likes of Lara Croft and Solid Snake were bona fide cool creations.
But the powerful grip of the PlayStation isn’t quite what it used to be. As Microsoft gained a foothold in the market with the Xbox, real viable competition suddenly threatened its dominance. Sony might have been able to knock out Sega with a shrug of its shoulders, and court a different audience to Nintendo, but Microsoft have refused to give up without a fight.
The PlayStation 4, then, has a long battle ahead of it if it wants to maintain Sony’s reign for another two decades. And it’s a fight that, so far, it’s winning this generation.
Booting up the machine (which does admittedly resemble a cinder block) has the slick feel of a pro welcoming you back into this fold. As a writer who missed the previous generation of consoles entirely, it’s a reassuring feeling when you switch on a machine and feel the quality emanate from the screen.
Everything in Sony’s latest effort is crammed with potential. The touchpad on the controller opens a new array of play options for forthcoming titles, while the speaker embedded in the controller adds a fresh sense of immersion to those long evenings glued to GTA and hundreds of other PlayStation 4 games.
The presentation is seamless, with a solid refinement of the user interface. You’ll be able to crack open Spotify, stick on your favourite tunes and play Pro Evo without any lag. The social aspect of the machine has also been pushed to the fore of the playing experience, with video streaming site Twitch coming on board to let viewers broadcast their games.
20 years ago, Sony hit the big time with the PlayStation. But the fourth console has blown previous iterations out of the water. While the graphical improvements haven’t changed much since the PS3 days, the sleek presentation and seamless integration of social tools has made it invaluable. What a difference 20 years makes, eh?