I remember it as if it were yesterday, three pieces of a hype train that soon derailed off the track. First was the Sony press conference in February of 2013. I listened to it in the background as I did some packing in the process of moving from South Korea back to Canada. The PS4 was announced, and I had some good feelings from it. Next came E3, where I was sitting in my tiny, Japanese teacher’s office watching the press conferences and videos from the event. My hype for the PS4 was off the map as best described in this article. Finally, there was the Tokyo Game Show 2013, where I got to bask in the greatness. Knack, #Driveclub, Deep Down, Resogun, all were fun demos that were in various forms of playability, just to name a few.
The PS4 was released in North America in November 2013. Now, a year and a half later, I sit here thinking, “Huh, that sure turned into a bust of a year.” I got to thinking about this when talking with my friend who attended TGS with me that year. Looking through the list of games we were hyped for, gave awards for, most of them turned out to falter,#Driveclub; not live up to public expectations, Knack; or were not exclusive or even on the PS4, Lightning Returns, Titanfall, Yakuza: Ishin.
It is a year and a half later and I’ve still not bought a PS4. I joke with that same friend I’m more likely to buy a hard drive upgrade to my PS3 before getting a PS4. The reason is simple, and I think people will agree with it. There are no exclusive games. Almost everything will be multi-platform, and yes, I consider the PC a platform.
We are living in an age of gaming where there is a deluge of gaming consoles. There are simply too many, one too many. I am loyal to the games, not the system. As Nintendo gave up on making the games I prefer to play, I gave up on them and gravitated to the PlayStation. The Dreamcast was the only exception of a console I bought not called PlayStation since the PS1. But as of this moment, what separates the PS4 from the Xbox One? Not much, and that is a sad thing. Even an ‘exclusive’ like Street Fighter V is not exclusive, as it will be on PC. So what is exclusive, special about the PS4 that says to me I need to buy it now?
Not caring about graphics to the point of buying a remaster of a game already owned—see every PS4 remaster—we still live in a world where companies produce cross-generational games. I’m excited for Persona 5, but I have a PS3. I’m excited for Yakuza 5, but that is PS3 exclusive. I don’t even have The Last of Us yet, but that is on PS3 when I decide the price is right. If anything, Microsoft has given me more incentive to buy an Xbox One with backwards compatibility. Not having owned a 360, I can buy cheap, exclusive 360 games for the newest generation? How is that not a coup? Add in companies deciding to continuously chop up parts of their game into DLC, and reasons keep piling up not to upgrade.
People will rightly point out titles like Bloodborne, Killzone, Uncharted 4, Infamous, The Last Guardian and Disgaea 5, all exclusives for the system that have been released or in the pipeline. I have a simple rule of thumb when it comes to buying a console. Do the combined prices of games I want to buy equal, or exceed, the price of the console? If yes, I find more space on my tower of systems. If no, we continue our game of wait and see. Of that list, Disgaea 5 is the only one I have any interest in. RPGs and strategy games are what get me to sit down at the TV screen, thus why I’ve never bought a Gamecube or Xbox 360, and why my N64 was ditched for a PS1.
Soon the clock will tick November, and I’ll have gone a second year without buying a PS4, and that is fine. Sony and 3rd party companies have given me zero reason to buy one right now. They’ve given me more than enough incentive to stick with the PS3 until companies stop cross-generationizing their new products. If anything, they have given me more exclusives on the Vita to pursue, thus making the giant lead the PS4 has in the marketplace even more spectacular.