A warning to Sony

The PlayStation 4 lacks the flair of its predecessors.

Ronald Dixon

 

Last week, Sony announced the release of the PlayStation 4 for the 2013 holiday season.

The console will include the DualShock 4 controller with a built-in microphone, more online and social integration and updated hardware. Sony has yet to release the actual console, though, which leaves much to the speculative imagination.

I’ve been a Sony fan since I was first introduced to the PlayStation around 1997, only a few years after its inception. Since then, I have played all of the consoles, including the short-lived PlayStation Portable .

Although I welcome the news of the new eighth-generation console, I have some concerns about Sony’s future.

Let us analyze the timeline of the transitions between generations for the entertainment company. The release of the PS1 was the first popular, stand-alone console to have the capacity to read CD-ROMs, including music CDs. The PS2 popularized the use of DVDs, both as game and movie mediums. The PS3 utilized Blu-ray discs, online stores and media that almost made it synonymous with a home computer.

What about the PS4?

Although Sony’s next eighth generation console has updated capacities and technologies, it, as of today, lacks the flair that the previous consoles delivered. There is nothing particular that distinguishes the PS4 as the next great console. This could pose trouble for the company, given the fact that Microsoft, which currently owns the greatest stake within the video game market, is planning on releasing their eighth generation console during the holiday season as well.

Sony has only one chance to shine, and if they fail, they could potentially follow in the footsteps of Sega, a video game company that downgraded to third-party productions due to the failures of its fifth generation console, the Sega Saturn. It lacked the flair of its predecessor, the Sega Genesis (“Sonic the Hedgehog,” anyone?), and not even the release of its relatively popular Dreamcast could save them from the debt caused by the Saturn. In order to regain control of the video game market, Sony should focus more on flair and innovation. Sony has one shot to prevent the emulation of Sega.