By Jared Newman | Thursday, September 9, 2010 at 11:31 am
Sony’s Playstation is making me feel pretty old today, the 15th anniversary of its North American launch. The original Playstation console was released stateside on September 9, 1995. I remember getting one shortly before summer camp, and not wanting to be yanked away.
The milestone comes at a time in the Playstation 3’s console cycle — four years deep — that we usually start hearing about the next generation. But Sony, like its rival Microsoft, is keeping mum, and digging in for the long haul with new technology for the PS3.
One big push for Sony will be 3D, a source of excitement for the electronics industry, but also one of skepticism. The Playstation 3 is moving ahead with 3D gaming as Microsoft carefully waits for 3D adoption to grow (red-blue glasses experiments on the Xbox 360 aside), and Nintendo focuses on the glasses-free 3DS handheld.
Then, there’s motion control. The Playstation Move wand, however more accurate and capable than Nintendo’s Wii, is unquestionably “me-too” technology, and Sony’s goal of bringing motion control to enthusiast gamers is a risky undertaking. As I’ve said several times before, the starting lineup of games for Move and Microsoft’s Kinect aren’t miles ahead of what Nintendo has already done, despite the fancier technology behind them.
Regardless of whether motion control and 3D succeed, Sony has the safety net of its existing console, for which really good games are still the core business (exclusives like Demon’s Souls, Heavy Rain, Uncharted and LittleBigPlanet are among the best games I’ve played this generation). Both technologies would be a lot riskier if they were tied to the Playstation 4 — whenever it arrives — but as extensions of the Playstation 3, they’re just part of the kitchen sink.
Usually, a new console brings a major advancement that wasn’t possible on the old hardware. For the Playstation, it was three-dimensional play, and for the Playstation 2, it was online multiplayer and the power of DVD. The Playstation 3 (and the Xbox 360) added HD graphics, more cohesive online play, downloadable content and digital distribution of games, movies and TV shows.
Add 3D and motion control, and there just isn’t a compelling argument for a new console, aside from better graphics and more processing power. Having seen the likes of Killzone 3, I’ve got no problem with the long haul.