The talk of 2017 has been mostly Nintendo, but trailblazing success also belongs to Sony, which has been exploring new ways to make the PlayStation brand more accessible to all.
Sony has capitalized on every major event this year to promote its activities, with a strong presentation at E3 2017, hands-on with key titles during Paris Games Week, and new game announcements during PlayStation Experience (PSX) that included Firewall Zero Hour for PSVR and MediEvil Remastered. Glimpses of forthcoming flagships such as Hideo Kojima’s Death Stranding, and Santa Monica Studio’s God of War have kept the newswires buzzing.
Going into 2018, Sony is in a great position to captivate new and existing audiences alike.
PlayStation 4 sales top 70 million
Sony has sold over 70.6 million PlayStation 4 consoles to customers since the November 2013 launch until December 3, 2017. Equally impressive is how PS4 enjoyed the biggest November to date in 2017 in North America, with Black Friday boosting those numbers.
PlayStation 4 has been on a record-breaking trajectory since shipping 9.7 million units between October and December in 2016, the best performance in PlayStation history.
The press release from Sony Interactive Entertainment also pointed to more than 617.8 million copies of PS4 games sold at retail stores and digitally via PlayStation Store as of December 3, 2017. This equates to an average of 8-9 games purchased per console.
It took PlayStation 2 a little under six years to reach the 100-million milestone, achieving that number by December 2005. PS2 went on to sell over 150 million consoles worldwide.
The software driving PS4 sales through 2018 include Spider-Man, God of War, Monster Hunter World, The Last of Us II, Red Dead Redemption 2, and Detroit: Become Human.
Monster Hunter World heads to PS4
Although the same experience is headed to other formats in early 2018, news of any new Monster Hunter game was always going to raise the roof. That Monster Hunter World is bringing a living ecosystem to life across a colossal map, seamlessly explored, was music to the ears of fans who’ve been patiently waiting since Monster Hunter Portable 3rd on PSP.
The trailer shown during Sony’s E3 2017 press conference was stupefying, being the first full-blown iteration since the PSP visuals of 2011. Of course, the tech is leagues ahead of anything that Sony portable was capable of, but also the method in which players stalk and take down their prey, combining stealth with cunning traps, were wonderful and inspiring.
In November, it was announced that PlayStation Plus subscribers would gain exclusive access to the Monster Hunter World beta taking place during December. Sessions running through 9-12 December received positive feedback, leading to another invitation from 22-26 December by popular demand. The game is scheduled for release on January 26, 2018.
Detroit: Become Human delights
Quantic Dream’s riff on Philip K. Dick’s ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?’ has already attracted controversy, owing to its scene portraying domestic abuse. Inaugural hands-on sessions during Paris Games Week have also pointed to the game really testing the nerves. Really, the more we hear about Detroit: Become Human, the more it grabs our attention.
Ultimately, we have high expectations of Quantic Dream, whose previous output includes the seminal Heavy Rain, and Beyond Two Souls. While it certainly conjures up Blade Runner, and echoes the augmentation motif of the Square Enix sci-fi opus Deus Ex, Detroit will be a game about experiencing consequences, rewarding anyone that adores superior narrative.
Detroit: Become Human has been assigned a spring 2018 launch window, as announced during Paris Games Week, spearheading Sony’s first-party exclusives for a compelling year.
PlayStation VR roster
Sony’s belief in VR is starting to make it feel like a success, and it’s not just down to the platform-owner’s required level of support. PlayStation VR occupied a sizeable slot during the E3 2017 conference, and some of the titles have already made their way to market.
Bethesda’s The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR led the charge in November, adding new life to the full adventure, plus DLC, that first wowed audiences in 2011. More RPG-related activities arrived later in the month with Monster of the Deep: Final Fantasy XV from Square Enix, a standalone, scenic fishing trip featuring Noctis and friends. DOOM VFR arrived in December, to rave reviews from critics and users. There are already enough reasons to take the plunge, and more inbound such as Bravo Team and The Inpatient from Supermassive (Until Dawn).
PSVR’s biggest success, however, has been selling the experience as uniquely appealing. Games such as Moss from Polyarc, in which you play a valiant mouse, being a fine example.
PlayLink for PlayStation 4
Unveiled at E3 2017, out in the wild since the summer, Sony’s “new way to play” involves connecting phones or tablets to PS4 for party time on the TV. The comedy quiz game That’s You!, launched July 5, takes its cue from The Jackbox Party Pack, popular on PC since 2014. Sony’s take invites six players to use the touch-screen and camera functions of devices to pose for selfies, and doodle to score the most points based on how your friends see you.
Sony says the forthcoming line-up will grow to include gritty crime thrillers alongside quick-fire quizzes, with the aim of enticing folk who may not usually volunteer to play console games. Almost anyone feels comfortable swiping and pinching to manipulate visuals on a touchscreen. The enduring stigma attached to holding a DualShock is no longer an issue.
The current line-up includes: Knowledge is Power, Hidden Agenda, Planet of the Apes: Last Frontier, and Frantics, with prices around $20. Singstar is currently available for free.