There’s one very important thing that Sony has historically been better at than either Xbox or Nintendo: long term support of their systems. Well, consoles, at least (Sony’s track record at support of any kind for their other projects is a bit spotty, to put it kindly). The PlayStation and PlayStation 2 were supported for years after their successors hit the market (which is in part responsible for their record breaking sales), the PS3 transitioned to the PS4 with arguably its strongest year on the market, and now, the PS4 looks to be doing the same.
This year, the PS5 will be launching, but the PS4 is simply not slowing down. In fact, there is a very valid argument to be made that this might be the strongest year the console has had on the market yet. A confluence of timing and circumstances, as well as an overlap of long awaited first- and third-party projects all launching together, has come together to deliver the perfect storm.
I don’t really need to, but I will. Let’s do a list. We are looking at Final Fantasy 7 Remake, Resident Evil 3, DOOM Eternal, Nioh 2, Yakuza 7: Like A Dragon, Persona 5 Royal, Watch Dogs Legion, Gods and Monsters, Tales of Arise, Elden Ring, Cyberpunk 2077, Dreams, Ghost of Tsushima, and, of course, The Last of Us Part 2. Like, whew lads, is that a strong lineup right there. It’s the kind of thing you expect from a console in the prime of its life, not one that is about to give way to a successor in just a few months. Incredibly enough, a fair few of those – possibly the games that are likely to be the best of those, in fact – are going to be exclusive to the PS4.
It’s truly marvelous, and raises the notion that the PS4’s final year before its successor may actually be the best a console has ever had. It’s not like competition there is very tough. The only past console that’s in the conversation is the PS3, and yes, the PS3 had a hell of a last year, with God of War Ascension, Rain, Puppeteer, Beyond Two Souls, Bioshock Infinite, Grand Theft Auto V, Gran Turismo 6, and of course, The Last of Us. But the thing is, that lineup basically boils down to The Last of Us and GTA, and while those are great games, among the best ever, even, even they cannot stand up to the combined onslaught of what is due for the PS4 this year. I think the argument is a fair and true one: the PS4’s final year is the best one a console has ever had.
This, more than anything, speaks to the reason that Sony is so consistently successful, and is able to weather so much controversy and furore, that might take others down: because in the end, they deliver the core product anyone engaged with the medium cares for: video games. Buying a PlayStation means you are consistently assured a list of great games, for years, and that you won’t have a shortage of new things to play just because there’s something new on the horizon. Sony might be pissing people off because of the PS5 logo, or the fact that they are skipping E3, or because they haven’t said a word in what feels like ages, or whatever, but their core audience has no choice but to be happy, because when it comes down to it, Sony is delivering on the one thing that matters more than anything: games. A lot of them. Great ones. Consistently.
This is the reason Sony’s fans are so engaged, and the reason they are so willing to follow Sony through the console market in record-breaking numbers, because Sony has earned that loyalty and trust. Keeping their fans happy and engaged with great games this year is likely going to be instrumental in transitioning them to the PS5 in great numbers come later this year.
To the competition’s credit, it seems like they have caught on to the importance of this kind of long term support too. Microsoft, for example, not only has a great year planned for the Xbox One this year, with numerous exclusives (Ori and the Will of the Wisps, Flight Simulator, Gears Tactics, Tell Me Why, and of course, Halo Infinite), but also benefits from most of the third party games Sony is getting, as well as some great belated Japanese support. Not only that, but they have also confirmed that all first party games will continue to launch on Xbox One and Xbox One X for the next couple of years, even after the Series X is out. Which means, put simply, you’re not being cut off simply because you didn’t spend a lot of money to upgrade to the latest and greatest: you’ll still get all the new Microsoft games for the foreseeable future.
Nintendo, too, has understood this, and has even been acted on it, almost to a frustrating degree. The Nintendo 3DS has been supported for years after the Switch released (in fact, the Switch is now three years old, and the 3DS is still technically being supported by Nintendo). Nintendo launched multiple high profile 3DS exclusives even after the Switch launched: Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia, Metroid: Samus Returns, Pokemon UltraSun/UltraMoon, Luigi’s Mansion, Yoshi and Poochy’s Woolly World, WarioWare Gold, Mario and Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story, in addition to 3DS/Switch multiplats such as Sushi Strikers or Captain Toad, not even counting third party fare such as Monster Hunter Stories or Radiant Historia, or the flood of Etrian Odyssey games Atlus keeps launching on the thing. That might have been frustrating for a lot of people, who wanted to experience these games on their shiny new Switch, but Nintendo understood the importance of making sure that someone who had bought the 3DS recently wouldn’t feel jilted.
So yes, the good news is the competition has caught on to this, which can only be a good thing for the long term health of their systems. The bad news is that for now, they are nowhere close to meeting Sony’s bar, which has just been raised even more. Maybe in the future, we will be marveling at how great the final year for the Switch is, for example, but right now, there’s a light year wide chasm separating Sony from the rest on this front.
Note: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, GamingBolt as an organization.