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In Retrospect, Maybe The PS4 Launch Lineup Wasn't So Bad

I was one of many to call out Sony for delivering another lackluster launch lineup for a new PlayStation console.

However, hindsight is 20/20 and I'm starting to think that such a lineup wasn't so bad. In fact, it really could've helped Sony reach that fantastic 4.2 million number in only about 6 weeks.

Think about it for a second: Core gamers were a little disappointed in the supposedly top-tier exclusives, Killzone: Shadow Fall and Knack (and Driveclub was delayed). They had every right to be disappointed, too, especially if their expectations were unfortunately through the roof. Although Shadow Fall was a solid, entertaining shooter and unfairly chastised in many reviews, it still wasn't up to par. Remember, the previous two installments had set the bar awfully high. Knack was fun but still surprisingly bland and bare for a fancy new PS4 title. Some can call it old-school; I can call it a missed opportunity.

But we keep forgetting that the majority of game consumers these days can be considered "casual" or, at the very least, part of the mainstream crowd. Such mainstream games are part of the biggest franchises in the world, and three of them had new installments for the next-gen console launches: Call of Duty, Assassin's Creed and Battlefield, not to mention a couple stellar sports games in NBA 2K14 and FIFA 14. Exclusive? No. Specifically designed for the new hardware? Nope. Just shinier versions of what had been released several weeks earlier for the PS3 and 360. However, the massively widespread appeal of those games can't be denied.

Lastly, we shouldn't forget that if you tallied up the total amount of content and gameplay available in those huge titles, third-party though they may be, you're talking about countless hours. Online multiplayer galore, seasons to be played, and a gargantuan, hugely addictive world to explore. It's not like before, where we'd get underwhelming titles that only lasted a set amount of time. We're dealing with the biggest franchises in gaming today and despite not offering much of anything new, they do offer tremendous bang for your buck. There's just no missing that fact.

Therefore, in retrospect, I'm not sure the PS4 sold so well in spite of the launch software lineup. I'm thinking it might've sold that well because of the launch lineup, believe it or not.

Tags: ps4, playstation 4, ps4 sales, ps4 launch games

1/8/2014 10:38:54 PM Ben Dutka

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Comments (38 posts)

bigrailer19
Wednesday, January 08, 2014 @ 11:02:55 PM
Reply

I think it's a combination of two things. First being the launch lineup. Not that people went out and bought it to play CoD because I don't believe that's the case. But bought it because CoD, BF and then some stellar exclusives were available as well. They have plenty of reason to buy it. The launch lineup is actually fantastic. There's a racing game, FPS games, Sports games, a fighter, Action games, a platformer, an MMO, and the list can continue. People knew that would have options.

Second it sold and is selling well because Sony did their due diligence and listened to what GAMERS and developers wanted. The combined the best things about the PS3 with a console that caters to the true demographic, the majority. Not the casual and people who want it because you can talk to it.

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Xombito
Wednesday, January 08, 2014 @ 11:31:03 PM

Let's not forget the free to play games. Despite what some people may think of f2p games, Warframe, Blacklight and DC online are fun for what they are and there is plenty to play even without paying for extra items or content. And no mention on Resogun?

Last edited by Xombito on 1/8/2014 11:33:09 PM

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slugga_status
Thursday, January 09, 2014 @ 12:49:53 AM

Haven't tried blacklight yet..but like warframe a lot

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bigrailer19
Thursday, January 09, 2014 @ 11:03:43 AM

Oh yeah absolutely. I could have listed them all but I think the point came acrossed. I thought of DC Universe when I said an mmo.

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WYO1016
Thursday, January 09, 2014 @ 12:40:22 PM

The free to play games are fantastic! I think I've spent more time with Warframe and DCUO than I have with Killzone.

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Norrin Radd
Wednesday, January 08, 2014 @ 11:03:11 PM
Reply

Interesting take. And I bet having BF & CoD didn't hurt in helping a lot of former 360 owners to take the leap over.

Yeah - lots of content available. And outside of 3 shooters - a lot of variety in game types as well.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, January 08, 2014 @ 11:06:19 PM
Reply

I think that in full context it was still a poor lineup. Yes if you include cross-gen games it looks as good or better than previous launches but PS4 was in development for an extra long time. It should have launched with a game in all the major genres.

PS owners are often older or campaign focused and thus not as prone to putting all eggs in the basket of multiplayer, so if you've finished the games you were interested in at launch now you're looking at months of trying to survive on cheesy indie games. Or going back to PS3, which I'll be doing.

I don't think the software sold the system this time. I think the price, praise, promise, generational fatigue and hardware itself sold the system.

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Highlightreel
Thursday, January 09, 2014 @ 12:35:47 AM

What he said. Exactly.

Stay Classy PSX...

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telly
Thursday, January 09, 2014 @ 11:00:29 AM

I disagree. Need for Speed, Killzone and Resogun were all quite good. I think there's a tendency to expect something mind-blowing at launch, but that's actually quite rare. And there was definitely something for everyone, which I think of course helped the lineup appeal to more folks. In no way, shape or form would I consider it a "poor" lineup.

The best launch lineup ever? No! But a great introduction to this wonderful new piece of hardware we have.

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telly
Thursday, January 09, 2014 @ 11:03:47 AM

Oh, but to be clear, I do agree that I'll be going back to PS3 now and then. It's just a fantastic system with tons of great games. And they continue to release fantastic stuff over PS Plus free or at a great discount. I'm planning to play some online Dungeons and Dragons this weekend, after I picked up the game for $3.50 the other day :)

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, January 09, 2014 @ 11:28:14 AM

It doesn't really matter how good they were if there's just a few of them.

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rogers71
Friday, January 10, 2014 @ 11:57:48 AM

I agree with World. I bought the PS4 on Day 1. I played through KZ and COD. Since about the middle of December, my PS4 has sat idly by while I have been enjoying GT6. I won't turn on the PS4 again until something I want to play comes out. I am looking forward to Daylight, Outlast the new Alien looks good. I haven't heard anything else about The Witness. That game was being touted as launch title by some and has went completely silent since.

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xenris
Wednesday, January 08, 2014 @ 11:41:22 PM
Reply

I still think Knack is a pretty great game. I actually find myself going back to it.

I too see where they missed a lot of opportunities, for example there could have been more challenging and varied platforming puzzles, environmental puzzles, and like different knack based puzzles and problem solving. The combat could have been a combo or two deeper as well.

But I think knack has soul, this charm to it. It is very solid, and it has this world that is incredibly interesting.

Hoping it gets a sequel that realizes all the potential that I saw in the first game.

I think that in general the launch was fine. It could have been stronger, but there is enough here to keep us busy until spring.

Plus all those PS3 games coming out too :)



Last edited by xenris on 1/8/2014 11:42:20 PM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Thursday, January 09, 2014 @ 12:40:56 AM

I'm sorry, but one of the biggest problems with Knack is that it absolutely does NOT have soul or charm. It's supposed to but it's so flat, the characters are so under-developed, and the story is so predictably childish, that we're just bored.

The world isn't interesting at all; it's the same set of linear paths with a different cosmetic coating, and the same goes for the enemies. You use the same set of basic attacks and skills the ENTIRE game. In anything else, everyone would be screaming that it's broken.

But because Knack has sort of old-school "charm," people are just way, way too forgiving.

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xenris
Thursday, January 09, 2014 @ 11:26:10 AM

I'm not even going to waste time with the first sentence you wrote other than charm and soul is subjective, and we can agree to disagree here. Moving on.

I think the characters worked for what it was. If you are going to compare the characters and story to TLoU then your always going to be disappointed lol. For what we got it worked, the characters moved the plot along and I was actually interested in what was behind the door, and wanted to know who built this stuff. I was genuinely interested in the lore of the world. TLoU ending and story had predictable moments, that doesn't prove anything.

As for your argument on gameplay, the same could be said for each and every triple A shooter that came out last generation and even on the next gen consoles. Shooters are just shooting galleries, with different coats of paint to cover up the fact that you are just shooting dumb AI. The single player in CoD for the last 5 or so games has been a predictable story, uninspired shooting gallery gameplay, and "epic" predictable set pieces, yet everyone turned a blind eye to that franchise. While we are on this topic, those games have TERRIBLE character development. If they even have any.

I'm not here to get into an argument about TLoU but your same gameplay complaints using the same basic attacks and skills the entire game in Knack could be used against TLoU. There is no evolution of gameplay in TLoU. You sneak, and kill through the same kinds of scenarios, except for a couple key set piece moments, which anyone who played the game knows. Sure your skill set is a bit more robust than Knacks but still it doesn't really change through the course of the game. The way you kill in the opening 20 minutes is the same way you kill in the last 20.

Not bashing TLoU its a better game than Knack, understand that when I say this. I'm just pointing out that the so called Citizen Kane of games is guilty of this too.

"You use the same set of basic attacks and skills the ENTIRE game. In anything else, everyone would be screaming that it's broken."

So Sonic is definitely broken as you can only run fast and do a spin attack, call of duty is broken, rayman legends is broken, super meat boy thats broken too. Every game without an RPG lite system is broken by your standard? There are SO many games that do this that are only 2 button platformers and a lot of them are quite great.

Also what difficulty did you play knack in? Because believe it or not it is actually quite challenging in Hard mode and Very hard mode. The fights become less about button mashing and more about combat platforming, conscious use of your sun energy, and proper timing on your engagement. Because you die in one hit from most enemies, two at the most unless you are huge knack fighting small enemies. You also accumulate sun energy much slower so you can't just spam it.

TL:DR

Ben thinks Knack objectively doesn't have soul or charm.



Last edited by xenris on 1/9/2014 11:29:37 AM

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bigrailer19
Thursday, January 09, 2014 @ 11:29:26 AM

Xenris-

Yeah I just beat it and unlocked some new play modes which is great for replay. Plus I managed to pick up a lot of parts and relics on play through one so next time I should be able to try out all those other abilities of Knacks.

I found it charming as well, although some stuff in the story happened suddenly without explanation. Mark Cerny obviously wasn't trying to win any awards for best writing. But not to say he didn't put effort because it's quite enjoyable in its context and setting. I think Knack has all the attributes a game like this needs. I thought it was great that even being a *creation* that he understood right amd wrong and had feelings even if they were shallow at times.

I'm just glad I enjoyed it as I hoped I would. The reviews really had me frustrated and honestly I was reluctant to even open it and play it. However I did and within 10 minutes I seen why consumers appreciate it, and I was hooked. Truly reminiscent and a reminder that games don't need to have GoW depth in combat or The Last of Us style of writing to be great. 

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xenris
Thursday, January 09, 2014 @ 12:10:46 PM

@ Bigrailer

Exactly the same way I felt. You really do get a lot of extras to play with once you beat the game which is something I appreciate. I unlocked most of the gadgets about 3 chapters into the second playthrough, and now I'm just trying to unlock all the different knacks. I just might attempt to platinum this if I can find enough time when I don't work.

The one that resonates the most with me is

"Truly reminiscent and a reminder that games don't need to have GoW depth in combat or The Last of Us style of writing to be great."

I couldn't agree with you more, that should be on the case of Knack from a professional reviewer :)

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Thursday, January 09, 2014 @ 5:38:20 PM

I never once compared the game to TLoU, nor would I ever. I know what Knack was going for; I'm telling you it didn't go anywhere near far enough to reach it.

No idea why you're comparing it to shooters, either. What does that have to do with anything? You'd compare this to other action/platformers, and I can't think of ONE that's as absurdly basic and bland as Knack. Can you? And when I ask this, I'm asking about games made in the past decade.

Sonic is yet another irrelevant comparison. It's what, 25 years old? So, you're satisfied that a PS4 LAUNCH TITLE is similar to Sonic? Really? Well, that's up to you.

Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 1/9/2014 5:38:47 PM

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bigrailer19
Thursday, January 09, 2014 @ 10:29:10 PM

This is a quote straight from Mark Cerny about Knack when he introduced it: "I’m hoping that we can make something that excites those that played the classic games back in the day, as well as something that attracts new fans to the genre".
Ben that's what your not understanding. Knack is in fact an old school platformer. Why wouldnt it be compared to Sonic to some degree?

I've said this since the reviews came out. This isn't being reviewed for what it is. It's being reviewed for what people *think* a PS4 title should be. Your last comment proves exactly that. You too were expecting it to suddenly break all boundaries because it's a PS4 title. It's a misunderstood title and thats unfortunate, not only for reviewers that didn't get to enjoy it but for the consumers that took the reviews to heart.







Last edited by bigrailer19 on 1/9/2014 10:31:39 PM

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xenris
Thursday, January 09, 2014 @ 11:57:43 PM

We are talking about games, which is why I'm comparing it to shooters. Its a valid point, shooters are the same thing over and over and over again, with new coats of paint. The formula hasn't evolved much since HL2 shook things up almost 10 years ago. So why is it fair that a platformer comes out with an old school 2 button gameplay design and it is bashed for not being "next gen". News flash, NONE of the launch titles were next gen. They were nothing that couldn't be done on older hardware, save for better graphics and we know that graphics do not automatically make something "next gen" AC4s gameplay is largely the same compared to ALL the other AC games....why is that game not being held to the same strict standards that you are holding Knack too?

On the topic of other so called bland basic platformers we have several.

Other platformers that are two button platformers I just mentioned Ben. Rayman legends is a 3 button platformer, with no unlockable skills or changes to your skill set or move set. This game came out last year. Sonic Generations in which both sonics classic and new only have about 2 moves that they can pull off. Classic sonic can charge roll and jump, modern can jump and do a homing attack. Super meat boy, is a two button platformer and one of the hardest games I have played, also great fun.

So I just listed off several games that are as "basic" as Knack. As for bland, well I didn't think it was bland because I played it in hard mode and it was very enjoyable. I will mention here that I played the demo in normal and was underwhelmed. It does make a difference.

So yes I am satisfied with a game that is similar to Sonic :p I'm enjoying my second play through just as much as the first.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, January 10, 2014 @ 1:21:11 AM

Bigrailer: Please don't tell me what I'm about. In no way was I expecting Knack to break boundaries and be revolutionary. I know what Cerny said. I reported on it. I also know that you can maintain gameplay styles and structures of the past and make them BETTER. Saying Knack is any good at all is bowing to the idea that all old games were better.

As we all should know, that isn't true. If Knack played exactly as it did but actually had some semblance of inspiration behind it, something that showed gameplay progression while still remaining traditional and familiar, something that showed us new elements as the game progressed (which the original Legend of Zelda did even back then), you've got a good game. What we have is a mediocre attempt.

xenris: This is why I say you should never, ever review games. You don't compare a game to all games on earth. Not only is it completely illogical, it's damaging to the review because it makes it baseless and accurate. You don't compare Knack to shooters. And even if you did, at least shooters progress. At least you get new weapons. At least you might DO different things, such as pilot vehicles or use the OWL drone in Shadow Fall. Even when compared to shooters (which shouldn't be done in the first place), Knack has absolutely no variety.

And stop putting words in my mouth. I never said Knack had to be "next-gen." Don't use the word "newsflash" with me as if I'm some ignorant fool who has never played a video game. You honestly want me to compare Knack to ACIV? Really? You mean the game that changed the entire atmosphere and style of an established franchise, augmented just about every aspect of the gameplay in one form or another, and gave us about a 100 hours worth of entertainment, with numerous diverse missions and dozens upon dozens of distinctly different locales to explore? REALLY?

Rayman has more creativity in its first two LEVELS than Knack has in the entire game. Are you just so blind that you won't see it? Sonic is 25 years old. As I explained above to bigrailer, we will not - and should never - be hiding behind the, "oh, it's trying to be old-school so we'll accept mediocrity." You can HAVE that old-school structure. You just have to DO something with it.

Here's the only "newsflash" you need, xenris- There's a reason Knack is averaging what it's averaging with critics. And it's not because you just "understand" the game and none of us do. Consider that for a moment, would you?

Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 1/10/2014 1:22:35 AM

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bigrailer19
Friday, January 10, 2014 @ 2:39:49 AM

Im not telling you anything Ben regarding what your about, you made the comments, if you didnt mean them then thats fine. Sorry you didn't get to enjoy it.

Last edited by bigrailer19 on 1/10/2014 2:43:40 AM

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xenris
Friday, January 10, 2014 @ 11:51:17 AM

"Knack was fun but still surprisingly bland and bare for a fancy new PS4 title."

Thats your quote, so when bigrailer said its being reviewed for what people "think" a PS4 title should be he is talking about this.

Look at what I'm trying to say when I'm bringing other genres into the equation. I was showing you examples of franchises and genres that haven't done that much knew, or don't have much progression or evolution in terms of gameplay from beginning to end in individual games, and from sequel to sequel.

I'm not comparing Knack directly to those games outside of its genre, I'm showing inconsistencies with the logic you are using to say this game is just the same stuff through and through with a different coat of paint. Well turns out a lot of triple A titles do the exact same thing and shooters specifically CoD are hugely guilty of this. Not to mention copy and pasted the exact same cutscene just reskinned into CoD Ghosts. As for AC4 I haven't played it just watched some videos on it, so maybe you are right that it changed a lot of things I don't plan on playing it I'm sick of that franchise tbh. But AC3 was praised by critics and I found it to be boring and repetitive.

You are ignoring the point, RAYMAN legends is a 3 button platformer and other than some of the really hard levels which are optional to beating the game you are doing very similar things throughout the whole game. You can run, jump, spin attack, attack, down attack. THAT IS IT. It never changes through the game. So my point is still valid.

You asked me to show you 2 button games I show you a list and you change the subject.

Sonic generations that came out 2 and a bit years ago is a 2 button platformer, which features both classic and modern sonic. Both of which only have one move.


Its impossible to debate anything with you because you take something that is completely subjective and try to prove that somehow you are objectively right about it, in this case your claim that Knack lacked soul and charm. Heck I even agreed with you about there being missed opportunities in the game. You always seem to miss the times when we agree, and just jump on me when something I say is different from what you believe.

I merely commented on how I liked knack and you show up, and try and prove to me that I'm wrong about something entirely subjective(soul and charm). Funny when you tell me that I'm the instigator on this website.

You can throw the critics reviews around thats fine, but I honestly don't listen to reviews anymore I read them once in a while but after seeing so many professional reviewers straight up lie about the facts in certain games because they are inadequate gamers(I'm not talking about you so don't freak out). I look at user reviews and professional reviews to see what common threads of truth I can find. If the game looked interesting, like Knack did I just go ahead and buy it anyway.

Also if we are going off of what critics say, I would have missed out on a lot of great games. NIER, Folklore, Alpha Protocol, LAIR, Heavenly Sword and many more.



Last edited by xenris on 1/10/2014 11:54:15 AM

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The X Factor 9
Wednesday, January 08, 2014 @ 11:46:22 PM
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The only game that truly leverages the advances of the PS4 over PS3 is Assassins Creed IV.
The graphics, controls, and overall finish of the game on PS4 is significantly improved over the PS3 version.
The lineup was good. Cross buy deals with PS3 versions of Battlefield, AC: IV, and Ghosts all helped.

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Temjin001
Thursday, January 09, 2014 @ 12:04:10 AM
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I needed a quality next-gen fighter to make me happy.

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Knightzane
Thursday, January 09, 2014 @ 12:28:01 AM
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If I've learned anything in my 20 years of living, people with money want to spend it. What better way to drop 400$ plus another 120 on games than a brand new, popular, console. I'm still not that proud of the ps4 line-up. I may love Killzone, but at the end of the day, its another shooting game. You aim, and shoot people who are not you or AI partners.

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slugga_status
Thursday, January 09, 2014 @ 12:59:34 AM
Reply

The line up was always solid to me. Nba 2k14 is the same game gameplay wise. But they really did a lot of extra work with the ps4 version. I'd hate to get into Fifa because that is one gorgeous soccer game. Warframe is a good game to meet others and get some action in. And not enough can be said about Resogun. Only thing I'm missing is a fighter. I know about the DC game but..it's just not what I'mlooking for style wise....overall solid nexgen launch

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jaybiv
Thursday, January 09, 2014 @ 1:02:33 AM
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I thought the lineup had good balance especially when you factor in the two freebies through PS+. I think the one thing that was missing was an Uncharted type game. However, I was satisfied with the lineup. 2014 is going to be a great year.

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telly
Thursday, January 09, 2014 @ 11:01:31 AM

Getting Resogun with your PS Plus subscription was just awesome. What a fantastic little game. I'm going to be going back to it for months, if not years.

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Akuma07
Thursday, January 09, 2014 @ 8:34:04 AM
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Yeah because I've only been saying this exact thing constantly since day one, with most people here telling me that I was wrong and third party games dont count in a launch lineup.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, January 09, 2014 @ 11:31:16 AM

cross-gen, not third party. If you can get it on a last gen system it shouldn't count as next gen imo.

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Godslim
Thursday, January 09, 2014 @ 8:44:12 AM
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problem i have is most of the good games were ports from ps3

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ethird1
Thursday, January 09, 2014 @ 9:45:36 AM
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The launch sucked. This is the worst launch of any of the major consoles in history, as far as games are concerned.

Last edited by ethird1 on 1/9/2014 9:45:58 AM

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Cole
Thursday, January 09, 2014 @ 1:38:14 PM
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There's no such thing as a good launch. At least not on the software side. For that to happen they would have to pull support for the previous console and shift it to the new one. And I for one am glad Sony does not follow that approach.

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PC_Max
Thursday, January 09, 2014 @ 3:19:26 PM
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Well it was said here over and over... people (gamers) were tired of the old consoles and wanted something new. To no surprise, the launch lineup was not impressive, but the consoles sold anyway. Granted they may have sold the hope of quality games, some of which may not have met expectations.

I figure some wanted to be a part of something big and new and so lined up or pre-order to say that had the newest and the best. I know that might be cynical but we are good little consumers and trend looking people. :)

As for casual gamers, I do not think they are even on board yet. Well, not many, but some. They are still waiting to see what games there are for them. Granted I do not have cable so I do not know if Sony or MS is dropping a lot of advertising on the old TV.

If one is to look back at the excitement of the new consoles before their arrival, I think the consoles sold well because... everyone was frigging excited and in high hopes, lackluster lineup aside, for the new things come. Excited about the assured arrival of new games and experiences. And they wanted to be ready for it... now they are waiting for the first really big next gen games.

I attribute it to that. And the big guys need to deliver that hope and maybe promise to the gamers. And it does look like 2014 might be just the beginning of a number of years of brand new, some old, entertainment.

Keep playing!

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Beamboom
Friday, January 10, 2014 @ 3:21:27 AM

I agree. I think the casual gamers (at least whom I associate with the term) broadly speaking are not on board yet either. They don't buy a new technology with barely any games yet. That's just not casual behaviour.

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Geno
Thursday, January 09, 2014 @ 6:51:26 PM
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I know many people think PS4's Lineup rather sucked for Next Gen. But actually. Many people that got Launch PS4s snagged just about every Launch Title that came out. I am one of those people that purchased at least 4 games disc wise of those Launch titles. I snagged the PS4 cause I am known to game mostly on PS Games. Plus many of my friends also purchased it too. Yea, the launch titles could have been better but I am the type of guy that buys Launch consoles. I do feel the PS4 was purchased for more than one reason to sail to 4.2 million.

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Harerazer
Thursday, January 09, 2014 @ 9:17:57 PM
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I feel the launch lineup (first and third party) was rather solid. All of the genres were represented (other than "music game" which I am probably the only one who cared about) and having games pushed back (like drive Club) doesn't really count because they were originally set to be launch games. It's not like you can just say "OK, make another racing game in 2 weeks, guys".

Now personally I found nothing worth buying. Drive Club was the only game I planned on buying and then it became a free game anyway. I wasn't planning on buying a PS4 to play PS3 games so all of the ports meant nothing to me. I got the system for it's promise and for what it is. It's not perfect but it's also not finished yet (missing DLNA, media support, etc) but i know that's coming. And to me, the things it goes it does very well.

Lastly, I am still spending more time on my PS3 but Sony never intended to supplant the "little brother". They realize, maybe grudgingly, that with no real backward compatibility we'll be holding on to our old systems. I know a few people who dumped their PS3's to get the PS4 and every one is now upset because they thought they could just get the newer versions of their games and continue on. If you don't do your own research then you can't blame the company. The PS4 has convinced me to get a Vita now. I'm still waiting for some software to make the purchase worth it to me, but I'm pretty sure it will coem and when it does, I know I'll be able to take advantage of Remote Play, Playstation Now, and whatever else Sony unveils. Sony just needs to understand that portable games are not console games.

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