In 2012, PlayStation looked a lot different than it does today. The brand is now known for its cinematic approach to storytelling, with mature IP that has resonated with tens of millions of fans. Sony doubled down on this strategy in 2013 and truly left its mark on the industry with its PlayStation 4 console, which celebrates its ninth birthday this year. Many of the brand’s most iconic franchises either began on PS4 or featured game-changing entries on the platform, solidifying PlayStation as a major force in the video game industry.
If not for the PS4, PlayStation might not be as successful today. But what made the PS4 so special?
Top-tier games lineup
On November 15, 2013, Sony launched the PlayStation 4 console in North America, and at the time, no one knew just how successful the system would become. It eventually shipped over 117 million units worldwide, becoming one of the bestselling consoles ever made.
There are lots of reasons for its success — notably because it was less expensive than its competitor, the Xbox One, and featured no digital rights management (DRM) restrictions. But the thing that arguably carried it across its life cycle was the console’s rich exclusive game lineup.
It’s hard to deny the sheer quality of games including Infamous Second Son, Bloodborne, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, Horizon Zero Dawn, God of War (2018), Marvel’s Spider-Man, Final Fantasy VII Remake, The Last of Us Part II, and Ghost of Tsushima. While many of these games eventually came to PC, they’re all typically associated with PlayStation, bolstering the brand’s importance.
An emphasis on cinematic storytelling
The aforementioned games all vary in terms of tone and style, but they all have something in common: Each game has a movie-like quality that adds to the immersion.
Games don’t need to look like movies to be good, but having a film-like presentation does widen the appeal, especially when the rest of the experience is of such high quality. God of War is a prime example, having one uninterrupted camera shot from start to finish. This enhances the story overall, allowing you to feel much closer to the characters for the duration of the journey.
Another example of a top-notch cinematic presentation is the opening of Marvel’s Spider-Man.
The game begins with a cutscene featuring the Web-Head that feels like it’s been ripped out of the MCU, before seamlessly transitioning to gameplay. Spider-Man then begins swinging throughout New York, in one of the coolest sequences in all of gaming.
These PS4 games also have incredibly realistic visuals that pushed the boundaries of the medium. This, combined with stellar performances across the board truly made each experience feel much more like film, which adds to the narrative and the appeal of the characters.
Today, the PlayStation 5 is thriving thanks to many of the franchises introduced — or made even more popular — on PS4. Games like The Last of Us Part I, God of War Ragnarok, Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, and Horizon Forbidden West are all heavy-hitters on PS5, that were made even more popular thanks to their predecessors on PS4.
Sony certainly played its cards right when developing the PS4 and its game lineup, which paved the way for the company’s future endeavors. Not only did this game lineup have an impact on Sony itself, but other developers, as well, as evidenced by the huge uptick in cinematic experiences across the board. Though, few developers are on the same level as PlayStation when it comes to creating cinematic games.
Still, it’s clear the PS4 caused a ripple effect that changed Sony, and the video game industry for the better — and we still feel this impact nine years later.
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