2015 is just about done and dusted. It was a great year for gaming with some amazing games, big surprises and the odd turkey filling up the gaming calendar. So with the year almost over Matt thought it was time to have a look back at the year that was for three consoles. First up is the current market leader Sony.
The Year That Was – Sony
Has there ever been a sales performance by a gaming console like the PS4? In 2015 the sales numbers for Sony’s system just kept climbing to astronomical heights. What makes this even more impressive is the fact that both the Xbox One and Wii U have both had great years sales wise but when they are compared to what Sony has managed pull off they pale in comparison. There is no doubting that Sony has a clear market dominance in terms of console numbers and while I have expressed in the past my concern that this may lead to a little bit of apathy in regards to listening to their consumers it appears (so far at least) that this isn’t going to be the case.
Games wise Sony had a mixed year with some great games, the odd stinker and a few nice surprises. I have to be honest the first party line up did feel a little barren this year (even Sony have admitted as such) but there still managed to be quite a few games that reached my highlight reel. Bloodborne and Helldivers are probably two games that deserve special mention. Both games achieved exactly what they set out to and won huge a following of fans because of it. There was of course the disappointing delay of Uncharted 4 into 2016 but that pain was eased somewhat by the excellent Uncharted collection that was released in its place. It was a joy to take Nathan Drake through his paces once more and finally finish the first entry. It was light on in the extras department when compared to similar collections but there was some great work where it counts with the games all far superior in both graphics and controls when compared with their original releases.
The biggest surprise from the Sony line up for me was Until Dawn. I gave that game no hope of being good, after all it started out as a PS Move game. Boy was I wrong. A unique take on the classic Hollywood staple, the teen slasher flick, Until Dawn played with consequence and the infamous “butterfly effect” in ways that gaming hadn’t attempted before. Sure the story was cheesy and the acting questionable at times but it was worth going along for the ride just to see it all play out.
There are two big downers for me regarding Sony this year. The first is The Order: 1886. What a waste of some clearly talented developer’s time. Sure it looked great but the gameplay was nothing more than a copy of Gears of War. The even sadder part of it all was that Gears was still a much more entertaining game. Add to this a miniscule playtime, dreary characters and those rage inducing black bars and The Order has probably got dibs on the worst AAA release of 2015. The second big bummer is the slow death of the PS Vita. I love this handheld more than just about any console I own but Sony have all but given up on it with confirmation that there are not internal studios working on games for the system. Sony’s support of the Vita throughout its lifespan has baffled me and I have always felt that if they had given it the same amount of attention that the 3DS receives from Nintendo then it would be a huge money spinner for them. Sadly this was not to be and it seems that the Vita’s death will arrive sooner rather than later.
On the event side of things it was a massive year for the PS4. Sony’s E3 was huge with massive showings from Uncharted 4 and the new game from Media Molecule called Dreams. But the biggest thing to come out of E3 was a triple surprise from the Sony conference. The first that the long thought vapourware Last Guardian and the revelation that it was in fact still in development and coming to the PS4. The second was the announcement of the long asked for Final Fantasy VII remake. Finally Sony closed things off with the announcement of a Shenmue 3 kickstarter. These 3 items alone generated unprecedented good will from the gaming community around the world.
In more recent exciting news for Sony, Kojima Productions first title sans Konami will be a PS4 exclusive. It will be great to see Kojima working on a new IP without the clearly toxic influence of Konami. This is without a doubt a massive coup for Sony and one that both Microsoft and Nintendo will be insanely jealous of.
Finally the biggest celebration for the year has to be the 20th anniversary of the Playstation Brand in Australia. It is a massive milestone for the company locally and one that deserves to be recognised. Sony has stated that in that timeframe they have sold 30.2 million Playstation branded consoles in Australia over that period which is an impressive feat. Sony celebrated this at an event in Sydney that not only looked back at their impressive past but gave attendees a sneaky look at the future of Playstation as well. VR, Media channels and presentations of Dreams and Uncharted 4 highlighted the bright path ahead for Sony in Australia.
In all 2015 was a cracking year for Sony and while there was a few missteps with a sparse first party lineup in all the brand went from strength to strength enabling it to keep a firm grip on its sales lead. 2016 will hopefully continue to provide Playstation gamers everywhere with multiple reasons to smile.