Views from the launchpad
“We do recognise Sony as a major player. It’s just that we’re confident that we know videogames better than anyone, and we feel supremely confident that at every technical turn the Ultra 64 is a superior machine to the PlayStation, and will offer a greater gaming experience.” When
who for 15 years served as Nintendo Of America’s executive VP of sales and marketing, said this in late 1994, Sony’s PlayStation had only just been released into the world, and even then only to the Japanese market. While attempting to brush Sony’s offering aside, in reality the statement revealed how seriously the game industry’s established players were taking this new competition. An aspiring rival that supposedly falls so far short of the mark isn’t even worth the recognition of discussion in public. Only legitimate threats deserve that kind of attention.
Outside of Nintendo, others were more generous with their appraisals of Sony’s work, while also offering their own warnings. “The PlayStation is very strong, but Sony has absolutely no experience in this market, and the games market really is like no other,” Atari’s declared. “You can’t just come in and buy market share. You have to build it.”
And build it Sony famously did. In this issue, 20 years on, we look at what the company’s fresh perspective brought to the game industry, via firstperson accounts from people who were there at the time. It’s our biggest feature of the year, reflecting the size of the impact PlayStation had on players, on game development, and on Sony’s competitors.
Competition is one of the crucial factors keeping the videogame industry moving forward, which brings us to our cover story. If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll have seen Elite: Dangerous on the cover of and No Man’s Sky heading up so it should feel appropriate that we complete the trilogy with Star Citizen this issue. In our lead feature, we talk to developer Cloud Imperium about its own spin on deep-space adventure.