Any audience is good, but the captive one is the dream
Looking back, we should have been paying closer attention. When Sony announced PlayStation 4, it explained that it was building its console by taking cues from PC architecture. And what do you do with a PC after a couple of years? You upgrade it. The plan for PS4 Pro was right there at the beginning. In this issue we visit New York to see Sony’s new hardware in action (p8) – and return eyeing the biggest 4K TVs our wallets can bear.
Microsoft’s Xbox One S has been available since August, and it, too, should’ve been visible from a mile or so out. Sony and Microsoft are watching consumers migrate to 4K displays, and neither company wants you to turn away from your console in order to have Ultra HD content piped into the home via other means. The moment you switch away from the Netflix app on your Xbox to watch Narcos through another device, you’re pulled out of Microsoft’s ecosystem, preventing it from blitzing you at every conceivable turn with details of the new games, movies and TV shows it is gagging to flog to you instantly via its highly lucrative store.
Ecosystems are the modern videogame company’s obsession. They gave us DLC, which has transformed our entire relationship with the things we play. Not very long ago, we bought a game, finished it, then happily let it go, to the trade-in counter or the appreciative friend. Here in 2016, we find ourselves reviewing an expansion for World Of Warcraft, a game released when Shaun Of The Dead was in cinemas, Deadwood arrived on TV screens, and Beyoncé was just one third of Destiny’s Child.
Is there a better example of the ecosystem at work than GTA Online? Between 2008 and 2013, Rockstar published at least one notable title per year. It has released nothing since – except, that is, quite a lot of vehicles, weapons and other things available to buy with real cash in Los Santos.
When it comes to VR, we’ll soon see the effects of another ecosystem at play. On p62 we talk to the team behind PSVR, a device that demands the attention of every one of the 40m+ PS4 owners out there today.
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