Sony’s home entertainment device, the Playstation 4, was in the spotlight today at the annual Gamescom gaming conference, for the combined 10 million sales of the year-old console. As of their presentation, that was the sales number leading into the holiday season, outdistancing both Nintendo’s Wii U and Microsoft’s Xbox One since the system was released in November of 2013. That is up from around 7 million sold in April of 2014, and almost triple the opening holiday season of just fewer than 3 million units sold.
These numbers are historically good for the gaming market. Playstation 4 is the fastest-selling console ever released under the Sony brand and is helping to revive an industry that many saw as struggling a couple of years ago. Along with the hardware sales, software sales have also flourished, with 30 million games sold through combined digital and physical means, which does not include their handheld device, the Playstation Vita, which acts as a portable next-gen system with integrated games available during travel.
All this news was surrounded by several other Playstation 4 announcements that look to increase the strong 10 million sales figures. One standout was the reintroduced feature called Share Play, which allows those without a particular game to play within a friend’s session for an allotted amount of time. In the upcoming Far Cry 4, a friend will be able to join for up to two hours, but it is not confirmed if this will be a universal rule for the feature. Sony would like for this to become, essentially, a way to streamline demo-sized bytes of gameplay, enabling gamers to focus these windows to their proper audience. Anyone with a Playstation Plus subscription is eligible for Share Play.
Plenty of Sony’s biggest internal companies brought their current projects to bask in the crowd of press and VIPs. Media Molecule, the developers behind one of Sony’s mascots, Sack Boy, brought a port of their Vita game, Tearaway, to stage, showing off the game’s original art style and world interactivity on Playstation 4. Tearaway Unfolded will use Playstation 4’s touchpad to create wind, the motion controls to shift planes and even the controller’s speaker to share voices of captured beasts. All of this will take place inside a construction paper setting that can be changed and personalized using in-game scissors and glue, stickers and yarn. Tearaway Unfolded is set to hit stores next year.
Playstation 4, with the crown of 10 million units sold to its name, is looking to move through more and more barriers, leading the other two consoles with strong games and innovative system features. The Playstation Vita, as a companion system, opens portable doors while Share Play is aimed at changing multi-player into a new avenue of attracting further software sales. What really matters to a lot of gamers – the actual games – are also spearheaded with Sony’s indie initiative filling holes between larger scale titles. Even reconfigured entries such as Tearaway Unfolded open current Playstation 4 adopters to creative gameplay and immersive worlds not seen on any other home system. Gamescom reminded Playstation 4 owners that the best is yet to come in this early gaming cycle.
By Myles Gann