Although Sony is currently dominating the console market, there was a time when Xbox was the more favourable platform for people to play all of their favourite games on. In fact, this was only during the last generation when the Xbox 360 was king of the console wars. However, while the PlayStation 3 initially had a bumpy start, Sony’s decision to listen to developers and focus on exclusives like Uncharted paved the way for the PlayStation 4’s unbelievable success.
Speaking at DICE 2019 (thanks, IGN) about the company’s “Icarous moment” with the PlayStation 3, Sony Worldwide Studio’s boss Shawn Layden admitted in his keynote opening that their success was hard-earned.
“PlayStation 2 was an industry triumph, it remains one of the best-selling consoles of all time. But coming off the heels of that, was PlayStation 3: a stark moment of hubris in the nearly 25 years of PlayStation history. As we sometimes call it, PS3 was our Icarus Moment.
For our business, the fall was sharp. We hadn’t listened to our customers. We created a devilish development environment. We reacted too slowly and our network was underdeveloped. And worst of all, if you remember, was the price point.
While the PlayStation 3 and our fight to stay relevant has been well-covered, what wasn’t as well-covered was the call we made at that time to transform our company into what we are today. We doubled our efforts to develop incredible games and strengthened our partnerships for the next generation.
We listened to developers and gamers. We listened to [Mark Cerny, PS4’s lead architect]. We created PS4, a console for developers as much as it was for fans. We focused on the quality of our games, on making titles that would stand the test of time, the way that the best pieces of art often do.”
No matter how you might try to spin Layden’s speech, it’s incredible how Sony responded to the justified criticism about the PlayStation network and initial pricing for the PlayStation 3. Rather than turning nasty towards the video games community, they instead listened to their developers and focused on delivering exclusive games like Uncharted to set the PlayStation 3 apart from the competition. In the grand scheme of things, the PlayStation 3’s initial failure was a blessing in disguise as it helped Sony concentrate on strengthening their bonds with first-party developers to create exclusives like Uncharted, God Of War, and InFamous.
In other PlayStation news, a Red Dead Redemption 2 animator has joined Sony’s new first-party studio to work on what could be the next Uncharted instalment, and Santa Monica have begun hiring for – presumably – their inevitable God Of War sequel.