Are you sick of hearing that the PS4 doesn’t have any games? Nick D. is, and he explains why this is far from the truth.
If you’ve been on the internet since November, you may have heard the accusation that the PlayStation 4 doesn’t have any games and is thus not worth buying. This same criticism is occasionally levelled at the Xbox One as well, but, being the big dog at the moment, the PS4 gets it the most. For those of you who’ve been around for more than a single generation, you may recall this rally cry of the unready since it’s been used for basically every system released in the last decade or so. I come here today to say that this accusation doesn’t really fly with the PS4, assuming you’re interested in console gaming to begin with.
I’ve been gaming since the third generation of consoles, harking all the way back to the Nintendo Entertainment System. However, I didn’t start buying systems at launch until the PS2 for consoles and the Gameboy Advance for handhelds. Since then, I’ve been an active participant in no fewer than seven launches throughout the years, and I can confirm that there are definitely patterns to complaints, chief of which is the ‘no games’ accusation. This is often a very valid issue, since many new consoles aren’t exactly swimming in games, particularly in reference to the previous generation or PCs. However, this does not apply to the PlayStation 4. Of the many system’s I’ve bought new, I’ve never had as much to play as with this particular system.
The chief solver-of-problems in this particular case is PlayStation Plus. This is a not-really-optional service that, on top of discounts and being required for most online play, also gives out a free game once a month to subscribers. Unlike the PS3 arm of the service or Games with Gold on the Xbox 360, on the PS4, Sony gives out debut games. Meaning that these games launched on the PS4 on the same day they were made available for the PS+ offer. This is an attempt to prevent these games from already being owned by zealous fans, who may have otherwise scooped them up.
The problem of course is that of these games (Resogun, Contrast, Don’t Starve, Outlast, Dead Nation, and Mercenary Kings) most of them have been available for other systems, particularly the PC. Thus, the argument switches slightly from there are no games on the PS4 to there are no new games on the PS4. It is a powerful argument for those who have already played these games, yet holds no weight to those who haven’t. The problem is that even retreads are games, and nobody is going to care unless they themselves are affected.
Then the question becomes how many people have in actuality bought these games before. Dead Nation stands out as the worst culprit due to its popularity on the PS3, and, more damningly, the fact that it was one of the free games handed out due to the PSN breach. The other multiplatform games are all restricted to PC, which may have a smaller crossover for console gamers. Particularly, the indie nature of these games, and their niche genres tends to lead me to believe that these did not reach a wide audience, or at least an audience wide enough to make the criticism valid.
Of course, mentioning the word indie comes to perhaps the biggest problem the PS4 is facing in terms of the approach of the PS+ giveaways – the fact that many gamers bafflingly do not consider indie games to be games at all. Using this argument, a good six high quality games are instantly removed from the PS4’s library and shoved somewhere in the aether. Needless to say, this is a silly argument.
Indie games have been experiencing a backlash from gamers due to their rising popularity, particularly since Sony itself has made such a big deal about promoting them. These games work on considerably smaller budgets than so-called AAA games, and are often smaller in scale or more arcade-like. An entire other article could be written to extol the virtues of indie games, but to keep it brief, an indie game is no less entitled to the qualification of being a game than any larger budget game. All of the PS+ offerings are better than a whole host of poorly thought out or generic AAA games that have made their way onto the market, and there’s no reason to inherently demean these games.
So dismissing this argument, the next one that stems from the particular games being offered is that, as mentioned before, most of them fit into a particular niche that won’t appeal to all gamers. Thus, many gamers aren’t interested in these games. This is once again a silly argument. Titanfall or inFamous: Second Son aren’t going to appeal to all gamers. Ah, you may say, but those games have much larger audiences than the games being offered through the PS+. This is true, and valid. However, I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that I’m not sure if we want to limit these offerings to the most widely marketed, while shutting out those great games that fit into an otherwise niche genre.
In many ways, these PS+ offerings act as something of a gateway drug. You may try them and hate them, but you may also find yourself very much into a genre you’d never have spent a dime on. And, while each of these PS+ games is of a niche genre, all of them offer something completely different. For gamers who really only like one or two genres and distain the rest, this isn’t a wonderful thing. However, to those who like many different experiences this is a boon. More importantly, the scattershot approach to the genres being offered allows the PS+ games to hit audiences that they otherwise would have missed if they focused on only a single genre.
Of course, all of my counter-arguments to this point are, ignoring the pun, pointless. The simple fact of the matter is that these games may appeal to some, but not others and that’s okay. It doesn’t invalidate their existence. Whether these games are for you is up to personal preference, but the games exist and they are present and good on the PS4. If AAA games are all that matters to you, then that is a totally valid way of approaching whether or not to purchase the system. However, once again, this doesn’t objectively mean that AAA games are the only thing that matter to everybody. Perhaps the argument should switch from ‘there are not games’ to ‘there are no games that I am interested in’.
Though the bulk of this article looks at the PS4’s PS+ offerings, there are actually plenty of AAA games released and in development for the system as well. One of the big changes to the industry that occurred last generation was the normalization of multiplatform games. Whereas exclusives used to be all important, nowadays, a game being exclusive is something of an anomaly since most games reach multiple platforms.
This brings us back to the argument used with PS+ games that were themselves multiplatform. Simply because a game is multiplatform doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. The only time this matters is when weighing the merits between competing consoles. I know we’re at the beginning of a new wave of console wars, but it’s important to step back. When evaluating the PS4 versus the Xbox One, it is a good idea to focus on exclusive games, features, hardware, etc. This is where multiplatform games don’t factor in. However, you cannot bring this argument further than this. When not evaluating between systems, multiplatform games certainly exist.
All of this wasn’t to say go out and buy a PS4. That is a decision that is personal to each person. One may be content with the current generation and its massive library of games as well as the cross-generational games still to come, or with their hotrod gaming PC. That’s not the point nor is whether the PS4 is better than the Xbox One, or PC gaming or whatever have you. The point I’m trying to reach is the PS4 has plenty of games, not none.