The PS3, Two Decades On: How Will It Be Remembered?

The end of an era has come upon us and with the release of Sony's Playstation 3 successor in 2013, the aptly named Playstation 4, the Playstation 3 is increasingly coming of age, but the question is, how will it be remembered?

To this day the inceptive Playstation 1 and succeeding Playstation 2 are remembered fondly. Add to that the Playstation Portable of 2005 and you'll find yourself an awful lot of hindsight to use up. Regardless of the blocky graphics, arguably, in some instances, tank-like controls and voice acting so cheesy your gran would think she's gone back forty years ('Jill Sandwich' anybody?), all of the aforementioned systems are still played, enjoyed and loved by the younger generations of the modern age. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see past the squarish visuals of the original Crash Bandicoot into a world of fun, or equally, a seasoned explorer to see how ambitious the original Tomb Raider games were for their time, most of which still stand strong today, be it in remakes/remasters or through Youtubers devoted to reincarnate the past. If games with little resemblance to reality in terms of functionality, graphics and audio quality are still remembered positively for the fun experiences they delivered, then how about games with high quality graphics, lifelike functionality and crisp, 1080p audio tracks?

One of the defining factors of the Playstation 3, for which it will be loved for generations, are undeniably its games. Forget the 23-day PSN outage of 2011, or the hickups many games faced around time of launch regarding patching, glitches and functionality issues, because in a decade none of these things will matter.

Despite having a colossal library of games under its belt a key element of the Playstation 3 will be missing: the online functionality. Nobody expects online game servers to go on forever. It's financially absurd as players inevitably stray away from games once loved over time. This is why certain games such as Call of Duty: 4 Modern Warfare, Gran Turismo: 5, Battlefield: 3, LittleBigPlanet and Grand Theft Auto IV/V will lose their value with time, never to be enjoyed in the same way again. Games have even had online functionality discontinued as early as 2013. However, although some games won't be able to be enjoyed with friends, we must concentrate on the core experience of the system: the exact same element that people remember the Playstation 1, 2 and Portable so fondly for.

The legacy of the Playstation 3 will undeniably be a deliverance of a greater degree of realism in mainstream games. For the first time we were allowed to appreciate the minute details of games on a console. Although this was doable on PC, high definition was a first for Sony's system, bar a handful of later Playstation 2 games. For the first time games from a Sony system looked real, voice acting was consistently lifelike and gamers were presented with more in-game functions than ever before. Weapons could be tweaked to the minute details, cars could be customised in a way that would appease even the greatest OCD, and football teams could be crafted with all the latest winners. Yet this wasn't the only factor that was new for Playstation, for the largest development was arguably the playstation network - a digital marketplace in which gamers could buy digital games, expansion packs, avatars to customise their profile, themes to customise their system and classic games they thought they'd forgotten. The real advancement was dynamic games. Games that could be expanded upon beyond what was purchased in the store. Games that, a first for Playstation, could grow with age.

Key classics that will go down in history come in abundance on the Playstation 3. It doesn't take a genius to see how revolutionary LittleBigPlanet was in DIY game design, or a masters-degree game designer to see the true beauty of every Grand Theft Auto game on the Playstation 3. During the system's tenure of being Sony's primary system, every genre saw development beyond what the Playstation 2 could handle. Stories became richer as the 50GB blu-ray discs allowed for more content than ever before. The system provided a portal for enacting the vision gamers had had since gaming's inception: the prospect of fully interactive movies. Heavy Rain, the Uncharted trilogy, the Assassin's Creed series, the Fallout duet, Sniper Elite, The Last of Us, Call of Duty... the system had taken Sony into the future of video games. 3D development was the former 'great leap', and believability within this was the succeeding 'giant leap' in the gaming world. The Playstation 3 is home to many games that were created during a gaming revolution, and for that it will be remembered. The true legacy of the Playstation 3 was a more dynamic gaming experience, a first for Sony in terms of the inner-workings of games and online functionality which extended and advanced games.


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