It was only a matter of time before Sony took a swing at the classic console market. Recently, it was announced that Sony will be releasing the Playstation classic, a miniaturized version of the PS1 that comes pre-loaded with 20 games. If it feels like Sony is copying Nintendo, you wouldn’t be wrong, but the market for nostalgia is high right now and theres no doubting that this is a smart business move by Sony.
All the clamoring by fans to reboot or remake their favorite titles is one of the primary reasons why the nostalgia market is on fire. Nintendo monitored fan interest and in response released the NES classic. A prospect that should’ve seen limited sales as the E-Shop is filled with classic titles. Instead, the console sold out quickly and there still difficulty in finding the product today. Satisfied with the success of the demand of the NES classic, Nintendo then announced the release of the SNES classic, which has also unsurprisingly seen great success.
So, if you’re Sony and you have a number of classic titles that fans are clamoring for, why wouldn’t you copy one of your primary competitors? The PS4 has limited backwards compatibility, its PS Now service is limited as it features no PS1 titles and a small number of PS2 titles. The PS1 is a beloved console that helped establish Sony as a market leader. It featured a number of classic titles that are only currently playable on the PS3 as its PSN store has a number of PS1 games for sale. The announcement has generated a ton of fanfare, but also begs the question, if you’re going out of your way to release a classic console, why was Sony so adamant that backwards compatibility wasn’t in demand?
While it feels hypocritical and it is, Sony can pretty much do what it damn well pleases. They are the current leader in this console generation and show no sign of stopping. Announcing a classic console feels like it will be a layup, especially if the pre-loaded games are all titles fans want to play. If the PS1 is a success, you can almost guarantee that a PS2 classic will be released. Wouldn’t it be great if these classic consoles had their own stores? I would love to purchase Dino Crisis or Suikoden as standalone titles, if this is a feature of these consoles, then it would definently boost sales.
Classic consoles aren’t the only way to dive into the nostalgia market. In the case of Microsoft, they constantly release updates for backwards compatibility and they have a marketplace loaded with classic titles. There’s the Halo’s, Call of Duty’s, and my personal favorite, the Left 4 Dead series. They’re already established players in the nostalgia market and its refreshing that damn near all of their best titles are available. I don’t foresee Microsoft releasing a classic console, but you never know. If there is enough fan demand, it could see a limited release. But as for right now, Microsfot can keep releasing updates and it will keep fans satisfied in the long run.
While console developers will see a ton of publicity with the announcement of classic consoles, the reality is that established publishers have been releasing compilations to satisfy that nostalgia itch for years. Capcom for example, has churned out a number of compilations of their best series to help remind fans of their greatness. It also feels like these releases are done so that they can determine if a series deserves a reboot. Mega Man is getting another entry, but let’s be real, Onimusha needs to make a comeback, especially considering the success of Nioh and Dark Souls. A little survival horror with samurais sounds like a good time.
There will always be a market for nostalgia. Gaming is an easy target as their console life cycles are relatively short, only lasting a few years. The target audience for these classic releases are the older generation, but the advent of social media will help bring these consoles and compilations to the doorstep of new users. Its fascinating as a concept like this feel like fanfare, but if you scour Twitter or any other social media, it’s so much more. Publishers, regardless of whether its hardware or software, would have to be foolish to not try to dabble in this market. It’s going to remain profitable as these console life cycles get shorter. There are enough titles that wont get rebooted, so the best way to replay them is to re-release them on these classic consoles or have some type of backwards compatibility.
On a personal note, if they release the Dreamcast classic, it’s a day one but. I need me some PowerStone and Crazy Taxi. Plus, Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 was best on Dreamcast.