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Next Generation Uncovered
Next Generation #3 - Does PlayStation Live Up to the Hype?
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on April 03, 2014   |   Episode 3 (Show Archive)  

While Next Generation didn't have the lifespan of Electronic Gaming Monthly and Nintendo Power, the magazine did spend seven years influencing what we now consider modern-day games journalism. Over the next 85 episodes, we'll do our best to review every Next Generation cover and put the issue into proper context. Join us every Thursday for Next Generation Uncovered!

After teasing us with Virtua Fighter 2 and the promise of online gaming, Next Generation finally gets around to a next generation console. Here it is, the Sony PlayStation; the machine that will eventually go on to beat Sega and Nintendo, becoming one of the most popular game systems of all time. Of course, Next Generation didn't know that at the time, so the question stands: Does PlayStation live up to the hype?

This isn't the most riveting cover, but Next Generation gets the most out of what could have been a straight-forward product shot. Instead of showing off the games, the magazine decided to go for a close shot of the 32-bit system. It's sitting on a pile of rocks, so the photograph is a little crooked. There's a standard non-DualShock controller plugged in, though the lack of a memory card suggests whoever owns this console isn't very serious about saving their progress.

Perhaps sensing that it wasn't enough to photograph a 32-bit console on a pile of rocks, Next Generation added a buzz-worthy headline that was sure to draw attention. It's hard to believe now, but there was a time when both Sega and Nintendo underestimated Sony's impact. In this very issue, then-Sega President and CEO, Tom Kilinske, had this to say of their competition: "But Sony has failed a few times with consumer products -- we all remember Beta -- and so we're all hoping that PlayStation turns out to be another Beta and that in a couple years' time, together, we'll be able to tell people to play their Saturns on a Sony TV."

Tom's confidence was short-lived, as he would soon see the crushing defeat of the Saturn and unraveling of the arcade industry. After a decade of Sega and Nintendo, Sony ushered in a new era of video game systems. It brought adults to the format, offering more mature games and a variety of experiences you couldn't get on the competing consoles. Sony also snagged major exclusives, like Final Fantasy VII and Metal Gear Solid. They had an aggressive price point out of the gate, and they weren't afraid to lower the price to stay competitive. This was Sony at the top of their game.

Does PlayStation live up to the hype? You better believe it. Too bad we can't say the same thing about this disappointing Next Generation cover.

Next Week: Meow! Join us next Tuesday when a giant cat takes a bite out of Next Generation. Better sharpen your claws and collect those nine lives, because this is going to be another purr-fect episode of Next Generation Uncovered!



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