“PS3 has no games.” Well, it actually has more than 700, but don’t tell that to 2013’s memes. A decade ago, Sony’s PlayStation 3 began its descent into twilight once its successor, PlayStation 4, was scheduled for release on November 15.
PS3 stumbled right out the gate. Microsoft’s basic Xbox 360 launched at $299. Sony decided to launch its basic PS3 at $499. A $200 price gap contributed to a pretty significant disparity in the install base at launch, with Microsoft outselling Sony nearly two-to-one. On the development side, the PS3 was its own worst enemy. It’s not that developers didn’t want to make games for it, it’s that it was really hard. The most infamous example was the delayed launch of GTA IV, which was pushed from an October launch to the following April because of issues with the PS3 version (and a contractual obligation to release on PlayStation and Xbox simultaneously). Different versions of the same game often showed worse performance on PS3, with developers like EA saying basically that it’s really hard.
So the bar was low for PS4, thanks to a console generation plagued by bad press and missed opportunities. Although the PS3 technically won the console war against Microsoft’s Xbox 360 (87 million units vs 83 million units, respectively) its reputation struggled. Fanboys aside, it was objectively clear from title counts and metacritic scores which console was putting out more, better games. Microsoft had stronger first-party and third-party support, especially at launch. Gamers noticed. Gamers memed. Sony noticed too.