Editorials

Sony’s PS4 Announcement – The Good, The Bad, The ‘We’re Watching Everything You Do’

February 21, 2013, Author: Matt Parker, 5 Comments

It happened. Sony’s ‘event’ occurred last night and no matter what you think of what went down, we can be grateful for this. No more jokes about them announcing a new Vita design. No more jokes about them announcing an update to Playstation Home. No. More. Jokes.

For the most part, it was fairly positive, though it wasn’t all plain sailing though. There were a few things that made me worried alongside a few things that made me excited. Here are those things that my ‘it’s 1:30am’ mind could put in to words.

Let’s get the good out of the way. I liked that they addressed the development issues that surrounded the PS3. The lead system architect came out and (surprisingly) said all of the right things. The new console will use a system that’s familiar to most developers out there. It’ll be powerful (duh), basing its hardware on current high-end PCs. They’ve also done well to keep the controller a good blend of old and new. It doesn’t look that different, but they’ve crammed in a few new features. A headphone jack, touchpad and a light on the top. Nothing major, but new features nonetheless. Not to bore you with details, but the hardware specs touted sound pretty good and put the PS4 in the company of current high(ish)-end PCs.

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In a piece I wrote, one of my lofty ideas was that every PS1, 2 and 3 game would be streamable. I wrote that as something of a joke. It appears to be happening, which is just insane. Thanks to Gaikai, this mad vision looks like a reality, with games that you purchase available to download and play instantly. So, whilst you’re playing the first level, the others are still being downloaded. A neat idea. Heck, they’ve got an entire processor dedicated to running and manging downloads and software updates so they don’t interrupt your game playing.

They’re also aiming at making the console go into a ‘standby’ state when you turn it off, meaning an instant reboot is possible. No more saving – just turn it off and when you want to carry on, flip the switch to start where you left off. Assuming, that is, that the console will have something as low-tech as switches on it. The console itself didn’t make an appearance.

One thing that got annoying about these features is the assumption that I want to share what I’m doing. That I want a ‘friend’ the other side of the world to ‘take over’ my controller and finish a hard level for me. There was also this idea that the PS4 records everything you do. What games you’re playing, what you’re friends are up to – It’s all very ‘Activity Stream’ and ‘Look at my wall and poke me’.

broadcast

Now the world can see how bad you are at Dark Souls.

 From this? Well, it’ll ‘learn’ what you like and then ‘provide you with content you’ll enjoy’. That sounds like targeted advertising and a very creepy beginning of some serious user details being gathered by Sony. Top that off with the camera that comes with the console and Sony’s Big Brother plan is underway. Christ knows what the camera does, mind. Most likely an ‘Eyetoy / Kinect’ type thing. Thankfully, it was glossed over and never spoken of again. Expect arm flailing and hand waving this E3. For a change…

If the reels seen are to be believed, this console will produce some stunning visuals. New engines were shown, a demonstration of a million objects on screen. You know, the tried and tested ‘this is new hardware’ demo reel kind of stuff.

There was also another playthrough of Watch_Dogs, which is still looking like a GTA game where you play as a hacker with a conscience. That sounds a tad flippant for a game that I’m seriously looking forward to.

 

A few things I wasn’t keen on. The other games, for a start. Nothing really grabbed my imagination. Cars were shown, a new Killzone that looked like old Killzone and of course a man from Square Enix came out and confirmed that a new Final Fantasy was being made. Like it was ever in doubt. The Media Molocule stuff looked ‘fun’, but then so was the original EyeToy for about 30 minutes. I hope there’s some substance to what they’re planning on putting out.

David Cage irked me. The man talked about how games need to connect with the player ‘emotionally’ and the proceeded to show a graph(!) about the number of polygons(!!) in the characters of his ‘emotional’(!!!) games. Jonathan Blow came out and showed of a version of Myst that belongs on the Wii.

Don’t get me wrong. Cage can aim high and Blow can make his game (I’m still interested in it) but Sony needs to realise that these events need huge talking points. Huge positive talking points. These two men did not do that for me.

 

That’s what was truly missing. Nothing really took centre-stage and nothing was the headliner. It’s not as if the console itself ‘stole the show’, we didn’t even see it.

All last night really did was confirm a bunch of rumours that have been floating around the internet for a while. Which was nice, but I wanted more. I wanted a blast from the past to re-introduce itself. I wanted an exciting new IP. I wanted a big finish.

‘Coming Holiday 2013′ isn’t a big finish. It’s the end of a sales pitch…

The. End.

The. End.

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Comments (5)

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  1. Phil said:

    I hear what you're saying. Sure there were a few positives in there and some exciting tech but I was remarkably underwhelmed by it all. There isn't a great deal of NEW about what was said. A controller with a touchpad, motion control, Streaming and cloud services. SO WHAT!! We have all this now. I was expecting to see something that made me say WOW, I NEEEEEEED one of these and to be honest I was actually left thinking I might be better off getting a WiiU

    Over to you Microsoft

    Posted on: February 21 4:32 PM || Report || Reply

  2. Paddy said:

    Posted on: February 22 2:18 AM || Report || Reply

  3. Phil said:

    That is seriously funny :-)

    Posted on: February 22 9:50 AM || Report || Reply

  4. Trent said:

    The controller looks like an attempt to cram as much auxiliary crap into one pad as humanly possible and we all know the majority of developers are going to use the touchpad and light thing as optional gimmicks The developers who don't will be people like Blow who made one alright game that was massively over-rated and therefore despite the fact that his new game looks like a boring set of pipe puzzles in a quaint and sickly-coloured world it will be hailed as genius and bought by many. Who will then complain about how arse the controls are.

    I HATE the idea of Sony recording everything I do but I LOVE the idea of being able to pop into the game of some cock-end who thinks he's so badass that he wants the entire world to watch him be badass and laugh at him when he falls over.

    Watch Dogs looks awesome and it's nice to know the PS4 will run it but we already knew that. Sony have done NO WORK on it so it's a bit cheeky to show it off as 'the power of PS4' when we all know it's powerful and we also all know that the next Xbox will be able to run it as well.

    Killzone looks as boring as it always has. Just waiting for more actual game info and footage to confirm.

    David Cage is a man I admire for his enthusiasm but yeh, banging on about emotion and immersion and then going 'look at ze polygons!' is a bit counter-productive. However, like Blow he is one of these 'geniuses' who could essentially just walk out, take a shit on stage and then show us a screen shot and people would still pre-order his game. Although, those polygons do look very nice.


    I reckon this whole thing was a heady mix of pre-E3 jitters and a desperate need to confirm that the world genuinely does give a shit about the next PlayStation. They were a bit worried that Microsoft would consume E3 considering the Xbox has always been a bit more 'kapow!' than the PlayStation and so decided to jump the gun and have their own little pre-event party. Except the console chassis either isn't finalised yet or they think that by making us wait until E3 we'll care more. In fact the opposite is true; you've done a console 'reveal' without showing the console now Sony so that thing better be the most beautiful piece of shiny black plastic ever crafted otherwise everyone will be disappointed.

    Posted on: February 23 4:17 PM || Report || Reply

  5. Paddy said:
    Trent wrote: The controller looks like an attempt to cram as much auxiliary crap into one pad as humanly possible and we all know the majority of developers are going to use the touchpad and light thing as optional gimmicks The developers who don't will be people like Blow who made one alright game that was massively over-rated and therefore despite the fact that his new game looks like a boring set of pipe puzzles in a quaint and sickly-coloured world it will be hailed as genius and bought by many. Who will then complain about how arse the controls are.

    I HATE the idea of Sony recording everything I do but I LOVE the idea of being able to pop into the game of some cock-end who thinks he's so badass that he wants the entire world to watch him be badass and laugh at him when he falls over.

    Watch Dogs looks awesome and it's nice to know the PS4 will run it but we already knew that. Sony have done NO WORK on it so it's a bit cheeky to show it off as 'the power of PS4' when we all know it's powerful and we also all know that the next Xbox will be able to run it as well.

    Killzone looks as boring as it always has. Just waiting for more actual game info and footage to confirm.

    David Cage is a man I admire for his enthusiasm but yeh, banging on about emotion and immersion and then going 'look at ze polygons!' is a bit counter-productive. However, like Blow he is one of these 'geniuses' who could essentially just walk out, take a shit on stage and then show us a screen shot and people would still pre-order his game. Although, those polygons do look very nice.


    I reckon this whole thing was a heady mix of pre-E3 jitters and a desperate need to confirm that the world genuinely does give a shit about the next PlayStation. They were a bit worried that Microsoft would consume E3 considering the Xbox has always been a bit more 'kapow!' than the PlayStation and so decided to jump the gun and have their own little pre-event party. Except the console chassis either isn't finalised yet or they think that by making us wait until E3 we'll care more. In fact the opposite is true; you've done a console 'reveal' without showing the console now Sony so that thing better be the most beautiful piece of shiny black plastic ever crafted otherwise everyone will be disappointed.

    This would have made a great "Rant" Video for the YouTube channel...
    Just sayin'.

    Posted on: February 23 5:04 PM || Report || Reply

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