It’s finally here! Stand back feeble mortals, for your day of judgement is upon! That’s right minions, the high kings of Sony hath blessed us with details of the TRUE God of Console Gaming. Forget your Wii U’s. Cast aside your Xbox whatevernumbertheytagonnext. Embrace…
The Playstation 4.
Anyhoo, in case you are one of these “retro” gamers who believe nothing good has ever been released in the world of video games since Galaxian, then you would have either seen or heard about the recent Playstation 4 announcement. The next generation of video gaming is here… if you ignore the release of the Wii U. No! Banish that negativity! For the Playstation 4 is the first step toward the REAL next level of gaming! Not only will you get, what Sony call, a console akin to a “supercharged PC”, you’ll get one Hell of a social networking machine!
Because that was the main gist of the Playstation 4 announcement. Aside from the key tech points and a few teasers for launch titles (which I’ll get to in a mo), the Playstation 4 was sold to us as something which was powerful, both graphically and processerly (which IS a word), and that would link gamers.
Let’s get to the nitty-gritty.
While there was no hint toward the PS4 having 4K (ultra-hi-def) video, it did sing a lot of numbers that impressed some folk. It has an x86-based CPU, advanced GPU, an 8Gb GDDR5 memory and the usual HDMI, Blu-Ray gubbins. As you can guess, these things were lightly touched on, because what Sony REALLY want you to be impressed with are things like the new controller.
As guessed, it is a funky little thing which has a touchpad, light sensor and a “share” button. Essentially being a more advanced version of the original Dualshock controller, it looks like your basic controllers with some gritty little touchpad area for, well, touching. I presume. Not only that though, but everyone’s favourite handheld console, the Playstation Vita, will act as a third screen device! You know, like the Wii U!
And as for that “share” button… the PS4 is big on sharing. And by big, I mean BIIIIIIG! Hardware on the console is designed to give a better “social experience” by allowing you to pause a game, highlight a video, and then upload it to show off to your friends. It’s much like the same sort of system that OnLive offered, but obviously backed by a bigger company.
So far, so yah. A flashy console is only as good as the software it offers though. After all, nobody buys a gaming console for the movies and social aspect. We want games, and the PS4 is ready to give it to us… but not if they’re games you owned for the PS3. That’s right, for the 2nd console in a row, Sony aren’t offering backwards compatibility. Instead, we get the offer (with no hard-line guarantee yet) of future titles being available to download either as fully or streamed via Gaikai, a cloud service recently bought by Sony.
But there will be new games! Yes! Get excited, because key games coming for the PS4 are:
- Destiny, the latest FPS from Bungie, which revolves around a giant orb. Also, it has SOCIAL STUFF! YAY!
- Infamous: Second Son, from Sucker Punch Productions. For all your shocking superhero needs.
- Diablo III, from Blizzard. You know, that game with all the issues that was released for PC a while back.
- Oh, and Watch Dogs from Ubisoft, which I was so impressed with I have no snarky comments for it.
Apart from that, not much else was revealed. There was a release date of Q4 2013 mentioned, and there is where we shall start the rumour mill. You see, there were rumblings that the US and Japan would see the PS4 as early as November, while us Europeans will see it in February 2014. The other rumour? The price. Seemingly learning from the pricing disaster of the PS3, consoles look to start at your basic £270-£300 starting point, possibly rising to £400 for more advanced consoles. Harsh, but better than the bad old days.
Therefore, what now? The next generation is on the way (despite arriving with the WII U!) and the emphasis seems to be on social gaming. A tag from the rise of mobile and social network gaming? Or just the logical step in the gaming direction. After all, people don’t buy Call of Duty for the single player campaign. But as a lone gamer (so sad and alone…) I don’t WANT a social gaming experience. I want to play games, not upload videos to take me out of the moment.
Really, in the end, that maybe why I’m a bit le shrug with the whole Playstation 4 dealio. The machine looks powerful, and that’s just the start, and some of the games sound cool. But the controller isn’t that impressive, just variations on a theme, and there doesn’t seem to be a “wow” factor about it as well.
In fact, I will leave you with this thought: when the PS3 was first around, Sony said that the games then didn’t use the full power of the console. Several years on, and we’ve seen nothing to suggest it ever did.
The PS4 has potential, but potential has to be filled, not promised.