PlayStation 4 and the Invisible Reveal


I'm back in the UK after a fortnight in Japan. I'll be writing something about our trip in the next few days, which will include some holiday snaps, but for now there are more important things to discuss.

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I had so many questions heading into last night's PlayStation 4 extravaganza. What does the hardware look like and what games will I be playing on it? How many jobs will I need to afford one at launch, and when exactly is launch? Will it stand horizontally or vertically?  How many times can poorly dressed men say "social" in the space of two hours? Ridge Racer, Ridge Racer, Ridge Racer? Some of these questions were answered, others remain.

To Sony's credit, they didn't beat around the bush, referring directly to their next home console within the first five minutes. Although there was lots of speculation and company waffle, Sony wasn't afraid to show off the controller along with some trailers and live demos. We did not see the actual hardware, but instead the new controller took centre stage and the hosts were very forthcoming regarding early games. Although I would like to have seen the black box that will soon replace the other black box under my TV, I'd much rather learn about games than gawp at a slab of plastic for an entire conference.

Lead architecture designer for the PS4, Mark Cerny, came prepared with technical details and introduced the new stereo camera and DualShock 4, which looked a bit too third-party knock-off for my liking. However, the new features should make up for its unappealing design. There was confirmation of a PC GPU, 8GB of unified memory and lots of other specs that have made many a developer very happy, at least if talking-heads are to be believed. The ability to play games as they download is very welcome and will be a god send if PSN remains as excruciatingly slow as it is on PS3. It was suggested after the presentation that the PS4 will not block used games.

Gaikai's Dave Perry set the bar rather high for the Sony Network and cloud. There was much talk of social functions and how it will be near impossible to avoid your friends, who will have all sorts of new ways to bother you online. The share button, direct interaction and the ability to watch your friend's game were all discussed. As expected, the PS4 will not be backward compatible, though Dave was hopeful that the entire PlayStation back catalogue will eventually be available via streaming, so we can pay for our old favourites all over again. The Vita was mentioned a number of times, and there was talk of its potential being unlocked later in the year as the "ultra companion piece for the PS4". Remote play will be a key feature, as PS4 games will be playable on the portable. This sounds very promising, but it makes you wonder why this hasn't been done for the PS3.


If a screen full of logos is anything to go by, everyone except Microsoft and Nintendo is developing for the PS4. Killzone Shadow Fall looked impressive, Drive Club is very vehicular and Knack was an odd choice for the first software reveal. Sucker Punch are looking to get more mileage out of InFamous with Second Son, which suits me just fine, and Blanka wants you to play Capcom's Deep Down. Jonathan Blow and Media Molecule had projects to talk about but Square Enix might as well have stayed at home. Watch Dogs and Bungie's Destiny will both appear on the PS4, and Diablo 3 is coming to PlayStation. To be honest, none of these games really excite me, but I'm expecting a lot more in the next nine months that will. Holiday 2013 is the current US launch date, and rumours persist that Europe may have to wait a little longer.

Sony revealed quite a lot of information for an initial announcement, while being careful not to give everything away; this is exactly what they should be doing at this early juncture. Microsoft will be talking about the next Xbox shortly and Sony needs to keep plenty in reserve to counter whatever they have in store. Aside from seeing the hardware, I'm looking forward to learning more about the evolution of PSN and would like to know whether or not the PS4 will be region free. E3 will be vital, as both companies jockey for position, and I imagine Sony will hold something significant back for Tokyo Game Show, possibly the price point. Hopefully, we'll get confirmation of a next gen Last Guardian and maybe even a launch-window Uncharted.

I was neither overly impressed nor disappointed by last night's showing. I was, however, satisfied that Sony is moving in the right direction. If they are approaching this correctly, last night should be the first stage in a gradual roll-out, part of a prolonged tug of war where every Microsoft announcement must be met with another Sony reveal. The next nine months are going to be very interesting indeed and Christmas is shaping up to be more expensive than ever.

Comments

  1. Sony restored my faith in them as a company last night, I was honestly worried especially with all the issues I've been having with them lately but I'm happy. A launch window Uncharted is wishful don't you think? I mean Naughty Dog is finishing up The Last of Us and the other team just got off Uncharted 3 to work with The Last of Us team to help them finish up, I'm 100% they do have a small group working with the new PS4 tech but I doubt we'll see anything from them for at least a full year after The Last of Us releases.
    I am looking forward to the new Infamous but not overly excited for it, no games really got me hooks but I am excited for Blizzard and Bungie, I'll be looking forward to playing their games on PS4.
    I really didn't care about seeing the hardware, just them talking about it was enough for me. I hear a ton of rumors going around about a Nov. release date with a $429 price tag for the core system and $529 for the bigger HDD system. After seeing what they have in store for PS4, it wouldn't surprise me if they released the core system for $500 and the bigger HDD for $550, I don't see them going for that 600 figure again though.
    All in all, I'm excited for this next gen with what they've shown so far. I'll be right next to you working five jobs at once to get my hands on one day one which usually isn't my MO when it comes to consoles, I tend to wait a bit... we'll see

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, I know the Uncharted thing is wishful thinking, as like you said there are only so many teams at ND. Still, if I were Sony, Uncharted is the one game I would make absolutely sure was going to make an early appearance on the PS4.

      I'm definitely excited for the next gen. I also realise that the small window of opportunity for the Wii U is about to slam shut. If the PS4 is this Xmas, I'm not sure if I'll ever buy Nintendo's latest.

      Cheers

      Delete
  2. I'm sold. That controller is sexy. Looks like there will be a really good launch lineup too.

    Hope you had good time in Japan.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sold on PS4, though I think the conroller looks a bit shit.

      Japan was good thanks. Will have something posted about our trip next week. Expect pictures of games :)

      Cheers

      Delete
  3. I thought Sony presented the PS4 pretty well. They showed enough for me to be excited to be finally getting a next generation console (sorry Nintendo but Wii U does not count). The social features they talked about are a bit ambitious so I really hope it works as they plan. I really like the idea of being able to easy see what your friends are doing and share your experiences with them. Does seem like they are headed in the right direction. Lets see what Microsoft has to offer now. I hope they can blow my mind with their new console announcement.

    Hope you had an awesome Trip and welcome back!

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    Replies
    1. I reckon Microsoft will be hard at work getting their presentation ready, following Sony's announcements. I don't think we will have to wait too long for it, either.

      As much as I am still enjoying my PS3, I do feel ready for the excitement of a new gen. I just hope it won't cost me too much!

      Cheers

      Delete
  4. I enjoyed this. I think one thing I really wanted was a new game that kind of blew me away. Like the game that said I can't wait to get my hands on the PS4. I mean I know I'll be getting a PS4 already probably at launch. And I know Sony will show that game that I wanted to see at some point. But I guess I thought it'd be cool if that was at the show. I did dig Infamous and Knack. I love Media Molecule, but was not sure what to make of their demo and Square Enix's showing was a waste of time. Solid showing though.

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    Replies
    1. I'm waiting for that game too. I have all but decided that I'll get a PS4 at launch, I'm just waiting for a game or two to justify my purchase. With all the functions that the PS4, controller and camera look set to offer, I don't think it's going to come cheap.

      Cheers

      Delete

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