Yesterday, something happened that has not happened in over half a decade – a new next-generation console was announced (no, Wii U, you don’t count). Leviathyn was watching the event closely, and here the staff has shared their various reactions to the announcement of the Playstation 4.
I knew they were announcing the new console. I still got all giddy when they actually said “PlayStation… 4”. It’s a whole different time in the gaming industry when this stuff happens. Everyone thinks of the possibilities. Some will speculate on the specs. Others will complain about what we didn’t hear or see. The main thing for me is that once again we’re heading into uncharted territory with a brand new console. It’s that unknown factor after 6 or so years of just saying, “I wonder what they’ll do this year,” when we really already knew the limitations of the consoles we owned. Instead this time Sony is focusing on getting rid of those limitations and giving developers the means to explore their creativity. We’re heading into a new generation for gaming but it also seems like we’re heading into possibly the most amazing and creative console generation ever. Color me excited.
After the debacle that was the PS3 announcement, I was a little hesitant going into this press conference, but I thought Sony totally nailed it. They did an excellent job nailing down exclusive content for upcoming multi-platform games like Bungie’s Destiny, which is an area the PS3 didn’t exactly excel at. It will be interesting to see how developers, particularly independent ones looking to take part in the new self-publishing aspect of the console, take advantage of the ridiculous 8GB of internal GDDR5 RAM. With tools like that, it becomes even easier for developers to fully utilize the new system, which in turn should lead to quicker, better and more polished games. It’s a shame that backwards compatibility for PS3 games, saves or PSN downloads isn’t going to be available, but that was one of the few sour notes from an otherwise spectacular conference.
As more of an Xbox fan, the PlayStation conference has me worried as to what Microsoft can do to compete because, frankly, Sony nailed it. They showed everything but the actual hardware, a concrete release date, and a price tag. Other than that, they covered everything from new IPs like Knack and Deep Down, anticipated sequels such as new Infamous and Killzone games, and the surprise of Blizzard’s partnership with Sony. As far as the DualShock 4 controller and new Move capabilities go, Sony is paving the way into the future of gaming with social network integration and creative motion gaming functionality. The ability to remotely access your friends’ games, capture and share video between other players, and spectate online matches in real time are all exciting prospects that has me wondering what Microsoft can do to catch up.
Sony could have walked into the meeting and simply said “This is the PS4 coming Holiday 2013” and that would have been enough to wow the masses. But Sony realised they were onto something with the PlayStation Meeting and sought to drown us in next generation goodness. Games such as Watch Dogs and inFamous with full demos or trailers were the last thing that I had expected along with the reveal of new IPs such as Knack and Drive Club. Disappointingly, there was no console to look at but the small glimpses into the graphics, specs and user interface mostly made up for this. The shock and awe tactics sold me straight away, beautiful modelling and colours in a Killzone game? What a way to announce a new generation. I am seriously wondering what, if anything, Microsoft can do to counter the PS4.
Now that I’ve had a little bit of time to reflect, I think in a lot of ways the PlayStation 4’s announcement was partly about atoning for the sins of the PlayStation 3. By no means do I consider the PS3 a failure, it being the source of countless hours of my entertainment since its release, but I think Sony is keenly aware that in the face of changing expectations from gamers and developers, some of which were brought up during the announcement, the PS3 just didn’t cut it. The PS3’s shortcomings are well documented (like some of the design flaws in its system architecture which makes it difficult to develop for), and that first little bit of the conference acknowledged those shortcomings with the promise that the PlayStation 4 will not repeat those same mistakes. There was a great deal of emphasis placed on how the PlayStation 4 will better serve the needs of both developers, with many developers actually commenting on how the PS4 will serve their needs, and gamers. And if such a promise comes to fruition, it can only mean one thing: better games, and in that scenario, everybody wins.
With all that being said, I am extremely excited for the PlayStation 4—it’s kind of hard not to be given the sorts of things it will be capable of.
After seeing what the PS4 has to offer, I’m a strange mix of impressed and unenthused. On one hand I think what the PS4 can do looks great. No more booting? Instant gameplay without sitting through a download screen? Using your account on a friend’s console by storing your user state on your controller? That’s all fantastic stuff that I’ve been waiting for. But I’m unenthused because we should have already had this stuff years ago when the PS3 came out. Sony has been saying that they’ve wanted to use the Vita as a controller for as long as I can remember. Why is that just now happening? That should have been an immediate feature. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad that all of these features are going to be available on the PS4, I just wish this had been done sooner.
The initial reason I decided to buy a Playstation 3 instead of an Xbox 360 and the reason I still only own Sony’s “current generation” console is quality of the exclusive titles. Games like Uncharted and Little Big Planet attracted me much more than Halo and Gears of War. To that end, while this was an exciting announcement, I felt it was a little lacking in the games department. Don’t get me wrong, Killzone: Shadowfall looked spectacular and I am psyched for a next-generation Infamous game, but I was really hoping for something out of Naughty Dog, Media Molecule, or Insomniac, Sony’s all-star first-party developers. I’m very excited for the Playstation 4 and it looks like a great console, but it is ultimately all about the games, and Sony has yet to fully deliver on this front. I’m hoping for some big announcements of more PS4 games at this year’s E3 conference.
Check out Leviathyn’s coverage of the PS4 announcement event at http://leviathyn.com/news/