Thursday, 28 February 2013

PS4 - Its biggest innovation isn't the hardware

This time last week, we were all glued to our screens, drooling over some next-gen hardware we can really get our teeth into. The PS4 was announced to great fanfare and this blogger was impressed with what he saw. It wasn't the hardware that impressed but more, the software.

Look at that logo!

Hardware that kicks Nintendo while they're down

Early on during the reveal  Sony made sure they had answers to their competitors. Firstly, showing you can stream the PS4 onto the PSVita whilst spending time on the loo. So effectively, Nintendo's big innovation and a possible system seller can now be done of the Playstation 4. Everyone at Nintendo took a big gulp. It's all about  the great exclusive titles now for Nintendo. Other reveals include a sensor on the controller which seemed somewhat tacked on, but it will be interesting to see if that can be used in a way that really enhances gameplay. How about that share button? I think for certain games, it's a great addition.  Think of sharing something whilst playing Fifa. Scoring a stunner or seeing a funny glitch always makes me chuckle but I can't usually bothered to record it and post it on Youtube. The instantaneous aspect of the share button is a welcome addition,

In terms of the system specs, they were pretty decent but that's not what excited me about the console reveal.

The Networked Gaming Society

It's clear that Sony are looking to create a console that will be considered the perfect device for gamers who are part of the community - a powerful console with a tailored experience. Being able to see what your friends are playing and actually watching them play is a good idea. The idea of helping them and giving support is not so great. I personally find watching other people playing video games as extremely tedious. I think a lot of people will shun that idea, but most of all creating this tailored experience is very interesting. During the presentation it was announced that Playstation will learn and show things that are tailored to your tastes. Amazon have done this a while now for their tailored hompage and Sony can do this by creating tailored product and offerings. Sports fan? you're homepage will show special offers, videos and games relating to sport titles

All that data

With all that data coming in Sony can sell the data to second parties or offer developers the chance to learn how gamers experience their games. The second point is crucial as Sony are looking to create a much easier console to develop for. Sony can provide developers with videos of how gamers play that certain game which will allow developers to see things that wouldn't previously be able to see. The Playstation console could be the developer's console as well as the gamer's

The Gamer's Console

All I could think of is this could be the console for gamers. The online service will, in my opinion remain free which is key because the WiiU's online service is unspectacular and Xbox Live remains a paid service. I expect the new Xbox to be focussed around the living room and being the main box for families. That's fine, but Sony have picked up on this and addressed it by stating, 'if Microsoft want to have the living room, lets have the gamers.' It will be interesting to see what Microsoft reveal, but I expect to be a much more casual console. Sony don't have the same financial power so it makes sense for them to target the core rather than the family hub.

And Then, The Games

In terms of graphics and innovation, most of the game reveals were pretty unspectacular. Knack was the first game showcased on the PS4 and it didn't really inspire. Killzone Shadow Fall certainly looks good but my jaw wasn't quite reaching the floor. I'm not worried though. The first next-gen games always don't look that jaw-dropping and we normally have to wait a year or two to really see the console flex it's muscles. Capcom's new IP, Deep Down, was the only 'game' to look truly next-gen but I think we all knew that the video shown wasn't actual gameplay.

Deep Down (Capcom)
The stunning looking 'Deep Down'

A Fresh Start

Sony wanted to start fresh with the Playstation 4. They chose the right time to announce it whilst giving them time to drip feed the gaming community with news all the way up to its release. The main concern is the price. It won't cost $599 which the PS3 debuted at, but a price similar could prove problematic. I think we can all say, over to you Microsoft.

A thing about GTA

Is it just me, or does GTA5 look like a next-gen game?  All the videos and screenshots look far too good to be on current gen consoles. That's not to say it won't be out on current-gen consoles, but all the media about the game, screams next-gen.

Can current-gen consoles really produce something this good?


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