Some quick thoughts on Sony’s PlayStation 4 presentation:
- Overall, a pretty decent presentation from Sony. It presented the actual features of the PlayStation 4, including the new sharing capability, in addition to some high-profile games like Watch Dogs and Infamous Second Son.
- It was admittedly long, and they spent much of it on buzzwords and needless appearances like Square-Enix’s second showing of the Luminous Engine demo which we saw last year.
- Hardware seems to be what we expected from rumors. It is certainly capable; better specs would always be better, but we’re looking at a substantial upgrade from the RSX used in the PS3.
- Naysayers can make fun of the “supercharged PC hardware” all they want, but they’re not understanding that consumers pay for software in addition to hardware when purchasing devices. Windows doesn’t offer the convenience of what Sony is offering with the PS4 for things like sharing gameplay footage. Steam and Origin are in the best position to do something like that, so I suppose it isn’t a huge advantage, but most computers can’t handle streaming very well, anyway.
- Mixed feelings on the cloud service – not sure why PS1 and PS2 games at the very least cannot be emulated as they are on the PS3.
- The bandwidth just isn’t always there for many people to constantly stream content, especially when a connection shared in a household, so I’m not thrilled about this.
- The little features, like suspend/resume, are really nice additions.
- Thanks for making my Vita purchase feel a bit more worth it with Remote Play compatibility.
- Games are slightly underwhelming: Destiny was expected, Killzone was expected, and Watch Dogs was expected. The Witness debuting as a timed PS4 exclusive was the biggest surprise.
People seem unimpressed with the presentation, but a lot of that negativity seems to come from tech pundits and press.
What was the bigger shitshow: Sony holding a long press event for a device they didn’t show and wouldn’t give a shipping date or price for? Or the gadget blogs that devoted hours of coverage to this?
— John Gruber
A cynic would say Sony had a chance to impress tonight and failed. So would a realist.
— Michael Gartenberg (@Gartenberg) February 21, 2013
lots of sony event apologists out there. this isn’t 2006 — you can’t launch a product like this anymore.
— Chris Ziegler (@zpower) February 21, 2013
I don’t know if it’s just me, but as a gamer, I’m pretty stoked by what the PS4 has to offer so far. Here’s just a few of those complaints and my responses:
1. Sony didn’t show the console!
I still don’t understand this criticism. I get that people are curious as to what the PS4 itself will look like, but does it really matter for a console? In the age of wireless controllers and digital distribution, the console has earned more of a lonely yet permanent spot in the living room. The reasons to physically touch the console are disappearing: we’re starting to download more of our games and we’re starting to stream more of our video content. You barely ever, with the exception of disc switching, need to look or touch the PlayStation 4.
The actual devices that matter are what we use to control the PS4: the DualShock 4, the PlayStation Vita, the Move controller, and smartphones and tablets. Sony explained how all of them will be used. Isn’t that ultimately what matters? Perhaps less so on the smartphones and tablets, but at least we know Sony is looking into it, especially with Microsoft’s Xbox SmartGlass around.
2. No release date or price!
Holiday 2013. That’s November or December 2013. If you want to criticize that the release date is so far out, that’s a different story. Games take much longer than apps to develop, and Sony can’t just drop a new console now (if it even had the PS4 ready to ship) with no games available for it.
Price? Why announce a price just yet when Microsoft hasn’t for Durango? After all, the Durango is the PS4′s only real competitor.
3. You can’t launch a product like this anymore!
Why not? Apple’s model isn’t the only model available that will work in terms of publicizing and selling a product. Ziegler mentions in another tweet that “‘this is the gaming industry’ is not a valid defense here. these products are converging.” But has any product actually presented something that can replace the PlayStation or Xbox as a gaming platform instead of a media center device?
As much as the tech industry likes to speculate that Apple and Google (via iOS and Android, respectively) are cutting into the market share of Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo, that doesn’t exactly apply to the console space just yet. iOS and Android have the potential to disrupt the console gaming space with an Apple TV or the Ouya or some other device, but nothing except the PC has ever demonstrated that the games that people buy consoles for will be available on iOS and Android. The Apple TV, if it ever does get apps or games, will not be able to handle a game quite like the next Call of Duty because for its price, it will not deliver an experience quite like the PS4 or the Durango can. The A6X in the iPad 4 may run games at 2048×1536, but they don’t really look that great. The Ouya has some big publisher third-party support, but they’re just Android ports that never get the development effort of something that will be released on Windows and the other three platforms. At most, the Ouya and Game Stick will be glorified emulation machines.