Yesterday, Sony held a big press event in NYC to reveal (sort of!) their new console, now officially named PlayStation 4. It has a lot to live up to: the PlayStation 3 (and the Xbox 360) took consoles to the next level with streaming of content like Netflix for the first time. For PS3, the Blu-ray player became a major plus. HD became the standard. And the controllers got wireless! (Yes, the Gamecube had the Wavebird first, we know.)
What is Sony ready to deliver with their new PS4, set for a “Holiday 2013” release? Of course, great graphics; but in a conference that lasted over two hours, there were tons of demos and a lots of information. Overall, it was a big day for gamers, but how big? Here are our super-quick snap judgments on Sony’s big news.
5. The Specs Are Impressive. Most Impressive
We haven’t heard from Microsoft yet, but if history is any indication. Sony’s new console will be the most powerful. Does that matter? The PS3 dominated the 360 as pure hardware, but for most of this generation, the 360 was bigger in overall sales. What we know: PS4 uses the X86 CPU and has a whopping 8GB of RAM with a local hard drive. (They didn’t say how big, but we assume at least 250 gigs). Uses APU technology and GDDR5 memory. All that and you still watch Netflix!
4. DualShock 4 Controller + That New Motion Capture Device.
This isn’t really a surprise (leaked images have been online for weeks now), but this is good news for PS fans. The look and feel of the Sony controller really hasn’t changed since the PS1 days: they just keep adding and maximizing: two sticks, vibration, wireless, and now that cool “Share” button and a touchscreen pad. (Like the Wii U gamepad but not as horribly oversized.) Yeah, the built-in motion bar is pretty much a Kinect clone but we’re not complaining. “PS4: download Downton Abbey.”
3. Games! Watch Dogs Looks Next-Gen Incredible
Seen at last year’s E3, Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs looks like Person of Interest: The Game, only better. It’s set in a future Chicago where you play some dude that has an HUD on everything. Walk by a stranger, get everything on them: “lost job, 30 bucks in their bank account.” The demo ends with the player hacking a moving elevated subway train. Whoa.
Also can’t wait for: The Witness, by designer Jonathan Blow, the indie god who made Braid. Blow was, as you may recall, the pretentious one in Indie Game: The Movie. I love that guy!
2. Spectator Mode
Hey, I just got the new Uncharted game! So get online and watch me play! And maybe help me out too. The idea of watching and interacting with other players has been talked about for years and Sony claims to have nailed it. Even cooler, only one person needs to own the game. Wow. At anytime you can hit the “Share” button for this all new interactivity: watching, saving videos, and “more.” Why do we think “Jill Sandwich” gaffes will pale in comparison to what gamers will do with this feature?
1. Load Times Are a Thing of the Past!
I don’t think anyone is as psyched for Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto V as I am, but even I hate that all GTA games take a full minute just to load up. Don’t get me started on all those “elevators” in Mass Effect. Loading has been the big FAIL of games ever since we left the cartridge era. Discs always need time to buffer, so honestly, this sounds too good to be true, but if it IS true, well, then we’re saying it: game changer.
The Five Worst Things after the jump…
5. We Never Actually Saw the Actual Console.
We saw the controller and tons of “live” demos. For a quick second, we saw a game on pause. And yet, we have no idea what that big…or little…or still monolith-looking black box looks like. We’re not arguing that the info they supplied is more important than seeing a piece of plastic, but this feels like when you get your oil changed and your car still looks dirty. No free wash? At least make it pretty!
4. Too Much Not Addressed
“Ah, the good old days” thought Sony…
No price, no concrete release date, and will PS4 play used games or not? Does it even use a Blu-ray drive? The used issue really should have been addressed, since gamers have been clamoring over this possibility. Why no launch date? Oct 26th, 2000: that was the day the PS2 was released. Was that so hard?
3. No Real Backward PS3 Compatibility
We don’t get this. At all. They say that older PS1,2 and 3 games can be played via the cloud. Um, okay, but if I already bought all my God of War games I can’t just put them in the PS4? Boo. I’m a sad Kratos. Scratch that, “I’m an ANGRY Kratos!”
2. Games! Not Feeling Very Next-Gen, Not Feeling Like They Exist
Blizzard, for the first time ever, partners with one of the big three. They show up to unveil… Diablo III? Then there’s Killzone: Shadow Fall, where the coolest part was the neat blue glass skyscraper setting. The Helghast using some new cloaking gear is nice too. But we all remember that great, amazing K2 demo for the PS3, right? The actual game never lived up. By far, Square-Enix takes the prize with a banner that had letters which spelled “FINAL FANTASY.” That was it.
1. Are All the Five Awesome Things Just Vaporware Speak?
Look! Pretty Black Swan Dancers!
A whole new way to interact, beyond HD graphics, and all those new features; the PS4 sure sounds impressive. But since the actual machine can’t be seen, is anything we saw at the press event real? By real we mean at least virtual reality real. The more we think about, the more it appears Sony did this to put their promise of the future out there to scoop Microsoft. Rumors have the new Xbox debuting a month before E3 – but we bet it will be “real” real.