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The Logic Of The Playstation 4: Sony Moving Forward
So often when ‘the next big thing’ in gaming comes along, disappointment soon follows. It seems that every gaming convention I’ve watched lately has been a whole lot of bark and no bite. Sure, the show they put on is great. In terms of hardware development, however, a case could be made that the majority of ‘improvements’ are actually gimmicks.
Subsequently, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the reveals of today’s PlayStation 4 announcement from Sony all seemed very logical. No gimmicks, just progress. At least, that’s the way it came across to me.
Having been so underwhelmed by many previous announcements, I didn’t have high expectations going into this one, but I was actually pleasantly caught-off-guard by Sony’s latest show.
The hardware within the console — being essentially that of an incredibly and specifically well-tuned, high-end PC — affords the console many new technologies. Some of these features are already familiar to PC gamers, some are emerging ideas, but all of them are intuitive.
Developer support is a great feature to have, whatever the console. With the new Greenlight system being implemented on Steam to great effect and with the success of indie gaming lately, it’d be stupid not to offer as many options as possible for developers. We will have to wait and see just how crazy developers get with this new hardware, and just how short of Sony eventually decides to make their proverbial leash, however.
We haven’t seen a great shift in graphical capability — especially so when it comes to consoles — in a long time. There really hasn’t been a big push for greatly improved hardware. Instead the focus was on social capabilities and motion-sensing technology. Sony did cover a lot of these social and motion-related elements of the console and controller; however, it felt like these things were not given undue emphasis, as is often the case as of late.
I don’t know about you, but I’m praying this new graphical push comes soon.
It’s still too early at this stage to really know the power of the GPU in the new PlayStation 4, but a man can dream, can’t he?
With many big developers already in the development process, maybe my dream isn’t so crazy.
When the PlayStation 4 controller was revealed, I adjusted my posture and sat up. I couldn’t help but feel dread at the thought of a giant new Playstation Move peripheral being the way gamers would now control their console.
Luckily, what was shown was anything but. The controller is still a controller. It sounds stupid when read aloud, but it’s become less and less of a far-fetched idea these days.
Sure, there’s still motion-sensor capabilities within the controller, but none of this hinders it at all. Go ahead and call me old-fashioned, but I’ll always prefer mashing buttons to waving my arms around in the air like an idiot.
And a headphone jack! How this has not been made an industry-standard by now, I’ll never know. The light bar also ensures controllers going missing is a thing of the past. That, or at least you’ll get a pretty light show when you rage and send the controller flying into the T.V.
If you do that, luckily you’ll be able to safely put the console in a low-power state and resume once you’ve gone and bought a new T.V. Having the ability to do this at any point in any game seems like a small feature to add. It has, of course, been implemented to some degree with consoles previously (especially handhelds), but as far as I know, this is the best variance of the system yet.
Anyone and everyone who has had to sit through long cutscenes whilst needing to go to the bathroom should rejoice at the introduction of this feature. Of course, it’s also incredibly useful should some issue arise in real-life that really can’t wait.
Having downloads run in the background is not a new idea at all. Being able to play a game that’s still downloading, however, is quite new. This is, of course, another logical step as well as being an inevitable one.
Being able to play your console regardless of whether or not your internet is up will come as extremely welcome news to a lot of people. If you’re as misfortunate as me, and your internet is about as reliable as a 3-legged-donkey, you’ll have felt the pain of having your internet die and not being able to play anything. Steam is notoriously bad for this.
Years ago, we would have gone nuts at this luxury. Today, we’d be shocked if this feature wasn’t included, being a simple but incredibly needed natural step in video game evolution.
I’m fully aware of the other, more showy features that the Sony has promised for the PS4, but for me, it’s all about the little details. I’ll explore those, if I choose, when I choose. For now I can relax and feel comfortable. For now, at least, there’s a distinct feeling of smart, non-gimmicky evolution taking place.