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Six PlayStation Features to Watch in 2014
Between announcements, jabs, reveals, and releases, 2013 was nothing if not a turbulent year for Sony’s PlayStation brand. We saw the PlayStation 4 revealed early in the year, watched as both Sony and Microsoft went back and forth in marketing campaigns vying for consumer money, and followed the crazy developments, mishaps, trends, and results right up to the massive launch of both consoles.
But in that year, and even here in the early days of 2014, we’ve seen and heard a bevvy of announcements, all of which promise something big for PlayStation fans. Well, this is the year the where money meets mouth, and we will ultimately see how well these promises play out. There are countless trends, reveals, and announcements that fans all over the globe are undoubtedly excited for, but for the sake of brevity, this list has been narrowed down to six that may prove to be the most important for Sony.
That is, if they deliver on everything promised.
Sony’s acquisition of the cloud streaming service Gaikai was one that had been rumored for some time heading up to its official announcement early in the summer of 2012, and once it was clear that Sony was, in fact, considering cloud gaming as a viable future option, the blogosphere blew up about what this could possibly mean for the future of gaming.
Fast forward to CES 2014, when the largest tech companies from around the world gathered to discuss and show off the latest advancements in gadgets and gear. Attention was quickly diverted from Michael Bay’s awkward stage appearance when Sony announced PlayStation Now, a streaming service that would allow gamers to stream games in the same way they do services such as Hulu or Netflix.
This service is set to release on PlayStation 3 and 4 first, and will eventually branch out to Vita, BRAVIA Televisions, and other non-Sony devices.
The idea of being able to stream games like I do old episodes of Futurama on Netflix and play them without a disc really is an amazing idea, but it’s one that leaves more questions unanswered than resolved. Given the sad state of internet connectivity in the US, will it work as intended? Will lag be a major problem? What sort of games will we be able to stream? I’m all for PlayStation One, 2, and 3 classics, but I’m not too keen on it pulling an early-days-of-Netflix move and giving me access to random products no one’s played in upwards of fifteen years.
My fears are probably a bit more irrational than they should be, but with still so much in the air about this service, there’s more to dream about than there is to actually discuss. Still, the potential is there for this to be a game-changing development that brings more into the gaming fold, and I’m anxious to learn more about it in the coming months.
November brought us a teaser of the upcoming Uncharted game on PlayStation 4, and with it, all the speculation franchise fans could dream up. Would Nate be involved? Was that Talbot’s voice in the trailer? Where would this take place?
We still don’t know, well, anything about Uncharted on PS4 aside from the fact that it’ll be on PS4. But you know what? I can live with that. Because hearing Nate’s iconic theme again and learning more about the upcoming adventure this year is a possibility that makes me excited in numerous ways.
Indie developers were front and center all during the promotion leading up to the PS4’s launch, and it’s not at all hard to understand why. With the likes of Journey, The Unfinished Swan, and even Velocity, many independent developers have had notable releases on the PS3 that served to make the platform unique.
When self-publishing, indie developers will have all control over their games, including setting release dates and choosing whether or not to adhere to feedback from Sony. It’s opened up the playing field, done away with a tedious approval process, and set up for many new and/or smaller developers to release their games to the masses without the need of a middle man.
The danger of self-publishing, however, is finding out what sort of vetting process (if any) will be used to help players wade through potential waves of game releases. If not handled correctly, the PSN could potentially wind up like the App Store, with its massive number of mediocre games that drown out the truly great and unique releases. So far, this hasn’t been an issue, and it’s likely that they’ve considered the risks. As the old adage goes, only time will tell, and this is the year we’ll start to see what will come of self-publishing.
The Order: 1886
The Order: 1886 was one of the few reveals at Sony’s press conference at E3 2013 that gave us a glimpse at a game set in alternate-history London. Playing as Galahad, a knight of a fabled order fighting against evil in a post-industrial revolution era, players will interact in a surreal world whose technological advancements are used to wage war in an ancient conflict.
Sounds vague? It is. And sadly, we don’t know much more about the story outside of this description. What we do know, however, is that developer Ready at Dawn is using amazing tech to create an environment that features realistic interactivity and visuals that aren’t even aptly depicted by the game’s trailers. Harder details are sure to drop between now and the game’s projected 2014 release.
This isn’t a PlayStation exclusive, but it’s still important to the ecosystem. An online MMO-esque shooter has been seen on a PlayStation platform before with the likes of Dust 514, but the check Destiny is writing to the players is one we’re all eager to cash in. Considering that Titanfall is (for now) an Xbox/PC exclusive, many PS4 players will likely want a chance to play online with friends in an expansive world loaded with firearms. It doesn’t feature giant mechs and the same frantic gameplay as Respawn’s upcoming title, but Bungie’s legacy is enough to bolster Destiny’s appeal for any and all who might be looking to have their FPS cravings sated.
PS4 Remote Play
I’ll admit it: watching demos of people playing PS4 games remotely on their Vita really does make me consider doing bad, bad things to my bank account. Sitting on the couch and playing Assassin’s Creed IV while watching a movie? Yes. Yes, please.
The remote play functionality on the PS4 has garnered some generally positive feedback from those who purchased the console day one, and the mere fact that the small device is able to handle such a task really is an impressive achievement.
But with the Vita still somewhat struggling to find the same success as its bigger brothers, the real thing to consider is whether or not remote play functionality and a PS4/Vita bundle could be something that gives a boost to its sales. If Sony is able to communicate this feature to the lay consumer, there’s a real possibility it could prove to be a successful endeavor down the road. Of course, whether or not it manages to move any more units is only something yet to be seen.
What other PlayStation features are you excited to watch and/or learn more about? Tell us in the comments below!