Sony is following Nintendo into the next generation of gaming with its newest console, the Playstation 4.
Sony’s conference showed off a few tech demos that utilized the Unreal Engine 4, and it is obvious that the Playstation 4 means to push into the world of realistic gaming to its brink. The graphics looks crisp, scenery looks well rendered, and the consoles ability to create large scale environments looks impressive.
You have to take the demos with a grain of salt, though. We wont know anything until we are able to see games in real time instead of prerendered demos. While the Killzone 4 demo looked impressive, I’m sure we all remember the hype Sony made when they showed off their Killzone 3 trailer 7 years ago. The game, while looking great, turned out to be an average shooter. Only time will tell as to whether Sony has what it takes to really give the shock and awe feeling from its console exclusives.
The Dual Shock controller will be making a return in the form of the Dualshock 4. It looks like a pretty standard controller for Sony except for having a touchscreen in the middle of the controller, a “share” button,” a headphone jack, and a light bar sensor that will allow games to utilize motion controls.
The coolest thing about the new controller is the touchscreen. Its still unclear as to how the screen with be used in games, but you will probably see it being used by developers to push social media functionality instead of gameplay.
What comes as somewhat of a disappointing surprise from Sony is the controller’s use of a motion sensor. While it was probably a good move to include the ability to use motion right out of the box, its unclear how Sony will use this feature for anything more than cute demos to compete with the likes of the Wii and Wii U. Hopefully developers will use motion on a limited scale in this upcoming generation. We’ve had enough of swinging our arms around while playing games; its time to get back to the roots of hardcore gaming.
Social media seems to be a prime concern for the console as the Playstation 4 will give you the ability to stream videos for anyone to watch live. With “let’s play” styled commentary so popular on Youtube, it could be a very smart push for Sony to allow players to share their gameplay with friends around the world. The power to stream and record video will give people the opportunity to easily create their own gaming channels online.
Sony is also pushing the PSVita with the Playsation 4. You will be able to stream PS4 games from your console onto your Vita. How useful this will be in everyday life is still to be determined. Sony says that it hopes to have every PS4 title available for play on the Vita. Competition with Nintendo’s 3DS has been tough for Sony, but this kind of creative marketing may be what Sony needs to keep its portable console alive. Then again, by using a second screen it does seem similar to the Wii U’s controller. Either way, it will be interesting to see what Sony is able to do while pairing the PSVita with the PS4.
One small detail that could prove to be one of the greatest decision by Sony is their decision to have a secondary processor which will allow for downloading content in the background while playing games. For far too long gamers have been plagued by having to stop playing while downloading anything. While a minuscule detail, hopefully this new feature will take the hassle out of downloading games in this evermore streaming oriented market.
A negative for the console is that it will not be PS3 games compatible. This seems like a major step back for gaming, but Sony says that games will be able to download from the cloud. Not much information is available about Sony’s cloud, but we can only hope that any game a person has now, whether Playstation 1,2, or 3, will be available for free download on Sony’s network, provided the person already owns the game. We can look forward to Sony giving us some more details about their cloud system in the future.
Now that Sony has pulled the trigger on the next generation it will only be a matter of time before Microsoft does the same. However, many have high hopes that the Playstation 4 will bring Sony back to its former heavyweight champion glory. While Nintendo’s Wii U was able to survive off of cheap motion control gimmicks, the real winner of this next generation of consoles will rely on its games. Sony needs to really unload some major firepower this generation if it wants to get on top of the market. Hopefully they will be the leader in getting gaming back to its roots.
Sony didn’t show the console or give a price, but they say that the Playstation 4 will be available sometime around Christmas. The waiting begins.