This is why you write about games. You write reviews, and walk-through to fill in the time, but the real reason that you write about gaming is so that you can tell the world what you think when something BIG happens. I saw the gaming community stand still. I saw Sony overload IGN, Machinima, and Youtube (their own live-stream didn’t fare much better). I saw the official announcement of the PlayStation 4.
So last night (i.e. 20th Feb 2013), Sony held a press conference in New York. Invites were sent out almost 20 days ago, mysteriously titled the Future Of PlayStation. No one was fooled however; everyone and their grandmother expected Sony to unveil the new Playstation. There were questions however, Sony had been known to shoot themselves in the foot before. What will the announcement be, will they change the controller, will they change the name. What games will come out, will we see any demos, why will the console be better, how will Sony sell their latest toy.
As it all went down, in hindsight it was fabulous. The live-stream began at 4 pm Eastern Time (or 11pm UK time) which meant it was 4:30 in the morning in India, and I had office the same day. I kept awake through the night however (a feat I have been ranting about, but have got no appreciation for), and watched in anticipation as Sony fired the first salvo in the 1st console war of this decade. Read on to find out why it was so good.
1. They unveiled the PlayStation 4:
I was in 2 minds whether this shuould be my first or my last point. In hindsight, it seemed inevitable that Sony would announce anything else but. In anticipation however, with all that hype and all that pressure, I wouldn’t have put it past them if they would have just put in a conference talking about next-gen and not actually announcing it. That would have been a sheer waste of hype and more importantly anticipation. I was so glad, it wasn’t. It was not to push God Of War and Last Of Us, it wasn’t to push the price drop in PS Vita, and it wasn’t to push a new P.S.N.. True we did not get to see how the new console looked like, but perhaps the first time ever, Sony themeselves uttered the words “PlayStation 4”, and just like that it was set in stone. There is a new console, its gonna come out in the holiday season this year, and its gonna be called “PlayStation 4”.
2. It’s still Playstation:
I am so glad that it isn’t called the “PlayStation Orbis” or whatever else that was doing the rounds on the internet. Its the next PlayStation, the PlayStation 4 or quite simply PS4. I am also glad that they haven’t changed the Dual Shock Controller. Its still looks like the design that has served Sony so well, albeit with a few subtle changes (picture above). It just gives the feeling that Sony are confident and comfortable of the brand that they are extending. They have’nt thrown away years of accepted and recognised tradition for the sake of tailgating and hollow innovation. Anyone who has had a PlayStation before would be able to identify and feel familiar with it at once. It give the console a legacy, a history, a name to live up-to, and a consumer base too.
3. The Advent Of Sharing and Spectating:
When I first began writing game reviews, the first roadblock that I faced was that I didnt have actual footage to back me up. I had to rely on official trailers, or official gameplay video to complement my work, often unable to provide evidence of my experiences. If I wanted to do so, I needed to invest a bit extra, buy splitters, recording devices and what not to record my gameplay on my PC (not to mention I needed to find those parts first, which in India is a pain), all the while PC gamers were sneering their noses at me. Now all I need to do is press a button, and most recent of my gameplays will be uploaded to the internet in no time, I can even Live-Stream my games, and let others spectate me in real time. What this does is it takes the PC component out of the equation, you don’t have to pause the game, or worry about video editing, all the tools are available at one central location, and there is no technical expertise you need to have.
4. The Games:
It is easy to forget in the midst of the hop-hullah that no console becomes great without some great games. Sony opened the conference with KillZone: ShadowFall; the gameply footage of which they uploaded live during the event using the PS4; The game looked gorgeous. Watch_Dogs was on full display too, showing off the graphical might of the PS4 as it rendered Adam Pierce in drooling polygons. Bungie’s new cross-platform project, Destiny was on display too, once again providing a sneak peek at Halo’s creator next magnum opus. The game that took the cake for me however, was Blizzard’s Diablo. From the moment Blizzard’s name appeared on the screen, I started mumbling Diablo 3 repeatedly (it was scary, creepy and pathetic all at the same time). This for me was the wow moment of the conference, to get my all-time favorite franchise onto my all time favorite gaming brand was huge, even if no one in attendance made a sound, my heart just gave Sony and Blizzard a huge ovation. Find the complete list of the games announed for the PS4 below:
|Deep Down (working title)
|Final Fantasy (TBA)
|Infamous: Second Son
|Sucker Punch Productions
|Killzone: Shadow Fall
|SCE Japan Studio
5. There was no bad news:
There was no price announced, and hence it gave no opportunity to people to haggle and complaint how over-priced the machine was. The console itself was not unveiled, perhaps saving it for the E3 later this year. This again saved the company from Troll Wars between early adopters and traditionalists. There were rumors that P.S.N. would be turning into a paid service, if that’s true, it wasn’t announced here. This conference was planned to create positive hype, and no controversy at all. Even the console’s pitch wasn’t that it was a new untethered powerful beast, rather it was pitched as a product developed after consulting deeply with the developer and the gaming community which aimed to please everyone with its simplicity and ease. In a nutshell, there was no damper, no pot-shots, and no controversial statements made during the 2 hours (except for the small mention that PS4 won’t be backward compatible).
This is an exciting time to be a gamer, we are on the cusp of new console war. The PS4 is all set to go against the Wii U and Microsoft’s next. There is also Valve’s Piston (a super small computer to play games) and Ouva (the android based gaming console) over in the horizon. A lot of people are heralding the end of the console generation, with the rise of casual gaming and cheap PC hardware. In spite of all that, it seems like a throwback to the old 90s when there were plenty of consoles to choose from. What do you think of the new PS4, and gaming consoles in general, tell me more in the comments. For some more coverage of the PS4 conference check out my friends over at whatsyourtagblog and their view here and here.