So Sony recently wrapped up its special conference to unveil something big-‘PS4′-and made people guessing what it was. Turns out it was the announcement for the PS4, and a lot of other stuff that just rounded out the conference to just be decent. Luckily a good majority of it was games, but to some degree it felt like the first hour was sort of bringing the show down. What I mean by this is that it’s a combination of me reading up on leaks several weeks beforehand, and that it simply lingered on too long on a certain parts. However before I dive in too far, let’s go into the beginning of the conference.
Social Gaming and Sharing
In order to make their fanbase feel even more like lonely sad sacks, or maybe it’s just me, Sony brought on Mark Cerny to discuss sharing game updates with your friends through your Facebook, Twitter, phone, iPhone, camera, refrigerator, and…zzzzzzzz. Honestly it was Sony’s version of ‘We Are The World’, except ‘We Are the World…With A Controller In Our Hands’. Also interesting to note that Sony thought that they would keep forcing in the word ‘socializing’ any chance they got. It was very typical and it was just there to garner the attention of that demographic who love touching their iPhone’s and tweeting on them. Though from what I heard, investors weren’t too happy about it either.
The one awesome thing though that me and a lot of other people took away from this was the sharing button on the controller. Basically it allowed you to either take screenshots or share gameplay footage on to the internet, though it isn’t fully confirmed it may be possible to post these videos on Facebook. It’s a neat option that can branch off into different ideas, but how well will it integrate with the software? Several questions like this popped up, but I expect to hear answers later on, probably at E3.
From a distance the controller looks almost the same, but up close there are definite changes. For one thing, they added a touchpad on top that will integrate into certain software (just like the Vita). Of course as I mentioned, there is a share button that allow you to capture video and show it off to your friends. Under the touch screen is a speaker, however it’s also implied that it could possibly be a microphone as well. Then there’s the convex triggers, smoother redesign, and a creepy move light strip component that can essentially see anything you’re doing.
The Hardware and Other Peripherals
After ditching the processor that was being used for the PS3, Sony decided to stick with a more PC format this time for the system. It will be utilizing a x86 architecture CPU, an enhanced PC GPU, and 8 GB of GDDR5 system memory. Also there will be a low power option that pauses the game to conserve energy for the system. Another unique option is the ability to customize certain things in the background like uploading videos or updating games. On the whoring out side, the PS4 has apparently attained several engines as well. Having not only the Unreal Engine 4, but also showing the Phanta Rei engine from Capcom as well.
On the motion gaming side, it was also revealed that the console will ship with a camera peripheral and built-in motion sensors on the controllers. Obviously judging by its design, Sony is desperately trying to compete against Kinect. I have no idea how it’s going to work out, but in due time we shall see.
Things got started with Knack which is developed by Sony Santa Monica studios, it seems to be a platformer/brawling game aimed for kids judging by its art style, but perhaps later on there could be some more complex mechanics that could attain the attention of older consumers. Killzone: Shadow Fall was next (developed by Guerilla Games), and there is not much else to say other than its an FPS sequel with a sharper look than it’s predecessors. After that was DriveClub (developed by Evolution studios), it’s Gran Turismo but with more of a wolf pack/friend gathering element behind it. Infamous Second Son (Sucker Punch) only premiered as a trailer, a new IP called Deep Down (Capcom) showed up along with a new engine, and Diablo 3 was revealed to be ported over to the PS3/PS4. And I’m sure is going to get a bunch of hardcore PC gamers panties in a knot.
Aside from unannounced projects from Square Enix, Media Molecule, and Quantic there were 3 games that caught my attention. One of which was Sleeping Dogs, Ubisoft’s next-gen title that was revealed last year got a new demo this conference and showcased more of the smart device the main character used. Destiny is Bungie’s latest title, and aside from the beautiful visuals it seems to have a lot more going for it than the usual FPS affair in terms of customization options, exploration, and attaining loot. Lastly the Witness by Jonathan Blow (of Braid fame) looks great and seems to up the challenge in terms of puzzle solving, and making things interesting by having it become a PS4 exclusive. While there certainly wasn’t a whole lot of new creative titles on the forefront, the few that were there did get me really excited for the potential these games could have.
I wasn’t exactly expecting a whole lot from the press conference considering that I knew that E3 was going to be a major show for the software, but at the moment it was simply alright. To be fair too, a lot of my lowered expectations came from the fact that there were several reports and leaked images that were shown off a month or two before the conference. However the hardware was not my biggest concern (in fact, that’s one of the things I got the most excited about), what bugged me was just that it felt more like a continuation from the PS3 rather a new start. What I meant by that is that it seemed like there were more sequels to well-known series than there were new IP’s.
On the flip side though, we did get those new exclusive titles along with a few small surprising ones too. Actually by the second half it did seem like the conference picked up some steam and maintained my interest. In fact the more I think about it, the more I get excited for the actual hardware itself than the games. The ability to share your gameplay footage with the simple touch of a button is a really cool feature, and not to mention that now Sony has ditched the processor for a more PC like structure means more smoothed out games. At first I wanted to criticize the conference really hard for spending too much time on the ‘socialization’ options and less new IP’s, but then I kept remembering that E3 isn’t too far away.
Main point though as I said before, it was simply okay. Too long, but okay.
Anyway, thanks for reading, tell your friends about the Brutlounge! Also keep your eyes open on part 1 of a certain retrospective piece I will be posting soon.