From The Fishbowl

Scribbles about stuff

Looking Glass

Hello.

I can’t believe this is my first blog post of the year. Well…actually it’s not. See, I’ve written quite a few, and then discarded them, declaring them ‘crap’ and doing something else instead. So I’ve actually written quite a few entries. I just haven’t posted them.

Anyway, I’m here now. Because I want to talk about something. Specifically, the Playstation 4, which Sony announced last night. Yes, it’s one of my gaming posts! Commence your whoopin’ and hollerin’ when it is safe to do so.

So.

As a kid, I was a Nintendo fanboy, through and through. In fact, my single major regret in my gaming ‘career’ is that I never owned an original Playstation or PSOne. I missed out on a lot of great games, or so I’m told. (I did recently download three Final Fantasy PS1 games, though, so I’m trying to rectify that!)

The PS2, though, is my favourite console of all time. There are a crazy amount of reasons for this, but the fact is that I had a lot of good times with that machine. So many amazing games. Incredible console.

Then came the PS3, obviously. I was put off because of its high entry price (£425!!!!!!) but I knew I’d get one eventually and, indeed, I’ve owned two. One ‘fat’ 40GB, which was replaced by my current 250GB ‘slim’. It’s lovely. I think it’s probably a better console than the Xbox 360, overall, (although there’s such a narrow gap between them it’s practically insignificant) but it had a lot of problems in the early days that really set it back. The price, the dodgy nature of the Playstation Network, but it’s really come into its own since then.

Anyway, the PS3 came out a long time ago, as consoles go. I’ve been hankering for some new tech, I’ll admit it. And so I watched the PS4 conference last night with a keen interest.

And I really loved what I saw.

Graphically, the games they showed look great, but really there’s not a huge leap. I expected that, and I can live with it. There was one exception, though – Quantic Dream’s face demo. That thing blew me away. I still can’t believe how realistically the light affects the skin, in particular. If it’s possible to run more than one of those on a screen at the time, I really can’t wait to see what developers could do with it.

The controller is sweet. At last they’ve redesigned the Dual Shock – of course, it looks much the same, but there are key difference. It looks like it has decent triggers, for example. Nice grips on the thumbsticks. The d-pad looks a lot neater. The touchscreen interface and the ‘share’ button are nice touches too, as is the headphone jack. Plus the whole Kinect rip-off thing with the Playstation Eye. I don’t quite see the point in that, but hey, I’m sure some developer will find a use for it.

I really love the Gaikai stuff they’re doing. Sharing video to the world, streaming demos of games, that kind of thing. They seem to have integrated it really well, too – the new dashboard looks pretty user-friendly. The whole thing about it being based more on real friends than random people from the internet is nice too. My concern, though, is that the broadband infrastructure of most of the world just won’t be able to support it. Sure, that sort of thing will run fine in Japan, the US, South Korea. But Europe? I really have my doubts. In the UK, particularly, most people still have copper wire internet connections and download caps. Which is fine, and all, but not when you want to stream a ‘Let’s Play’ video to your Facebook friends list without interruption for a couple of hours. I guess we’ll have to see how it pans out.

I have to give a special mention to Watch Dogs, too. Man. That game looks class. I haven’t been this excited about a game in years, which is crazy given that there have only been two trailers. If that is all genuinely running in real-time, though…I think I might have a new favourite game. Seriously. If that is a launch title for either the PS4 or the new Xbox, I would be sincerely tempted. Without it…I dunno.

Price is going to play a huge factor. If I can afford it – no matter the cost – I’ll likely get a PS4, for sure. If I can’t, I’ll likely wait. Naturally it’ll drop over time, but consoles are a long-term investment for me, so I don’t mind too much. It all depends on the launch window and the potential therein. One of the reasons I am yet to own a Wii U is because of a lack of games. None of the launch titles were inspiring, or even very interesting, and nothing in the ‘launch window’ has made me change my mind about that. It almost feels like it’s dead before its begun. But if Sony can promise a constant stream of AAA titles in the first months of the PS4…well, my wallet might not be happy with me.

One thing I don’t understand about the presser last night is the apathy that the gaming community is showing towards it. I just do not understand. This thing has potential, and it’s going to be in peoples’ homes this year. It exists, and it’s going to have a decent lifecycle. If you’re a gamer, I don’t see why you wouldn’t be excited. This is the FUTURE of console gaming. I really liked what I saw.

Maybe I’m just weird.

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