Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Thoughts On... PS4
So here are the broad strokes: They covered the machine specs of the console, debuted the final version of the PS4 Dualshock controller, talked about the overall design philosophy behind the PS4's creation, They had some game demos, some engine demos, and a couple of major announcements.
I like the new DualShock 4 controller. It looks wider, which is awesome cause I have HUGE hands. The drawback is that with the new Touchpad on the controller, I might have issues accessing features of the game by accident. I guess we'll have to see. They also integrated the PlayStation "Move" tech into the controller now, which I find.. interesting. It looks like they got rid of the "Start" and "Select" buttons, but I like the idea of the "Share" button. Which brings us to the philosophy of the PS4.
Despite the awesome technical stuff discussed and displayed at the meeting, I found myself most captivated by the philosophy of the PS4. The Lead PS4 system architect, Mark Cerny, stated that the development of the next gen console started 5 years ago, but they seemed to have tapped into a lot of really current ideas. Some stuff was expected, like game integration across all types of devices. (The DriveClub segment covered some interesting ideas on that front with the idea of racing in teams, and using apps to affect other parts of the game or create challenges for others to play.) What was most interesting for me is the idea of social integration into what Cerny called "the PlayStation ecosystem".
I like the idea of being able to easily share videos of my game play with friends (Most likely to help me out with whatever part I can't seem to beat), play games while they are downloading, and testing out games without downloading or paying for them. (That little tidbit was the only part of the whole conference that referred in any way to money. Again, interesting.) The coolest part was being to be a spectator, and watch the games my friends are playing (if they are broadcasting) and possibly jump in and help. For someone who is a hermit, I was actually impressed with the social media aspects of the PS4.
The game demos were cool. I'm loving "Watch_Dogs" more every time I see it. And, it looks like it will be available for PS3 and PS4. There's a new KillZone game coming for the PS4 which looked pretty awesome. Actually, so did the next Infamous game, Second Son. I was impressed with "The Witness" an upcoming puzzle game which reminded me a lot of Myst. But what really impressed me weren't the game demos per se, but the details in what I was seeing.
I have a background in computer programming, not game programming exactly, but I know about writing software. And as a developer myself, I know how difficult certain things are to create. I was truly amazed at the level of detail displayed in the game demos, but more in the ENGINE demos. The level of power to create such believable real time lighting effects while handling things like millions of particles flying around AND handling character movement and animation is simply astonishing. Quantic Dream really FLOORED me with their new engine. I also LOVED Capcom's "Deep Down" demo. Again, the handling of the particulates was fantastic, but what really got me was the dragon fire. The flame was so fluid, and smooth; it was impressive.
There were several announcements, but the biggest one was the at the very end. The PS4 is coming for the holidays 2013. What they DIDN'T say is for how much. Or what the PS4 actually look like. All in all, the live stream was 2 hours of interesting stuff, and what they covered was interesting. And what they DIDN'T cover was also interesting. It looks like E3 is going to be a major battleground this year. As for this year's holidays, we'll see if I can afford to get a PS4. I might wait awhile on that.
If you saw the live stream, my dear readers, what did YOU think??