The PS4 : Keep Calm and Carry On
So two days ago (20th / 21st February) it seemed every geek with an internet connection dialed into Sony Playstation’s live event all eager to see the next generation of the Playstation family.
I however couldn’t make it due to work commitments. So it was much later in the day that I joined, what I had thought, would be a whirl wind of excitement. Yet by the time I had arrived at this party it seemed the cake had sent to the wrong address, and while everyone was wearing party hats quite a few looked disappointed about the cake situation.
And so it was, social networks and blogs alike, a sea of mixed emotions from the gaming community as they digest the 2 hour spectacle that was the PS 4 launch.
A lot has been said about the lack of detail on the console and, well, the actual console. But I think there is a few things we should all consider before we start writing off Sony’s effort. Now upfront its probably important to recognize the fact that Sony’s PR hype building and subsequent “expectation swing and a miss” approach will not go down as a big win. But I do believe that this event was a successful launch for one important group of the gaming community, the developers.
While the world expected the full razzle dazzle of the PS4, which there was a fair amount of promise, the event was in fact a developers preview. It was an important developers preview too. The marketplace around consoles has been rough for all the players, with mobile & web gaming starting to take up valuable gamer hours, and what I believe Sony have done today is send a signal to developers worldwide that they are bringing a platform that helps the issue of coding for different devices.
Its a super PC, and Sony are not hiding the fact with 8 Cores of AMD x86 goodness. A super PC with a lot of great potential. With the introduction of Gaikai technology there are a few really eye catching concepts that will add to the gamer experience, and extend the platforms potential outside of the little black box sitting under the living room television.
This is not the first time Sony have tried to bring leading edge technology into the gaming experience. Remember the promise of being able to use your PSP as a rear vision mirror in Gran Turismo? It seems that one of Sony’s biggest hurdles in trying leading edge concepts is convincing the developers that its worth the additional effort.
And in my mind that’s the key point that Sony were painstakingly trying to push. In the past developers wanting to be truly multi-platform had to develop code differently between console and PC, now that gap is smaller with the PS4 taking on the shape of a PC. This signals an shift towards less complex and hopefully much faster and simple development models.
So was yesterday disappointing? Yes to all but hard core Playstation fans. We did want to see a physical console and we wanted a super wow moment that made us all dream about the future, but we were left confused…. except for, i suspect, a few developers who thought that it was very cool.
The journey is just begun and i would suggest that by E3 Sony will be showcasing a lot of stuff that will blow our minds. So while this was a great start, it probably was a start slightly over-hyped and hijacked by high expectations and the slight edge of PR eagerness.