So the hype is starting to build on the new Playstation, which is expected to arrive before the end of 2013. I thought it might be a good idea, now that the dust has settled on the reveal, to recap what we know and what I feel Sony need to nail to make the PS4 a ‘must-have’ console for the majority of gamers.
So what exactly have Sony shown us?
The Dualshock controller has been revamped with new triggers that curve outwards instead of inwards, redesigned sticks – this time with a ridge feel as opposed to the smooth curves of previous thumbsticks. In addition to that there is a ‘Move’ bar on the back that will be used as a replacement for the red lights currently on top on the PS3 pad. There are also other potential uses for the bar but the ramifications of this aren’t readily apparent to me. Hopefully as time goes on Sony will clarify. There is also a headphone jack right in the pad and a touchpad (that also clicks in) in the centre, much like the rear touchpad on Vita. One of the biggest features is the Share button, which I’ll talk about further just below…
It seems the PS4 will be capable of sharing game content at the touch of a button. The console records some of your gameplay as you go along. You can hit share, quickly edit the footage down and send it on to friends, or the internet at large, straight away. Perfect for those moments where you wish your mates had seen you pull off a genius move/do something so stupid you can’t even believe it. As well as uploading to Facebook or Twitter you’ll also be able to stream gameplay to Twitch TV etc. If you’re stuck on a section you can ask a friend to jump in online and take over the controls. This could also be used for an online version of old skool couch co-op where you and a friend would take turns doing a level each.
I have no idea what all this really means if I’m honest but from what I can gather the above is all good news for us gamers because the PS4 will be more powerful and links in to the next point…
BETTER FOR GAME MAKERS
It’s no secret that Sony have been courting indie developers over the last few months, with games like Hotline Miami, Spleunkey and possibly Fez making their way to PS3/Vita. This bodes well for the appearance of future projects of these developers and hopefully we’ll see lots of great titles coming to PS4. Rather than just making the console and getting it out to developers it looks like Sony actively went to developers and asked them what they needed/wanted from the PS4. It seems the PS4 will be easy to develop for from the get-go and will avoid the issues game makers had when getting to grips with the PS3′s complicated architecture. This is good for gamers as it means better, and more, games should be coming for PS4.
YOUR OLD GAMES WON’T WORK
The PS4 will NOT play your PS3 game discs. A lot of people have been fairly negative on this point but for me this isn’t a major sticking point. Of course if it played them then great but if it keeps the cost of the new machine down then I’d rather they left it out. I had a backwards compatible PS3 and I can probably count on one hand the times I used it to play a PS2 game. Also if rumours are to be believed old games may be available via streaming.
One of the biggest complaints about the PS3 is the fact that you can’t download updates etc while doing something else. It’s so frustrating to get fired up to play something then have to wait 12 minutes for an update to download. Well with PS4 we will finally have background downloading for updates and also the ability to start playing games while they are still being downloaded from the store. These might sound like small things but they will immediately remedy a big issue with the PS3, so that’s a great thing in my book!
VITA CROSS OVER
As a Vita owner another positive of the reveal was the fact that Sony are aiming to have 100% of PS4 games playable on Vita via Remote Play. PS3 has limited remote play so I’m dubious about Sony’s 100% claim but this would be fantastic, especially for me – in a house with just one television. It would give me the option to play a PS4 title while the TV is in use for something else. As well as hosting games the Vita also has a potential use as second screen, like the Wii U controller. I’m personally not excited by this prospect but it might be used in interesting ways so perhaps it could be something more than an inventory/map screen.
GREAT GAMES ALREADY ANNOUNCED
At the PS4 reveal Sony showed off a lot more games than I thought they would – in among the impressive tech demos we saw trailers for the following (click on each to see the footage):
While these might not all be brand new IP’s they serve to remind everyone of the strength of the Playstation exclusive universes out there. The Killzone and Infamous series are two of my favourites in recent years so I was happy to have new games for them confirmed.
So that’s the information we have for now, what is left for Sony to reveal before, or at, E3 in June?
This was probably the biggest gripe from the press/public at large – that Sony didn’t show the actual box for PS4. As much as I love how sleek the consoles have been designed in the past I was more concerned with hearing about the direction Sony were taking with PS4, so the form itself isn’t an issue. How it looks will not affect my decision on whether to get one but I understand that it might for some people.
Sony did say ‘Holiday 2013′ but didn’t confirm whether this will be a global release or whether us folks in Europe will have to wait, possibly until early 2014, to get our hands on the hardware.
This is my personal sticking point. How much is this going to set me back? Some websites have listed the price as £399 and said they will not charge more if PS4 turns out to be priced higher than that. I can’t imagine a retailer agreeing to that without some sort of information on the rough price. I would like to see it closer to £300, I think at £400 it starts to become too expensive. Maybe £350 is the right ballpark?
We should find out about those three things very soon. But what else would I like to see at E3?
Of course Sony will have more games to announce at E3, either self published or via third party developers/publishers. Here’s a list of titles I’d love to see them talk about at E3:
- Uncharted 4
- Fallout 4
- Red Dead Redemption Sequel
- New Quantic Dream Project
- Rainbow Six Patriots
- New SOCOM
- Just Cause 3
- Battlefield: Bad Company 3
- New Syphon Filter
While some of these are likely (Uncharted 4, Just Cause 3 and Rainbow Six Patriots especially) most are just wishful thinking – Rockstar will be fully focussed on GTA V so I can’t imagine they will be looking to announce anything new at E3. The same goes for EA and Battlefield 4 – they won’t want to muddy the waters by talking about Bad Company 3 (though I wish they would!). The launch of a new console gives Sony a chance to launch new franchises like Knack and Drive Club but also relaunch older ones like Syphon Filter or SOCOM. It will be interesting to see what announcements are made.
As someone who has benefited massively from Playstation Plus I’m keen to find out what the plans are for the service going forward. Rumours point to a streaming service for PS3/PS2/PSOne games being a part of it and that certainly would be interesting, given the ongoing support for PS3 that is continuing through 2013.
It’s an exciting time in gaming and as someone who wasn’t convinced on getting a PS4 right out of the gates, after the reveal I find myself becoming more tempted. Essentially I expect it will come down to price for me.
But what about you guys? Are you planning on picking one up – if so are you thinking you will at launch? Or further down the line? What is the biggest consideration for you?