Wednesday, 27 February 2013

PS4 - Final Thoughts on What we Know so Far

Why does the future sort of feel like the past?

Last one of these for now, I promise. To conclude my thoughts on the Playstation 4 and Sony's stance in general I thought that it might be prudent to talk about a couple things that have been on my mind since I watched the press conference. To be blunt, it's been something that's been bothering me more and more since I've started thinking about it, and it's also something incredibly simple.

During the press conference, Mark Cerny made a comment about the PS4; I'm paraphrasing here, but it was something along the lines of "[the PS4] radically reducing the lag time between consumers, and their content."

Now, it's a nice thought, it really is. Here's the thing though, the thing that really bothers me. Before this last generation, this wasn't a problem. Perhaps I am committing a cardinal sin and allowing nostalgia to cloud my judgment, but it wasn't even that long ago when you could do the following: buy a game, bring said game home, place it into the system it was made for and immediately begin playing.

Only in this last generation of consoles, to my knowledge, have their been things like waiting for firmware updates, having to install parts of the game onto a harddrive; waiting for anywhere from fifteen minutes to forty five to play a game. Now, I know that this sounds like a first world problem, because let's face it, it is. Still, it's something that I've found odd.

I've had personal experience with this within the last week actually. I have a first generation Playstation 3, so I don't know if that would have a baring on the wait times, but while I was installing Metal Gear Rising I waited nearly an hour between a firmware update and then the installation that the game itself needed to do. Don't get me wrong, the game is great (hilariously over the top), but it really struck me at that moment that if this were a Playstation 2 title that there would have been none of that. I would have been playing pretty much as soon as put the disc in the system, minus any title screens that need skipping.

Stuff like this and the idea of loading firmware updates in the background, preloading digital games based on purchases -- something which better also have an opt out because that's getting a little too creepy for my tastes -- things that seem to be trying to make the console more like a console. Is it just me that thinks that it's a little ridiculous that an effort has to be made for such things?

A long time ago I accepted that a console isn't a PC and a PC isn't a console. Yet, it seems that in trying to get closer to the PC that consoles have become less than what they used to be. I'm not arguing that we should go back to an absolutely pure gaming machine without even things like an online functionality ... but do we really need all of the extraneous bells and whistles?

I'm not really sure, but I'm coming down firmly on the side of no.

There is other stuff to talk about, certainly. Like the used games issue (which still isn't clear) and the possible anti-piracy measures (which look strange), but for now I think that this is all that I can really bring myself to say about the PS4.

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