Tuesday, 26 February 2013

PS4 Rambling - The Saga Continues

Carry on...

So, if yesterday was talking about games, then today we talk about some of the hardware, software and design choices. Now, there isn't quite as much here to talk about (perhaps), because of everything that was shared it's hard to say if anything may be dropped, and of course there will probably be more things revealed as well.

Since we didn't see the console itself there's not much to actually talk about in that regard. Honestly, despite some of the complaints on that front it's something that I find mostly unnecessary. Of course if the thing turns out to be the size of a fridge or something then we could have a problem, but since I doubt that this is the case there's not a whole lot to worry about I'd wager.

What we did end up seeing hardware wise was a new controller, or at least the early prototype of one. Surprise, it's a dualshock controller. That has to be the biggest shocker ever. Still, going with a "why break what isn't broken" mentality has kept Sony from moving out with another potential boomerang. The controller looks to have slightly different analogue sticks, a somewhat firmer d-pad, and in terms of entirely new features both a "share" button and a touch pad.

Let me say on the record now that I'm the furthest from a fan of touch screen technology as you can get at the moment. I won't begrudge people who like it, but I find it to be finicky and often used for nothing more than gimmicky bullshit that can be done better and likely with less effort in more conventional ways. The share button, appropriately, shares your current gameplay with anyone online in a streaming experience.

That brings me to something that got a lot of mention in the press conference: the social features. Joy....

Social integration is one of those things that seems to be inevitable with each generation. I'm not saying that it's a bad thing, but to people like me it's never going to be a selling point. You can really tell that Sony is pimping the social aspect rather hard though. Aside from being able to share live streaming gameplay experience and basically have a channel where people can watch you play you can also do things like know when a friend has bought a game and have the option to buy it yourself. Perhaps the strangest thing would be the option to have another player step in and play for you if you want.

That last one in particular strikes me as highly counter-intuitive. If you buy a game, then wouldn't you want to play it, even if it were difficult? Getting someone else to do the work for you seems little better than just sitting down and watching a let's play online, and probably less entertaining to boot. To me it just seems like a waste of time, although no doubt there will probably be some enterprising gamers that hope to even use their skills to make cash as sort of "living FAQS" that people can hire to beat the rough spots of titles. I'm not sure that's something I want to see, ever, but it strikes me as a trend that might spring up anyways.

I will say this: assuming that the devs weren't just spouting bullshit, then Sony may have made this system easier to program and develop for. If that's the case then I am actually impressed. For all the power that the PS3 touted, it was supposedly a nightmare to develop for, which kept some people away from it and made the gains from the system slow going. If they've made it more friendly to the people that actually make the games, then the more power to them.

I wonder though ... can the same really be said about the players? That is perhaps the most important question, and one that I will cover fully in the next instalment.

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