Thursday, February 21, 2013

My one-word reaction to the PS4 reveal: 'eh'

The first thing that came to mind after watching a stream of Sony's PlayStation 4 presser yesterday afternoon: well, that's two-plus hours that could've been better spent. I kind of hate to say such a thing, but for me, at least, it's the truth.

It has to be said that a good part of that reaction is due to the horrid quality of the stream I attempted to watch, but it's also due to the fact that the event in question consisted of one long-winded, hyperbole-filled speech after another.

Honestly, most of what was said by both Sony's staffers and those working for various third-party studios could have been said--and probably was said--when the Japanese giant unveiled the first PlayStation console all the way back in 1994.

That in and of itself didn't completely turn me off, by the way, as pretty much everyone in the gaming industry is guilty of it these days. No, what turned me off was that it lasted for two-plus hours.

As for the rest of what was covered during this event: it was OK, I guess. A good number of games were shown in some form or another, for instance, and all of them looked quite nice. I can't say they got my heart racing, though. Of course, I've never gotten all that excited about "realistic" graphics in games--which is what pretty much every next-gen game developer and publisher is peddling these days. Nope, I'll take a healthy dose of whimsy and an interesting art style over realism any day.

That said, I was intrigued by Jonathan Blow's The Witness. The trailer didn't give me a very good idea of what to expect from this title's gameplay, but its style made up for it--at least to an extent.

I also liked the looks of Capcom's Deep Down, although I'd be lying if I said this game's "Monster Hunter meets Demon's Souls" aesthetic didn't seem a bit ... derivative.

Oh, and the controller! How could I forget about that? Actually, it wasn't hard at all, as the controller looked pretty much like every other controller Sony's produced since the first DualShock--except, of course, this time it features a tiny touch pad on its face.

Strangely, no one from Sony or any of the third-party studios on hand put the touch pad through its paces, so it's hard to say at this point whether it'll be useful in the end or not. At the moment, though, I'm personally leaning toward the latter.

The PS4 controller was the only piece of hardware unveiled during yesterday afternoon's broadcast, by the way; the actual console was, unsurprisingly, nowhere to be found. I'm guessing Sony's waiting until E3 to reveal it--hopefully along with the system's price and launch date.

Given all of the above, I can't say I'm all that stoked about the PS4 at the moment. Of course, I've yet to be persuaded to buy a PS3, so my relative disinterest probably shouldn't surprise anyone.

Still, I know a lot of you guys and gals own PS3s. What do you think of the PS4 now that a bit of information about it has been released? Are you frothing-at-the-mouth excited about it? Are you already planning to avoid it like the plague? Or maybe your feelings lie somewhere in the middle of those two extremes?


miruki said...

I'm pretty excited by the list of developers that's currently working on games for the system.. seeing Atlus on the list and considering how little they said regarding Persona 5 so far... I can really see it. 8) That would definitely make me want one. At some point. I'll definitely not get it at launch, I just got my PS3 and 3DS and got tons of games waiting for me to be played. So yeah, a new console is out of the question for now.

I dunno, I found most of the presentation quite funny (especially that guy from Blizzard, even tho I'm not too fond of that company... makes me wonder, will you have to stay connected at all times to play D3 on the PS3/4 as well? orz) but I didn't really watch all of it, just about an hour and then I just read what else happened later on. I've got to say that I'd consider getting a PS4 at some point just to get a prettier version of Watch Dogs... that game just looks so awesome (and upgrading my PC to have it run on the highest settings would probably be more expensive than a PS4.. well, depending on that will cost. But I doubt they'll go for a $600 price tag again... my guess would be around $400'ish..)

Anyway, I think it had some neat info to get me interested and now it all depends on what the developers will think of... I hope there'll be some exciting game announcements at the E3... something other than that new Final Fantasy title... currently I'm not at all interested in that... they should rather finally announce Bravely Default for the west... and a FFVI remake along with that... orz said...

Yeah, I definitely think Persona 4 is a lock for at least the PS4, if not the other consoles, too. I'd be willing to bet that Atlus has been working on it for some time--and likely as a PS3 title. If the latter is true, though, it might not look much better than a PS3 title, which would be fine with me, of course.

I'm also interested to see what some of those developers mentioned by Sony will come up with--especially the smaller ones.

As for looking forward to E3: I am, too. I'm sure they'll have plenty to share there--or at least more than they had yesterday.

Espiga said...

I fear that the PS4 is just going to be a lot more of the same. They showed off another brown shooter with the new Killzone (only this one had a slight touch of blue on the weapons, and more shades of brown), a racing game that doesn't look exciting, and a game called Knack that looks more like a tech demo over the PS4's particle + physics calculations than a game that'd actually be compelling. If that Dark Souls knockoff that Capcom showed off didn't show up, it'd have been the best looking game there.

The touchpad on the controller is a pretty bad idea. The Vita has a touchpad too, and it's absolutely useless, so unless developers have some sort of fun trick up their sleeve, I can't see why the touchpad would even be worth including. The controller itself looks a lot more comfortable and I like the looks of the redesigned thumbsticks. One thing I hate about the Playstation controllers is how loose the thumbsticks always feel, so I hope the PS4 controller tightens them up a bit.

I like my PS3, but I don't see any reason to pick up a PS4 yet. I saw Falcom's logo in the mashup of developers who support the PS4, so I'm probably going to get one eventually thanks to my undying love for them... But for now, consider me underwhelmed at best.

apricotsushi said...

Well! I'm about in the same boat as you, Brian, as I was pretty unimpressed by the whole thing. The most exciting feature for me is the ability to stream gameplay and upload screenshots seamlessly from the console, but I honestly don't even think I'd use it that much. I kind of miss the days where gaming consoles were literally just that: stick the game in, load it up, and play it. That's it! Ah, those were simpler times...

I'm really unhappy about the lack of backwards-compatibility and this whole cloud service thing. I really don't like having 2 PS2s sitting around, and the thought that I'll have to keep my PS3 if I buy a PS4 is not at all enticing I know they say you'll be able to play your old games on the PS4 at some point, but I'm pretty inclined to think that they'll make you pay for that service in some way.

Of course, region compatibility is a big deal for me, as well. If it's not region-free, then I really can't see myself investing in it until very late in its life. I guess we'll just have to wait and see...

All in all, I think I'm just going to stick with what consoles and handhelds I have for a while – I have little interest in the PS4, even less interest in the next Xbox, and, well, you already know my thoughts on the Wii U ;) That said, it's still very early and I hope we see/learn some interesting stuff at this year's E3. said...

You may be right about the PS4 just being more of the same--albeit slightly prettier--Espiga. Actually, I have a feeling the same will be able to be said about the next Xbox, too.

As for the touch pad being a bad idea: I guess I wasn't willing to put it as bluntly as you :) Really, though, I'm not entirely sure what the point of it is. And Sony didn't help matters by not really showing how it can or will be used. At the moment, though, it's far too small to be useful a la the Wii U's gamepad, so I'm not sure why it's included.

Finally, looking at Falcom: I wonder what they'll bring to the PS4? Seems an odd pairing to me, but it'll be interesting to see what, if anything, they end up bringing to the table in the end. said...

I'm kind of surprised to hear so many people who are commenting here agree with me. Then again, maybe like attracts like and folks who tend to read this blog also tend to think at least somewhat like I do?

Anyway, I agree with you to a point about longing for the days when game systems were just game systems. I say that because I *do* like some of the more social integrations that have been added to game systems--a number of 3DS' components come to mind, for instance.

That said, as cool as I think it is to be able to record gameplay and share it with others (and I do think it's cool), it probably isn't something I'd use. I would like it if more/all systems allowed you to take screenshots of gameplay, though, and share them--although that's mainly because it would make my life as a blogger easier :)

I hate to say it, by the way, but I think the days of backwards-compatibility are about over. Nintendo stuck with it this gen, but Sony has already given it the heave-ho and I suspect MS will do the same when they reveal their next console. I think Nintendo's next console (and possibly handheld) will ditch it too.

Sony is pretty likely to make the PS4 region-free, aren't they? Or do you think they'll follow Vita's footsteps--in which case the PS4 will technically be region-free, but it'll be a pain in the ass to get it to work? I really hope that's not the case.

As for sticking with the systems you have for the moment: I'm with you there. Yes, I'll likely buy a Wii U late in the year (or early next), but that's about it. I may buy a PS3, too, but that's hardly set in stone at this point.

Anyway, at least we both have plenty of systems and games to enjoy right now, right?

apricotsushi said...

Oh yes, I have to say I do love StreetPass and things like the ability to play games with people online, but I guess I mean I don't like how Sony is going for the "be online sharing things with everyone all the time" angle. I also didn't like the vibe I got when they were talking about your PS4 being able to predict your purchases and whatnot.

I understand that we may be moving away from backwards-compatibility being a relatively sure thing, but I'm really unhappy about it. I'm going to be buried under a pile of consoles in 20 years!

Also, I just learned something that makes me even more unhappy about this whole situation: PSN titles will NOT be playable on the PS4 due to the extreme difference in architecture of the PS3 and PS4.

As we talked about on the latest nichiest podcast, one reason I haven't been keen to go digital for a lot of games is because I'm not happy with now Nintendo, for example, is handling digital purchases. I was confident that by having a PSN account all my purchases would transfer over to whatever console came along, but the fact that everything I've got suddenly becomes void as soon as a new generation of consoles appears is very irritating.

I have a feeling I'm more negative/stubborn than most, but I really don't like the implications of this!

As for the region-free business, I could definitely see them going the way of the Vita. I haven't even bothered trying to play Japanese games on mine yet because it seems like such a pain. I just really don't like how closed everything feels (with the backwards-compatibility and now the lack of previous PSN purchase support).

Would you believe that at this very moment, I'm considering a Wii U over the PS4 or next Xbox? At least with that I know Nintendo will deliver at a few high-quality games that I'll love!

But yes, this is all just talk, as I have plenty to play with what I have now as it is ;) said...

You and I feel very similarly when it comes to all of this, Anne--or at least I think we do.

I agree that the "be online and share stuff with people all the time" angle of the PS4 is a bit much. That's one of the things I'm most curious about actually: how will people react to it in practice? Will people love it? Ignore it? Will PS4 gameplay videos, for instance, be so prevalent that people will eventually throw up their hands in disgust? It'll be interesting to see.

As for your thoughts on BC, esp. as it relates to PSN purchases: I agree with you completely. I really didn't even think this was a possibility--that PSN games purchased through via the PS3 wouldn't be able to be tranferred to the PS4.

And you're right about Nintendo: how they've handled this situation so far is the absolute worst, which is why it's sad that Sony seems to be following in their footsteps.

Which doesn't surprise me, really, as Nintendo likely has shown other companies that there's money to be made by convincing people to buy games they've bought before. Which is good for them, but completely shitty for consumers.

Anyway, all this said, I'll be very curious to see which of the next-gen console(s)--and, yes, I'm including Wii U here--you and I end up buying, Anne!

2D2Will said...

I'm currently working on my own blog on the event (shameless plug) but I'm currently interested, but not sold. Game wise, every trailer seem to focus on showing us how good they look or, in the case of Knack, how many objects they can handle. It all seemed very conceptual and probably won't look that good outside of cut scenes. I'm also curious exactly how the touch pad will be used in games. The fact it's not a touch screen can limit the game design opportunities. said...

Ah, well, I'm looking forward to reading your thoughts, 2D2Will! As for the games shown during Sony's event: I guess we shouldn't be too surprised that they were largely conceptual. Most of them likely were pretty early, and those that weren't probably were shown simply to (attempt to) show off the PS4's capabilities. Oh, and I agree with you about the touch pad. Hopefully Sony will show how/why they think it's worthwhile addition to the controller soon.

diaglyph said...


Whiz bang flash, little substance and oh so long.

I think the stupidest part was from Square Enix - first showing off an old demo from last year. Then to make an announcement about an annoumcent at E3 - yeah good one LOL

There were some interesting social aspects mentioned, though I'm not sure if I like the idea of friends being able to take control of your game remotely! I'm sure it'll lead to fights hahaha

Knack - this reminded me heavily of Wonderful 101.
The tech demo from Media Molecule - Move Music anyone?
Oh and look, a racing game, FPS, *snore*

And the Witness game is a limited exclusive so it'll eventually arrive on other platforms.

Oh and no reveal of the console? I'm sure the housing will be butt ugly as usual.

And Diablo 3.......bahahahahahahahaha

I wasnt overly impressed. Most people on the net seem to be drooling (and having orgasms) over the graphics though and I'm just tired of the graphics "argument" (needs to look realistic, super duper graphics, feel the POWER, blah blah) what about games with good game play and story and characters etc? *sigh*

Where was Ridge Racer? :p (jk) said...

Oh, yes, SE's section was ... strange. Honestly, even if that demo hadn't been shown before I wouldn't have been impressed by it. I guess that's what happens when your main IP (the mainline FF series) has been ground to dust and now only appeals to a select group of gamers.

Also, the E3 'tease': give me a break. Of course they're going to make another mainline FF game, and of course it's going to appear on PS4 (and likely the next Xbox, and maybe Wii U, too). No one needed to tell us that. And, really, what's shown at E3 probably won't be much different than what we say at this event.

I agree, too, that Knack looked a lot like Wonderful 101--only slower, less fun, and far less attractive (to my eyes).

I know nothing about Move Music so I can't speak to that comment :)

Finally, you and I are in total agreement about the hardcore crowd's obsession with graphics above everything else. Thankfully, some developers out there still care about gameplay and characters, and stories and even interesting art styles, but far too many care only about realism, it seems.

diaglyph said...

Move Music is a joke on Wii Music :) said...

Oh! You devil you :) Although I enjoyed Wii Music well enough (not *that* well, though), I can't imagine anyone wanting to copy it...

diaglyph said...

Here's an interesting tidbit:

So if you have stuff you purchased on PSN, don't get rid of your PS3 as none of it may work on PS4....... said...

Oh, yes, I've read that, too. I'd say it's hilarious if it weren't so sad. I guess Nintendo soon won't be the only company that pulls this kind of crap :(

diaglyph said...

If it ends up being true, I think its worse. It means you just cut your losses and start from scratch again with the new system.
Meanwhile if you want to play that old game, pull out the PS3, connect it up and play away... said...

Yeah, if true, I'm surprised PS3 owners aren't making a bigger stink out of it...

Billy Walker said...

Good morning Brain, it has been a while! Brian, I would like to take a moment to express how thoroughly unimpressed I am with the PS4 - which is due for a Christmas release this year by the way! The PS3 hasn't even reached its maximum capabilities yet as it is able to play content at 1080p whilst most games are made at 720p. There's not much more that the PS4 can offer graphically as full HD (1080p) is the maximum we are able to see at present - unless the PS4 is capable of 4k which is highly improbable as 4k technology is still very expensive. Plus you would need a 4k T.V which costs £30,000+. The only plus side is that the processor in the PS4 is much easier to program for, meaning we are more likely to see higher quality games... To the standard that they should have been on this generation console. My thought is that the first few releases on the PS4 will be glossied up a little to show off what it is capable of, but most games after that will look near PS3 graphics. It has come to the stage, I think, where in it would be more beneficial to buy a good computer over a next gen console. A decent computer will stay up to date for longer, hardware issues are easily rectifiable compare to PC/console hybrids, and if you want to upgrade it slightly without buying a completely new machine, then you can! I am leaning that way now, I've bought a great gaming laptop which should be able to cope with the top quality games for the next 5 years. said...

Hey there, Billy! Well, I can't say I disagree with much of what you've said here. I, too, think this could become an issue for Sony and MS and even third-party devs this generation. As for buying a decent computer over a console: I wonder how many people will do that, actually? It's not even something that comes to mind for me, as I've always had a bias against playing games on computers (for various reasons--although maybe I'll get over that eventually), but I hear comments like this more and more so I guess it's a possibility?

Billy Walker said...

Bry, you are dead right! A large majority of people won't make the switch from console to PC purely because console gaming has been a huge part of their lives and computer gaming seems so alien and less magical. I admit, there is something quite special about buying a new shiny and modern looking console, but the same can be said for buying a new PC!

Here are some bad things being introduced to the PS4: It isn't going to be backwards compatible with PS3 games, disks will be locked to the console on which they are installed so there will be no more buying/selling of pre-owned games.

What's more is that the game pad has a touch pad on it, whose function is still unknown at present, but this will probably make them more expensive than PS3 controllers, so buying more will have a much larger impact on your wallet!

diaglyph said...

Actually Sony have said 2nd hand games will work - they will not be locking games to systems/accounts. said...

I really have to get over my PC phobia (PC bias?) someday. I know that. I guess quite a few other gamers are in the same boat, though? I never considered that, to be honest.

As for the PS4 problems/issues you mentioned: I agree that they could keep some folks from picking up a PS4. How many, we'll see.

BTW, I thought Sony was now saying pre-owned games will be playable on PS4s? That's the thing I'm keeping an eye on myself... said...

Yes, I thought I read the same thing. The question is: will MS follow suit, or will they shoot themselves in the foot and block used games?

diaglyph said...

Bryan you should get a gaming capable PC, to at least check out Steam.
I also find some games play much better with a keyboard and mouse when compared to controller.
But then I've pretty much grown up with PC gaming so I'm used to it. said...

Thanks for the suggestion, Igor, but that isn't going to happen anytime soon. We may get a new PC sometime in the coming year, though, so if that happens I'll be sure to check out Steam then. That said, the last thing I need these days is to have another 'system' to buy games for :| My backlog's already a mile long, after all!

Billy Walker said...

Ahh, okay then. Thanks for the info man, much appreciated!