PS4 Reveal and Why I Remain Unimpressed

In Op-ed, PS4 by Eldon Tsan

February 20 was a big day for Sony. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about and aren’t up to date on video game related news, Sony announced the PS4 (or as people who are ABAP call it, the PSQuadruple) along with a number of launch titles like the new Killzone or Destiny. I was pretty disappointed overall with the console itself and other aspects surrounding it because I was led to believe that the hardware would be next-gen material, when in reality it feels more like current-gen but slightly dated.

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Let’s first talk about the hardware since that’s the most important aspect. While revealing the hardware, the presenter used a lot of buzzwords that really turned me off to the whole thing. Boasting technological advances in hardware such as having a “supercharged PC architecture” and an “enhanced PC GPU,” all I could think to myself was how people who don’t understand PC tech will be dazzled by these big words.

I’m just going to say this outright, the Dualshock 4 looks really poorly designed. Essentially, Sony took the Dualshock 3 and stuck a touch screen right in the middle. The only thing I can think to myself is “Why would they do this?” I honestly don’t see the point in having a touch screen because not only is it incredibly gimmicky, it isn’t even aesthetically pleasing. The select button has been replaced by a button devoted to sharing gameplay, so I’m sorry Devil May Cry fans, because it looks like taunting is gone. I like the idea of recording and taking screenshots to show my friends of the game I’m playing, but I think that having a dedicated button to do so is a bit excessive because the average person probably won’t be taking dozens of screenshots and footage of gameplay of every game they’re currently playing.

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Sony also announced a new peripheral called the Playstation 4 Eye, which is essentially a Kinect but made by Sony. Sony also has stated that they’re bringing Playstation Move to the PS4. Both of these things I could not care less for because they’re just gimmicks. I don’t know why Sony is trying to attract the waggling crowd, because that demographic would much rather play the Wii or even the Kinect, as hinted by the PS Move’s 15 million sales compared to the Wii’s nearly 100 million or even the Kinect’s 18 million.

Almost half or more of the entire conference was devoted to a large amount social media attached to the console itself, such as the ability to stream directly from your console to your friends and having friends be able to drop into your game to control your character to help you through a tough segment in the game. I like the streaming aspect, but having your friend control your character to get past a tough boss or puzzle does not sound appealing at all because the fun of games is overcoming obstacles, and this would cheapen the whole experience. Imagine how many people would need their friends just to get past the first boss of Ninja Gaiden. It sickens me.

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It was announced that players seeking to play older titles from the PS3 would have the option to do so. However, it most likely will be done through a streaming service provided by Gaikai, a cloud-based gaming service that has partnered up with Sony. My issue is that, while cloud-based gaming can provide a substitute over using a physical copy, it isn’t a preferable experience to playing a game natively due to the possibility of having latency and connection issues, and it doesn’t make sense to encounter those problems if you were playing a single-player game through the service. With no foreseeable way of verifying past purchases, it seems that Sony will once again be gouging players’ wallets for another chunk of change in order to play previously owned games, whether it be digital or physical copies.

Sony stated that there will be interplayability on games with the PS4 and Vita so that you can transfer your playthrough on the PS4 to your Vita and take it on the go, akin to how the Wii U can transfer gameplay from the television to the tablet controller. That’s cool, I guess, for Davis and the three other people in the world who own a Vita. For the rest of us, however, it still hardly justifies purchasing a Vita and is hardly groundbreaking. It’s just Sony trying to catch up to the advances made by Nintendo.

In essence, I’m not really that impressed by the console. Hell, they didn’t even show the thing at the end of the conference. I’m sure if I didn’t own a high end PC, I would be a lot more excited for it, but I understand why a console gamer would be hyped since the machine is much more powerful than current console hardware. Honestly, I’m more excited at the possibility of PC ports being higher quality since graphics won’t be held back by hardware that is almost a decade old. Don’t get me wrong: I absolutely loved watching the conference, because all of the information being revealed made me laugh. I just wish Chad Warden was there.

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Eldon TsanPS4 Reveal and Why I Remain Unimpressed