Monday, March 4, 2013


So, I'm a little late here almost 2 weeks after the console was announced in New York. Everyone in the industry has already gone through what they think about it, how they feel, how important/irrelevant PS4/the next generation of consoles is going to be, etc. So I'm gonna write something quickly explaining my point of view about the whole thing.

PS4 was announced in New York a couple of weeks ago

Assuming you've been living in a nuclear bunker or in an African village with no internet access, or maybe you simply don't give a damn about this sort of things, I'll tell you that the PlayStation 4 has been announced. It was the 'worst kept secret' what that conference in New York was about, and all predictions ended up being right. Now, let say you haven't watched the whole conference, you can either go to your preferred gaming site and stream in and watch the 2 hours long conference or, you can watch the following video which is a very nice and funny summary of what happened. If you have watched the conference but not the video, give it a go anyway, well worth watching.


I'll start off by giving my overall opinion about this new console: it's mildly interesting. I think Sony has addressed one of the major flaws of PS3, namely its architecture, and hopefully they'll provide proper debugging tools for this machine, since what is used to debug PS3 titles is far from ideal. It's not by chance that at the beginning most games looked better on the Xbox 360 rather than the more powerful PS3, both because the PS3 was considerably harder to program for and its tools were considerably less user friendly.

I think the conference at New York was ok-ish. It had the odd tech demo, although I must say these don't impress me much lately, I've seen so many great demos on the PC in 64KB. It had some big and impressive game announcements like the Killzone one and the stuff from Media Molecule, it had some good announcements that didn't impress me so much either, like the Knack game, Drive Club, Infamous: Second Son, The Witness (Jonathan Blow's game), and even the new Watchdogs video. There was also a nice chunk of information on how Gaikai is going to play a major role in the new console, and I love that you're going to be able to use your PS4 to stream the video to your Vita. It's definitely handy to let the missus watch Big Brother or Eastenders (or whatever the fancy soap opera these days may be) while you have a good time with the same game you'd be playing in the big screen. Silly me when I thought I bought that nice big 40" TV to watch HD films and games and not a 'almost-webcam-quality' junk TV about a bunch of lazy pricks living in a house for a few months.

The new Killzone is looking pretty awesome

Anyway, there's some really cool stuff in there, but there were some disappointments too: what's the point of bringing a bunch of 3rd party people on stage to say nothing new (Square Enix or Bungie anyone?). The Watchdogs video wasn't nearly as exciting as last E3's and it had been recorded in a PC, but it was new and that's good. Getting Blizzard guys saying Diablo is going to the PS3 and PS4, the Bungie guys talking their project of which we haven't seen almost anything is going there too. Anyway, going on stage to show a video 1 year old and say we'll say more at E3... that's wrong. Honestly, don't know whose idea it was, but man, you screwed it. Capcom's tech demo was very impressive, but there's not a single hint that's an actual PS4 real-time video and we've already been there with Guerrilla guys and Killzone, so if you want to excite, you need to get something real-time.

Sony took the right steps when they announced that PS4 games could be reused in other consoles. Second hand games are not dead in PS4. I believe that's good, both for me as a gamer, and for me as a developer. I don't believe second hand games are ruining the industry. I think that's just lame excuses for poor sales. I hope Microsoft don't go down that route. I think second hand sales are a healthy part of the cycle that allow some people to buy brand new games. They also talked about the console not needing to be connected 100% of the time for it to work. Honestly, that would be a rubish requirement Microsoft, please try not to embarrash yourselves and don't make that sort of silly mistakes.

You ever wanted to be a puppeteer? Soon you'll have your chance

As a developer I miss having more info on how open the console will be with regards to indies. Will they be as supporting as with PSN (I must say they are really good with that)? Will they go a step further and make it even easier to work for the PS4 (I know it's not gonna happen but there's no wrong in wishing)? If not, how much will cost devkits. And speaking of the devil, how much is the console going to be? If there were 2 main things missing in the presentations they were: the console itself and the price. It's disappointing not having that info yet. Hope we'll have it soon.

So, as a gamer I find the things they showed were really cool, but I felt they didn't show enough to get me really excited about it. I think I need to see more for the hype to build. Actually, I regret sitting watching some fellas go up there and talk but show no videos (Blizzard and Bungie I'm talking about you). I think that's wasting my time. I don't care how good you think your game is going to be, I want to see it myself, and play it if possible.

Watchdogs is a title I'm particularly looking forward to because it's something new, good for a change

I believe this console generation is going to be defined by hardware that has matured and enable developers to do stuff that's really cool, that removes limitations, but does it in easy ways. It's the logic next step and, since graphics are already really good, I think the ones for this console are going to stay marginably better, which means we're going to have games that look bloody good, both hyperrealistic and otherwise. I think Wii U is not gonna cut it as a next gen console and that means the 'hardcore' gamers market is going to be mostly shared between Sony and Microsoft, and Sony's machine looks like it's ticking all the right boxes. Let's see what Microsoft does.

All that is, of course, until Valve decides to enter the console race and freaks everyone out with their SteamBox and consoles become unnecessary ;o)

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