PlayStation 4 Press Conference Impressions

PlayStation 4 Press Conference Impressions

Did Sony come out the gate and impress or leave us wanting more?

The next console gamut is about to get underway. Over the past decade, Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft have battled to dominate the digital entertainment scene, each aspiring to deliver something innovative to their respective platform. Xbox 360 has remained a solid performer over the past few years, while the PlayStation camp has held a steady performance with its market share. After ten years, Nintendo aspired to become a game changer with the debut of the Nintendo Wii U, which rolled out ahead of schedule, and sadly – its overall sales performance has been a staggered success.

Now Sony is armed and ready to join the next-generation war. This evening, the company held a press conference to address all the piping hot rumors that’s surrounded the highly anticipated successor. Yes, the PlayStation 4 is real and it will be ready for the center stage this holiday season. Most importantly, Sony has apparently spent the past few years quietly putting all the essential building blocks together to ensure that the next unit rolled out the gate isn’t just about graphic benchmarks and new lingo that are typically tossed around to create hype and interest.

We aren’t going to bother breaking down every single highlight of the conference because quite frankly, there were aspects that were more appealing than others, and even then, there’s still certain questions what were left unanswered. Was it enough to solidify interest, or has it just turned off more gamers to patiently wait for what Microsoft is going to roll out the gate?

A few of us came together to toss some quick thoughts together on what Sony presented tonight, followed by a few notable responses from our fellow readers/friends.

Our insights are as follows:

Chris Bahn

ps4-event2This evening’s press conference has definitely sparked enough intrigue to do a little more than ponder the possibility of picking up a PlayStation 4. Maybe that’s a little spontaneous, but for me, I saw hope that this time, Sony might actually be onto something. They have to. Xbox 360 is reportedly one of the most successful platforms, and despite the emergence of Nintendo’s Wii U, no other competitor has managed to put a dent in their industry dominance.

When it comes to overall performance, value and purpose, hearing about things like the degree of polygons an upcoming device can push out or its ability to create realistic facial expressions are very impressive traits, but these things truly don’t matter to a well-informed gamer. All they care about is what kind of games are on the way, intuitive features that enhance the console’s functionality and of course, the bottom line they’ll be expected to fork over in order to relish in these forthcoming, virtual experiences.

Well, only a few questions were addressed tonight. As it turns out, the rumored DualShock 4 controller wasn’t actually a fake after all. Personally, I am still not too fond of the overall design, but if it manages to be a snug fit in my hand, then my complaints will pass. And what about the specs of the actual console?

Hm, does anyone care about that anymore? Personally I don’t – but I know there are some who can’t get enough of what actually powers the hardware, so here it is – directly from the PlayStation 4 press release:

  • Single-chip custom processor — CPU : x86-64 AMD “Jaguar”, 8 cores, GPU : 1.84 TFLOPS, AMD next-generation Radeon based graphics engine
  • Memory — GDDR5 8GB
  • Hard Disk Drive
  • Built-in Optical Drive (read only), BD 6xCAV, DVD 8xCAV
  • Super-Speed USB (USB 3.0)
  • Ethernet (10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX, 1000BASE-T)
  • IEEE 802.11 b/g/n
  • Bluetooth® 2.1 (EDR)
  • AV output
  • HDMI
  • Analog-AV out
  • Digital Output (optical)

ps4-event1

Of all the featured developers who delivered a visual appetizer of what’s to come, Capcom and Square Enix stood out as the most promising, although, I was very close to tuning out what Ono had to say once it became obvious that a new Street Fighter production wasn’t going to be unveiled, my hopes and dreams were shattered. I’ve never been especially fond of Killzone titles either, but there was something about the next installment that intrigued me enough that I will probably do more than just giving it a passing glimpse when the final production hits the retail shelves. DriveClub is a cool production for diehard racing fans who adore playing in groups and such. I dunno, this would probably have garnered more interest if they simply slapped Gran Turismo on it and called it a day. I felt trolled seeing the production, only to find that it had an entirely different IP.

So the Move controller is making a comeback, huh? Well that’s great I suppose. This seemed like a technical, underveloped (and unappreciated) peripheral that was written off as a gimmick developers didn’t truly care enough to support. Now they’re going to give it another go, and I fear that history is just going to repeat itself again. That showcase of seeing someone’s dream brought to life would have been better if it had some kickass mechas, Naruto or something. Instead, we had these funny looking type Muppets. Were they Muppets? It doesn’t matter – I still have little interest in picking up the Move even if that was packed in with the system. Pass.

In any case, it’s cool to see the consoles are starting to directly incorporate more social networking capabilities since popular hubs like Facebook, Twitter and  Youtube are certainly here to stay for the next several years. Being able to share your gameplay with short video clips while you keep actively playing is a huge plus. That’s not to say that Sony is trying to pave the way for gamers to give up their day job and start making a living based on their gaming adventures at home, but it’s a great start in the right direction providing these tools to help gamers stay readily connected with their friends and other challengers encountered online.

I briefly ducked out during the PS Vita’s ability to play PlayStation 4 games, so all the details were not immediately clear. From what I’ve gathered, it would appear that they’ll create a new avenue for taking your sessions on the go ala Nintendo’s Wii U. Though it gets even better, SCEI’s roadmap for the PS4 will also expand so that it will also expand their “second screen” strategy to also include smartphones and tablets like powered by Apple and Android upon currently dubbed “PlayStation App”.

You know, if Sony were smart, they could drop the price on the PS Vita, giving more gamers an incentive to pick one up to use as a companion device. I am going to put money on the probability of this coming true at some point.

And speaking of games. One This major question of concern is: what type of media is being supported on the PlayStation 4? And what about the support of preowned games, especially with certain productions (hi, Diablo) who plan to create their games with an “always on” format? These are things that still remain unanswered, at least until E3, where even more will be revealed prior to the system’s official launch this holiday season.

 

Aaron Eades

The overall console looks pretty great, the technology is definitely there and the implementation of social networking and streaming sounds awesome. Unfortunately none of the games they showed are games I have much interest in, Watch Dogs is more exciting than the others, but it still doesn’t look much like the generational leap I was hoping for. Right now I’m excited about the PS4, just not very excited to play anything on it.

Bobby Davis

As usual, there was a lot of focus on technology and graphics. Which were very impressive. I still fear for the gameplay aspect. They kept saying “For the Game Developers”. Will they truly focus more on story and innovation with this more simple and elegant piece of technology?

InFamous stole the show in the beginning, but then Capcom and Square Enix did some really impressive showmanship. I called another Final Fantasy release, and I think the cinematic trailer was exactly what that was. Watch Dogs looked rather impressive. I totally missed the Blizzard announcement, and whatever was said about Bungee.

I also really liked the “share” button. That feature does so much for people who want to capture that moment of gameplay, but not have the technology to do all of that.

Witness might just revive puzzle games on a mainstream aspect. That remains to be seen. I feel that Killzone could have had been more impressive. However, it wasn’t bad. Drive Club might be a pretty cool concept as well, for racing fanatics. The focus I kept seeing on First Person could present a turn off for some gamers.

Both Capcom and Square Enix boasted new Engine technology for their games. I wonder where that will take things? How they will utilize things in their upcoming titles. “Deep Down” Looked impressive. (From what my computer didn’t have a heart attack trying to see). I think I might be wrong about the footage I saw for Square Enix, but yeah…I had a hard time seeing moving footage. Gotta try and confirm exactly what all of that was.

Overall, it didn’t move me (No puns intended) to want to get a PS4 right away. It did have it’s moments where there was promise. I’m more focused on what gameplay has to offer. Let’s hope these companies deliver.

Okay, so it was Agni’s Philosophy. I must have missed that bit of info however many months back.

Gabriel Jones

Sony’s conference was very interesting, and even a little weird. When I think of game systems, I think of the games that they play, not their capabilities. That’s to be expected, since for decades, all videogame consoles did was play games. After the conference ended, I wanted to buy a PlayStation 4, but mostly for all of the features available to the console.

The sharing features sound incredible. Streaming, sharing and watching videos; and the always online connectivity look impressive. I’m not too fond of the controller though. The way the buttons and the d-pad look, gave off a cheap third-party controller vibe. Also I have to say, even with all the new tech in the controller, the dual-shock is showing its age.

As for the games themselves, I’m most interested in Driveclub. While racing games are entertaining on their own, the driving aspect can be incredible, when enough attention is paid to it. For example, I really enjoyed Test Drive Unlimited, just because I could collect expensive cars and drive them around. This is the one game from the conference that I didn’t think about the social features (which sound great as well). I just wanted to play this game, because it looks awesome.

As for everyone else, the only other game I want to buy is Watch Dogs, and to a lesser extent, Destiny. Capcom’s Deep Down has amazing graphics, but I’m not so sure about how the game plays. It looks very QTE-intensive, like a high-tech Dragon’s Lair. If anything, I wanted to see something along the lines of Dragon’s Dogma, only with more freedom. The overly-scripted dragon fight in the demo just didn’t appeal to me. Square-enix did absolutely nothing aside from show Agni’s Philosophy again. I don’t know what they’re doing anymore. While Sony usually delivers quality first-party games, I don’t enjoy most of them. So I tuned out while Sony showed off Killzone: Shadowfall and Infamous: Second Son.

Overall, Sony’s conference was great. If the PS4 delivers on its promises, it could revolutionize console gaming. It looks like Sony has learned from their missteps with the PS3, and the remote-play functions breathe some much-needed life into the Vita. Hopefully, along with the price and release-date, some really fantastic games are also announced for the PS4 this E3.

And what did some of you have to say?

I think Sony has done a really good job of compensating for what was wrong with the PS3. There’s a lot of small usability stuff here that isn’t a selling point but does make it a better experience. I fucking hate having to spend a half hour updating my system every other time I want to play, and I hate that I can’t download something while I play a game, and all that little shit. 

They also seem to be trying to give developers what they need, and make it easy to program for, with lots of RAM. It really seems like the right move for Sony; It’s not real sexy, but the fundamentals are really solid. It’s the conservative play, and so it appeals to me as a traditional gamer. - Travis

No Kinect=win - Mike Begum

I’m excited…Sony is actually learning from their marketing mistakes of ps3…watch dogs does look pretty awesome!!! I wanna see the console though…preliminary feelings are that microsoft has their work cut out for them - Gavin Savoy

Graphics looks pretty, but so does the XBox and PS3. The Social thing sounds interesting, but having YOU take over MY game … is out right retarded. No pricing, no REAL GOOD look at the controller. Its for Game Developers. Same of the same old from Sony. - Adam Bowers

If I am the first to say that Watch Dogs is sick! - Daniel Gee

I wanted to be blown away by Sony’s unveiling of the PlayStation 4 today, but I find that I’m pretty lukewarm on the whole affair. Your move now, Microsoft. Wow me… - David Beaudoin

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Chris has worked in and around the gaming industry over the past 16 years, including two gaming enthusiast websites and several freelance positions with mainstream media covering trade show expos, strategy guides, and game reviews.