We’ll guys, I’m falling asleep on my desk at work right now so I wanted to give you guys my impressions on what occurred today and what could be the most exciting day that Sony has had in a very long time. It’s no secret to anyone that me and Sony are not too good together, in fact, I can outright say that I don’t really like Sony too much as a company for gamers. But this time, on an event that might have triggered the beginning of the next Console Wars, the Sony Playstation 2013 Event held in New York and streamed to millions was an event that had only one thing on everyone’s mind when talking about it, discussions in websites and gaming shows, and of course, me; it was the announcement of the Playstation 4.
Over the last few weeks I’ve been finding out more information about Microsoft’s endevours and their current soon-to-be future console Project Durango and the only thing that has been shown so far until yesterday was that the console might be named Orbis, used games might not be playable, and the leak of a demo controller that was shown a few days before the huge event. As it turns out, no one thought that today wouldn’t be about PS4, since Sony at first said they wouldn’t have minded letting Microsoft go first with the reveal and then suddently, they are announcing this event and encouraging everyone to tune in and watch. Clearly Sony couldn’t contain themselves and after today, it’s not really hard to see why. Sony came out balls blazing with tons of specs of the console, showing the controller, showing tech demos, games, and announcements from companies that have not worked on consoles for a very long time. I won’t go over everything that happened but I will go over my favorite things that occurred in the event.
1- The Dual Shock 4 controller
To the surprise of no one the controller that was leaked and deemed as a demo product was actually the official controller of the PS4. This new controller’s triggers were redesigned and placed in good spots and I definitely feel improvements were made as they also mentioned better wireless technology and less focus on the rumble aspects. Also, the controller comes with a touchpad in the middle of the controller and a “light bar” that can interact with a sensor that looks like a redesigned Sony Eye and allow to view perspectives in the game by moving the controller.
My favortie feature of this controller is the Share Button. This button is included as the broader spectrum of Sony, cloud gaming and inteactivity with gamers. Like FRAPS, Game Capture and streaming, you can hit this Share button and you can record your gameplay footage and share it over PSN with it’s improved connectivity all cloud based. This makes things very interesting since I definitely see people acquire gameplay and share it being easier than capturing the game footage and editing it and then sharing it with the world. How it works, it wasn’t explained in detail but I bet a long ass demo will be available on E3.
The reason I like this is because it’s a hardware reveal and proof that the Sony PS4 exists and it’s not just something that Sony decided to just throw out to have the first leg out on this new console war that is most likely going to start this year. And the Share function is a huge way to allow gamers to share their personalities and their highlights, granted that the function is not like FRAPS and slows their game to a crawl while it captures, but if it’s in the cloud, it might not even interfere, or so we think. I don’t know if I will get much use, but if I can share it with the world, why not.
Did I also mentioned on board headphone jacks on the controller? Nice
OnLive was known for being a company to provide games you can play over a server and you can also acquire highlights as well. Sony definitely one ups this company by buying a company solely focused on cloud technology and implemented an entire ecosystem on the cloud. New interface of the PSN GUI and you can notice the cloud sending information, uploading footage, downloading a game and also even going as far as allowing you to play bits of a game you are downloading while it finishes to download.
Again, like most of the reveals, it’s all explained over the top and not in full detail, but the jist is that sony wants to make PSN into a cloud based experience and they want everything on the cloud. Even launch games from the cloud which could mean a possible lack of a need for CDs anymore which sadly could mean another backwards compatible problem. It sounded like they wanted to make sure you can launch any game from the entire Playstation catalog that was available on the cloud, launch it right away without waiting, and play right away to avoid boot ups and loading disks and such.
This is fascinating to me as cloud based storage, gaming and other things are what is making this future the more interesting to be in, but Sony does seems to have a firm grip on cloud, just that they didn’t explain too much in detail. Sadly.
3- Hardware was like a powerful PC
I’m a PC gamer above a Playstation player. I won’t say I’m a total PC gamer, but I will take PC over any game console because the games on the consoles run and look so much better on the PC. If Xbox games where all on the PC, I wouldn’t have an 360, but they are not so I do. And I grew up playing console games and they hold a special place in my heart and of course, to be a PC gamer, you need a gaming PC and money to put in decent hardware to run the games like Far Cry, Crysis and Skyrim. But Sony with it’s ports it has always been a bit clunky. It’s usually the one where it doesn’t nearly look or run as good as the rest of the courterpart systems and the hardware is usually not bad, but not great.
The PS3 was a powerful system, but it was so locked up and restricted to developers, they could never make games to benefit from the machine they were given to experiment with. But PS4 had a nod for developers during the entire event, but more on that later.
The specs on this PS4 are pretty insane: x86 Motherboard, 8 GBs of RAM, Specilized GRR5 GPU, and internal storage as well. The specs sound like a pretty awesome PC that you can build yourself but it also has technology that can run background processes like download games while another plays them. This allows for enjoyment of your games without waiting for downloading the game or the part of the install to finish like it did on Metal Gear Solid 4 almost during the entire game. My favorite part of the system was the Suspend/Resume function because it’s basically a Sleep Mode function for the console. Suspend the action or game that you are playing and then you can resume what you were doing on the next bootup like normal. It’s Sleep Mode! Long over due. Also, they are also testing Havok and Unreal Engine 4 as well with the hardware and they were explaining how the GPU will take stress away from the CPU and run complex functions left for the GPU. You know, like PCs do now with CUDA and Nvidia cards now. But for games, bananas!
4- Developers were given love
There was an overall theme in the event about the developers of games being listened too and a video montage of many developers, if what it’s left me to believe, is the reason this new console is so expansive with features and functions. Developers are being given free range to code and design and unlock the potential of the dev kits and if the developers in that video clip are true, this is truly going to let them create things that were limited on doing on the last console.
Seems they are all up for the cloud and some are even blessing the Move controller as a design tool like Media Molecule did. They created these real time sculptures they all kept re-shaping into other designs and hundreds were created just with this tool. The rock montage made no sense since I didn’t see them design anything so I can’t say it was valid.
But I think the reason I’m very excited that Sony is working a lot more closers to developers is that Sony finally realizes that they are the backbone of their division. They are the reason games are being made and they are the reason the console will have longevity. If they are given freedom to do whatever they want and unlock untapped potential in a super console like the PS4, just like developers do with PCs that they spec out to the max and work with different dimensions and different builds and such, Sony will find games suck a lot less because developers will not be restrained to what ifs and buts.
5- Holiday 2013
This was the last thing that was shown before signing off, and they didn’t even reveal the console at all. They revealed that the whole event was for PS4 but they didn’t show off the PS4. But that didn’t mean they didn’t make a statement when they placed the Holiday 2013 on the end of the conference. This puts Microsoft in notice and Nintendo I’m afraid.
Microsoft is now going to be on the lookout for that date and on the hunt to try and out do Sony with a better presentation on E3 or before. They will be filling the heat since they are now generating so much buzz with all the reveals and the tech that went behind each moment they were talking about something on stage. And Nintendo has to be more afraid than ever.
They just got their next gen console out which really isn’t even next gen at all. It’s outdated current gen that isn’t even working like it should be doing. Nintendo can be heard miles away screaming their eyes out because of this. They can pretend to act as cool as cucumbers but they cannot deny that they are way in the back and after Microsoft unveils their console, they might as well consider themselves defeated. And I hate that I have to know this because I love the Big N, always have and always will. But the E3 bombs and the constant disappointments and those boring ass announcement videos from Nintendo Direct. How in the living Hell are we going to be excited when Satoru Iwata looks like he just walked away from Ground Zero on every one of those videos.
Sony, you nailed it and started the next gen console wars. Let the blood bath begin!
6- Watch Dogs
The best game of E3 last year was Watch Dogs. And this cyber punk action sandbox game is looking even brighter than ever after ending the show with it. Watch Dogs’ demo on PS4 tech showed the main character hacking a bank account and stealing money, trying to stop a dude from killing someone he is stalking, and running from security by raising road blocks and pinning cop cars, stopping trains and blowing gas mains with his FREAKING PHONE!
Watch Dogs is a game where you can access anything and anyone with your phone and with your tech and you can basically cause mayhem to try and evade threats from coming at you. The story is still not clear by espionage, security, hacking and tons of cyberpunk are all over this thing and I want this game right now.
7-Second Son and Destiny
Following the half way mark, Sucker Punch came to the stage and then this dude started talking about cops, about security, about monitoring stats and about camera abuse and this guy started to like ramble like he was Mel Gibson in Conspiracy Theory. A loon that was talking about the government monitoring us and looking at everything that we do.
Then out of nowhere he starts talking about having powers that can allow us to bypass these security measures and not be in the cross hairs of these security details that watch everything. And then they start showing this guy decimating a security team but this guy has like fire controlling powers and teleportation. Reminded me of Infamous, and it should, it’s the same developer. I think it might be something related or if it’s not, I can’t wait to see more on this. Turns out that this is a follow up to the Infamous franchise and I kind of thought it felt like it and missed the upper part of the title, but I can blame that on the poor stream quality.
But another big announcement was that Bungie had come to Sony and they are bringing Destiny to the new console. This was days after they revealed a bunch of new information about Destiny and they are going to be bringing exclusive content to the PS4 when they release the game for that console.
Mind you that the game is also coming out on Xbox as well, but the truth is that this game is going to rock on the PS4 if they can tap on this kit and create the Halo Killer. Because, if they created Halo and manage to create an even bigger IP, 343 Studios are going to look like fools. And that is still with all the good work they have done so far with the Halo IP, but honestly, they aren’t Bungie.
8- Deep Down and Panta Rhei/Square Enix and Luminous Engine Demos
Seems like it was also a night to show up engines as well as many companies came to the stage to show many improvements on technology from what they bring to the next console generation. First Yoshinori Ono from Capcom came on stage and didn’t give us fighting games but instead delivered what looked like Dark Souls on 5 cans of Red Bull. Showing of a tentative titled demo called Deep Down, it shows a group of knights taking on a dragon and the fight just looks amazing. This is Capcom’s Panta Rhei Engine, or at least that was the codename given to the engine demonstrated.
Square Enix showed also a pretty impressive demo of their new engine, Luminous. Their demo was more along the lines of magic using and summoning spirits and then getting assaulted by unknown forces with guns and then one girl that is part of this order gets an artifact and gets chased but when she is about to face her end, the summoned monster comes to her aid and they flight off and I sort of felt like it could be a Panzer Dragoon game from this point but this was of course, a tech demo so no actual gameplay.
These were more for flair more than anything and Media Molecule and Quantic Dream both did the same and this conference as a whole was, in my opinion, one big tech demo but I guess I can’t be surprised because the PS4 is the biggest thing to come out of Sony at the moment and E3 is the biggest event in gaming so I do believe some or all these will be filled in with more detail and maybe even more gameplay like KNACK and KillZone Shadow Land and maybe even some playable Destiny and more Watch Dogs. More of all is always great.
There has been more news coming out for the PS4 soon after the conference and more news has continued to arrived after I end this blog since I started last week and now I’m finished. The possibility of not having physical media, being able to play used games, Dual Shock 3 not being compatible and backwards compatibility for anything native from the last generation is all just a small fraction of what has happened and been confirmed or at least assured of what is going to happen.
The head of Sony would like to see a more subscription based service for gamers kind of similar to the cable companies where they offer you more services depending on your tastes and for what I’ve seen so far, at least the technology is looking like it’s much more developer friendly and also more advanced for consoles. The console is a mid grade gaming PC and I know of many friends that have PCs that smoke the PS4 in terms of hardware and performance right now and have been for some time, but at least now the PS4 can be a part of this community a bit more by generating more tech that makes sense instead of blocking devs from creating games because you won’t share how your Cell processors work.
Most of all, my impressions of this conference were a bit left short because we didn’t get a console reveal, we didn’t get a price, we didn’t get much detail of the console’s hardware other than the first 15 minutes of a 3 hour conference. I know Sony wanted to make developers slobber with the tech demos and the hardware is something that they not need to know much since they understand it more than I do at least, but if you want to wow everyone and not just us gamers who want to get this console down the road in a few months, show more than demos that might not have been even running on the PS4. Show more detail on the hardware and also share more about the Share functions as well. Like I said, this is most likely going to be all shown on E3 but I have to wonder how long will this conference be. If they show all the capabilities and all the hardware and software in detail on E3, I believe they will have a successful launch later down the year and put Microsoft and Nintendo to shame.
Microsoft might have something going on April and we know nothing about Nintendo for later and for E3. Only time will tell and I’m very excited for this time. A new console generation. I hope this brings joy and not frustration. I hope it keeps some tradition and not alienate the gamers by forcing too many changes. I hope for the best.
And that is all I can ask for. E3, get here now please. We all need answers.