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The Good, Bad & Ugly of Sony’s PS4 Conference

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The Sony PS4 hypemobile officially revved its engine yesterday and started the next generation of console gaming. A two-week period of hype that began with a forty-five second trailer ended with a date. It looks like after a two-hour, TED-talk-esque performance they should have used the date for their E3 conference. I walked away more underwhelmed than anything, and Sony left me with more questions than answers.

I know it’s too early to see the console, I know it’s too early for a price. Sony needed tangible things to lay its hat on tonight and they were so abstract that it made me wonder if they can actually pull off what they are hoping to do.

Let’s break down the important takeaways from last night’s conference.

 THE GOOD

THE CONTROLLER – All the rumors and leaked dev kit pictures were true. A sleeker design, touch pad, new triggers and analog sticks. The infamous “share” button and light bar were there too. What I found interesting was how the new dualshock was constructed. It looks like the bottom part of the controller looks to be of a different material than the top. Maybe it’s just cosmetic or it could be functional. (Maybe less slippery?)

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THE CAMERA – The new Playstation Camera looks more like a Kinect than its predecessor but smaller in form factor and possibly a little more advanced. This looks to be what the light bar on the controllers will interact with.

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SOCIAL INTERACTIVITY – The “Share” button honestly is a damn cool idea. If Sony did learn something from its competition last generation it was to take some of the cool stuff the other guys have and put it into your tech. The On-Live platform’s community spectator feature is making the jump to the PS4. As a sports gamer, I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS. This will be the ultimate trash talk button — no longer will people be able to run away from those $5 “oh so I didn’t beat you the other day in NBA2k right?” bets. Let me put this video up on my Facebook page for everyone to see.

The ability for people to also help you in games is a welcome addition; I know damn well I need a Dark Souls chaperone.

GAIKAI – This can’t be understated, if Sony can get this right it will be a game changer. From downloadable games being playable while still being downloaded, realistic backwards compatibility across multiple consoles, and giving the PS VITA a brand new life via real remote play. Gaikai will be the most talked about part of this new console if they can pull it off. With the US’s current internet infrastructure I honestly worry about this being as smooth as they think it should be. Early adopters will take the brunt of this hit for sure.

THE BAD

BEEN THERE, DONE THAT– When Gueriilla Games got on stage, I hoped they wouldn’t show another Killzone game, but they did and it looked pretty and I didn’t care. I already know I will get pretty with a new console, show me something different. Same thing with Infamous and Diablo, these are established IP’s but that’s not what I came here for. Destiny would have wowed me if it wasn’t announced a couple days earlier.

HEY YOU FORGOT SOMETHING – If you aren’t going to show the console, talk about things you are going to put in the box, like the mic you said you are going to include. Instead of hearing this in the conference we learn this in a Press Release on the Playstation Blog. I don’t remember hearing anything about it during the conference and that is a mistake.  I add this to the list because I honestly believe it’s a big deal. We know just how many people didn’t use their mics on the PS3 and how that doesn’t foster community. Telling people that a mic comes in the box just makes the deal sweeter and lets consumers know that this time you want people to play together and interact.

 THE UGLY

TOO LONG, TOO AKWARD – Last gen, one of the biggest knocks against Sony was that they didn’t know how to engage with the public, through PR or in the way that you interacted with their systems. This two hour dog and pony show totally could have been cut down to forty-five minutes or an hour. Front man after front man trying to conceptualize things that most gamers didn’t really care about did not help their cause.  The lasting image of the four Bungie guys on stage at the end of the conference looking like an awkward boy band with synchronized robot arms will never leave me. Sony needed more Jack Trenton and less Jack from Lost. They need a “face” for the company — they still need their J. Allard.

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NOT ENOUGH NEW GAMES – You have a dedicated event with the whole world watching and you kinda stiff people on the new stuff. Two new games, with only one being partially demoed. This is not the way to make people want your system especially if you are going to wait to pull anything else out until E3. This gives your competition time to figure out a plan of attack and focus on things you left out of your own showcase. I bet Microsoft will show all of the goods when and if they pull anything out before E3 and they will take the spotlight and momentum Sony should have had.

I think for all the hype and set up for this “game changing” announcement we really didn’t get lots of meat on the bone. Sony still has a way to go before they convince me and many other gamers that the PS4 is a necessity and a must have.

Kahlief Adams

Kahlief was born and raised in the Bronx, New York. As an avid technophile and lover of all things video games. He set his career path in the direction of a life making games until he found out his arch nemesis, “Math,” had other plans in store. So instead of making the next Tetris he found himself writing and talking about games on his website The Spawn Point Blog and Spawn On Me. Check out what I'm blabbering about over @kahjahkins on Twitter. PSN = KAHJAH1 XBL=KAHJAHKINS

11 Comments
  • Brunilda N.
    Reply

    Thank you kahlief on the update to the ps4, I was hype about the console especially with the fact that you can “share” if a person need assistance in a game…but what about the games….I want more…LOL…please keep me posted

    February 21, 2013 at 11:10 am
  • Marcness
    Reply

    You shouldn’t worry about the lack of games, especially this early in the game (pun?). I got the feeling that, while they were announcing that the PS4 is happening, R&D still hasn’t completed its final stages of development.

    Patience, my friend.

    February 21, 2013 at 11:42 am
  • Ziggy
    Reply

    After talking with many of my “Hardcore PlayStation Gamer” friends and post seeing the PlayStation 4 announcement, we have come up with a list of concerns we have. It would be greatly appreciated it you could pass this list on to the proper channels.

    1. Removal of the Start and Select buttons – While we all agree that the new controller is stunning and beautifully designed, one of the smaller problems we had with it was the lack of start and select. “Options” is not sufficient in attempting to play any old game on the console. Playing older games threw Gaikai or otherwise might prove to be impossible without these buttons. Storngly recomend you change “options” back to Start and Select.

    2. Backward Compatibility – We cannot fathom why this was not important to Sony, as it was a major issue with the PS3 launch. (Most of us have kept the original PlayStation 3 for that reason) If you cannot include the hardware to run PS1, PS2, and PS3 games please allow the PS4 to obtain the software emulate them. With 8 GB of memory, this should not be a problem. Gaikai is nice, but with large collections of PS1, PS2 and PS3 games, we would like to use them on the new system.

    Or if nothing else, release a high end SKU of the PS4 with backwards compatibility, we are sure many of your loyal fans would appreciate (and purchase) this.

    2.5 Along with the “backwards compatibility” section, we believe it would be a smart move for Sony to allow the Dualshock 3 controllers to connect with the PS4 as well. This would be great for anyone converting from a PlayStation 3 to a PlayStation 4 and does not have the money to purchase extras as well as a sign of good faith from the PlayStation brand.

    3. Social Features – While posting your trophies or connecting to Facebook and various other social mediums throgh PlayStation are good ideas, please make all of these optional. Many of the core gamers have no interest in these features and many, myself included do not use social networking at all. Thefore if it were mandaoty we could not play games.

    4. New Friends Methodology – While we found the idea of expanding upon the friends page interesting, we appreciated the privacy that PS3 provided. DO NOT FORCE users to create accounts with their picture and name. Once again, we stress, please make this optional.

    5. New Operating System – The XMB was perfect. Logically laid out with every application categorized into a sub category. Because of this, it was both intuitive and easy to use. While we only received a quick glimpse, the new operating system, seems to make far less sense. Please allow customization so the more logically minded among us can use the new system with ease as well. Perhaps an optional interface, closer to the PSVITA’s?

    6. Camera – While this new Camera could be used for some interesting moments and ideas in gaming. DO NOT make it mandatory. Many of us do not nor have we ever liked motion or camera based games. Please DO NOT require a camera to use the new controllers.

    7. Intuitive Downloads – Many of us, like to select games with no pattern or complete randomness, and in doing so do not like games to be downloaded for us. This idea is a good one, but once again it should be optional.

    8. Ideas – With 8 Gigs of memory the PlayStation 4 is the perfect time for cross game voice chat, PSN ID tagged controllers, and a system that allows users to play music at all time along with the game they are playing. Doing this would help PlayStation, to also become a hub for entertainment.

    P.S. it would be really cool if the “PS” button on the center of the Dualshock 4 light up red. This would make it more iconic.

    In conclusion, we have come to the consensus that while we enjoy many of the new PlayStation features we hope that you will consider adding some more and that you leave some optional. Aside from that you should know: keep up the great work! The specs are spectacular, we couldn’t have asked for a better controller (almost) and the game line up looks awesome.

    February 21, 2013 at 10:15 pm
    • Thanks for the awesome reply, that’s a pretty big list. I’m hoping they implement the cross game chat feature. It really is a great one they can steal from Microsoft.

      February 21, 2013 at 11:18 pm
  • Tamaracked
    Reply

    This was literally (and when I say literally I mean it in the literal scene, not the figurative) Sony’s best press conference in years. They focused on what the core gamers are looking for games! The new controller looks beautiful and added everything gamers wanted; headphone jack, improved grip, sticks, d-pad, and triggers. (Aside from the share and options buttons [seriously bring back start and select])
    In fact the only thing that most people I’ve talked to were disappointed in, was in regard’s to 3 games:
    Agent
    Final Fantasy Versus XIII
    The Last Guardian

    February 21, 2013 at 10:16 pm
    • I don’t think we are going to hear anything about Agent until way later if ever. Are people still excited for that game?

      February 21, 2013 at 11:17 pm
  • Blackendgrey
    Reply

    Too long – Absolutely not, wanted it longer with even more information
    Too Few New Games- this is subjective, bit I have to once again disagree, I thought they showed pleasantly of games and revealed just enough about the console to get our pallets wet, but not put all their cards in one basket

    Can’t wait for Sony E3

    9.5/10 best reveal Ive seen in the past decade

    February 21, 2013 at 10:19 pm
  • Damnation
    Reply

    This was one of the best reveals Ive ever seen. Literally dumbstruck that Sony marketed so perfectly to the hardcore.

    Wow Sony just wow. I’m done with Microsoft

    February 21, 2013 at 10:20 pm
    • So you are sold on getting it on launch?

      February 21, 2013 at 11:16 pm
  • Anonymous
    Reply

    you forgot it cost 60 dollars a year for online now sad face

    June 17, 2013 at 6:19 pm

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