PS4 – Will it be worth it?

PlayStation Logo

We’re just 2 days away from Sony’s big New York event. Rumors circling this event have it pegged down to be the reveal of the Orbis, or PlayStation 4. Sony hasn’t denied these claims, and in fact has released 3 videos called the Evolution of PlayStation. One video for each of their major home consoles. They’re trying to build up the hype for their announcement, and it seems to be working. I’m just not certain I’m on board yet.

You can ask anyone at One-Quest and they’ll tell you I was one of the biggest Sony Fanboys of all time. In high school I actually got into arguments over why the PS2 was superior to the original Xbox. Now, we all know that’s true, but it’s completely besides the point. What matters is that somewhere along the line I lost my irrefutable love for the PlayStation. Sure it has the exclusive titles I love, and the controller feels just right to me, but in the end I believe it has to do with the lack of innovation from the console that has sent me away.

Current rumors flying about point to the PS4 running a 2GB Video card, with 8GB Ram, and an 8 Core CPU. Sounds pretty impressive and significantly more powerful then the PS3. Evidence has also pointed to an update to the long running DualShock series of controllers. This upgrade places a touch pad in the center of the device, in place of the start and select buttons. There’s also the Anti-Used game enforcement, and streaming game services. It sounds like a hefty upgrade, but is it enough?

Is increasing the specs, and allowing higher definition gaming really the direction we need to move toward? In a time when I can load up Steam and 90% of my library is beautiful 2D Indie games that don’t require half of the PS3’s power, let alone everything the PS4 is rumored to be packed with. Gaming isn’t about who can make the pretties worlds, it’s who can make the most innovative ones. All I see when I look at this console is the false promises of yesteryear. The near photo realistic demos, with full heads of individual strands of hair being heralded as the next coming of the gaming Christ. The lies and bullet points used to sell a piece of hardware over it’s intended purpose. The purpose to sell entertainment, in new, and innovative forms. A purpose most console makers fail to keep mind of. Most, but not all.

Nintendo would be the company to look toward for innovation, and proper advancement in gaming. The Wii U offers an experience no other console, besides a DS/3DS, can offer. The ability to play and interact with one game in two different instances. To do two entirely separate actions, while still playing one game. Sony and Microsoft see the value in this system, but have been unable to figure out how to properly market it to their followers. Microsoft offers an optional feature, Smartglass, that can only be taken advantage of by using a device that isn’t part of their console in anyway. The thought of putting my controller down to have access to special features on my phone, features that could easily be implemented on the Wii U without the need to separate oneself from their game, seems. . . half assed. It’s like MS wanted to be like the Wii U, but didn’t want to go the whole way. And Sony. . . dear god.

Look at the prototype controller above. It’s disgusting. The only feature that looks useful here is the concave control sticks. A touch pad? Are you kidding me? This looks about as useful as the sixaxis tech in the current DualShock 3 controllers. A tech that even Sony’s first party titles tend to distance themselves from. I’m sure this touch pad will have it’s uses, for the first few months of gaming. But when it comes down to it, the pad will end up being used for navigation on the Home screen of the Orbis, and go otherwise forgotten. Gestures anyone?

Prototype Controller for the PlayStation 4

It looks to me like Sony and Microsoft are just trying to make progress for the sake of progress, without any actual cohesive vision behind their products. More particularly Sony is trying to cash in on the “touch” phenomenon without any idea why of it’s successful to begin with. Touch doesn’t work because it’s there, touch works because it gives players a new way to interact with what’s on screen. It works because we can immediately reach out and move objects, tap them, and push them along, directly. Swiping my finger along a generic surface, that gives me no visual stimulation or tactile response, is not the proper way to implement touch. How many Vita games utilize the rear touch pad? How many PC Gamers prefer the use of a laptop touch pad over a mouse? How many times have I, or anyone else, been compelled to swipe our fingers across our controller just to make Nathan Drake climb a ladder?

Well. . . Regardless of how I feel the PS4 is coming. The announcement is scheduled for this Wednesday at 6PM EST, in New York. We’ll be live blogging the event, and have a full report after it. Let’s hope Sony has something big planned, because flashy graphics, and false promises won’t do it for me anymore. . . How about you?

is not a boss.

You can Email Eric or follow Eric on Twitter @EricSweeten or Facebook

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