playstation 4

So, Sony unveiled the PS4 last nigh–wait….no. They didn’t. We never saw the physical system. We got specs, but besides having 8GB of RAM, nothing was actually said during that portion that has any on-the-ground applicability to gamers.

The first true next gen titles were at least announ–ah, wait. All the actual games shown were graphical updates/sequels of current titles. Or, alternately, games/demos we’ve seen already.

But at least there’s some new, innovative tech going o–shit, no. The social stuff is equal parts things Microsoft does already, or tried with the 360 close to a year and half ago, then scrapped with the last Fall Update due to lack of use, and things that sound like neat ideas on paper (the “backseat driver” option in particular) but will never get used on a regular basis. And the new Dual Shock looks great, but despite introducing a touchscreen, a motion control sensor, and a camera, Sony chose to focus solely on the Share button.

No price. No system. No release date. But 10 minutes were devoted to how it connects to Facebook.

…so, what exactly DID we all watch last night?

Essentially, Sony’s big conference added up to a big corporate “FIRST!” post. The tone was set early on when we were told twice during the show there would be major things happening for the Vita, specifically in terms of connecting to the PS4 in some meaningful way, and immediately followed up with “We’ll talk about those later this year.” The two developers who are DEFINITELY already thinking up ways to make the new tech sing, Quantic Dream, and Media Molecule, came armed with (admittedly, fascinating) tech demos and little else. The one surprise of the night was Blizzard bringing Diablo 3 to consoles, a game that will have been out a year and a half by the time the PS4 launches, and everyone who truly wanted it, has it.

Most egregious is how the conference left us with important, scary questions, the kind that keeps gamers from buying systems, like, say, not addressing the used games controversy head on, or stating PS1, PS2, PS3 games are streamable, but also telling us the system itself won’t be backward compatible, while also not giving any indication if previously downloaded games will carry over. On top of that, the emphasis on having games downloaded to the reportedly “massive” hard drive paints an ominous picture of Sony going for broke on a console that has digital distribution as a primary delivery method, an idea that so isn’t ready for primetime.

Contrary to Sony’s PR speak tonight, all this so called innovation is stuff in the way of the gamer and his or her game, obstacles that are now on the gamer to fix for the privilege of experiencing the new Playstation to its fullest and additionally continuing to experience the Playstation 3 on the same level, since game production is showing no signs of grinding to a halt anytime soon for it. Ironically, most of the named titles coming for the system, including  Watch Dogs, which once again ended up being the showstopper, are still getting a PS3/360 release.

So, long story short (too late), the PS4 is happening. Holiday 2013. And as opposed to 1995, nobody is E. Not even Sony, it looks like.


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