Sony’s PlayStation 4 reveal yesterday was one of the stranger console announcements I can remember. We heard from a lot of developers, but some big ones didn’t have anything concrete to show or talk about. We saw a lot of games, but many were games we already knew about. And we heard all about the PlayStation 4 without ever once actually seeing what the PlayStation 4 looked like.
To that end, I’m going to sort through the good and the bad, the highs and lows, and see what we can make of the whole thing.
Talent: Consoles don’t sell consoles. Games sell consoles. Sony needed to show that it had the development community full behind this machine, and between this image and the volume of guests speaking on stage, for the most part (see below) they showed that. We know, then, that the PS4 is going to have a lot of games. Let’s just hope it keeps getting them once those studios have all released their first PS4 title.
Gameplay: Unusually for a first-showing, we got a few good looks at gameplay from PS4 titles. Watch Dogs may have been first spotted last year but we got an all-new demo at the PS4 event, and it looked great. Killzone was shown running as well, and while that series has something of a history with events like this, this time around it looked like something you could totally expect to be playing by the end of the year, not something from the distant future.
Controller: I hate the DualShock. I find it flimsy and uncomfortable. So it’s awesome to see that, nearly 20 years after the release of the first PlayStation, Sony has finally made a significant departure from its original controller design, smoothing the curves of the DualShock 4 and adding a host of interesting features.
Sharing: I’m not entirely sold on the whole sharing concept just yet, because I’ve yet to see it in action, but the premise is an enticing one. I especially like the real-name Facebook stuff, because I don’t have strangers in my friends list, I have friends. It’ll be better seeing their real faces and names. The new PS4 dashboard that incorporates all this also looked very pretty.
Vita: This event was called the PlayStation Meeting. It wasn’t all about the PS4. Indeed, the Vita kicked off proceedings, and after Japan’s price cut earlier this month all money was on Sony doing the same for Western markets. For whatever reason, that didn’t happen. It should have.
Missing In Action: Sony showed a lot of developers who had publicly backed the PS4. But at the event itself, the place where the big guns are put to good use up on stage, there were still some very notable absentees. Electronic Arts did not have a presence. Square Enix’s showing was laughably thin, showing an old trailer and mentioning a Final Fantasy game in the vaguest terms possible. Konami’s Metal Gear series, traditionally a PlayStation stalwart and which is all but confirmed as having a next-gen title, wasn’t there either.
Nor were The Last Guardian and Grand Theft Auto V, but as titles destined for the PS3, perhaps that shouldn’t be too surprising.
Sausage Party: Over a dozen men took to the stage to represent the cream of Sony’s development crop. There was not a single woman.
No PS4: An event that began strongly ended in slightly ridiculous fashion as Sony wound things up without actually showing the PlayStation 4. Withholding controllers and peripherals for a later date has become an industry norm, yes, but keeping the actual console a secret is not. While Sony has its reasons — marketing reasons — I think it backfired, as it creates more worry that the thing’s not even finished than excitement at what it’ll end up looking like (hint: probably a black box).
That’s about all I can wrap my head around for one day. What about you guys, anything stand out one way or another?