March 4th, 2013, 22:20 Posted By: wraggster
‘But what did the console look like?’
That was the frequently asked question in the wake of last week’s PS4 press conference. For some critics, ten new games, a new controller, a Kinect-style camera, the full specs and an abundance of cloud services wasn’t quite enough.
“There seems to be a disproportionate amount of noise about the lack of a box and I really don’t get it,” a perplexed Jim Ryan, who heads up PlayStation in Europe, told MCV the day after the New York reveal.
“It was more important to describe what the device is capable of, rather than what it looks like.”
Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot – who revealed the Watch Dogs for PS4 live on stage – was sympathetic to Sony’s decision to hold the design back. “Sony can’t show everything on the first day or they won’t have anything else for later on,” he tells us.
But despite the omission, Sony’s New York show offered us plenty to dissect, discuss and debate.
From the off Sony pitched PS4 as a games machine. This was about the ‘future of play.’ Movie and music services were relegated to a fleeting reference. Compare that to Microsoft’s ‘entertainment’ message, where Xbox now stands for music and video, plus games.
“That was a very conscious decision,” Ryan says. “There will be a comprehensive suite of non-game services for music and video.
“But the emphasis is on PS4 as a gaming device. And that philosophy has gone into the heart of how we designed the machine.”
The more Sony’s press conference went on, the more PS4 revealed itself as more like a PC than your typical home console.
It is built using PC components, boasts indie developer support, has a wealth of cloud features and social options, and can host free-to-play and episodic games. PS4 is so much like a PC that even Blizzard is making games for it.
“PS4 has taken everything that the PC and mobile has,” says Guillemot. “Social is possible, we can update, we can have user-generated content, we can have people seeing other people playing, you can have eSports. All those elements are what we wanted to see on the new consoles, on-top of better graphics and so forth.
“But it’s more than a PC under the TV. It’s a machine that will be the same for everyone. The software is well adapted to your machine, and it’s easy to use and it won’t be too expensive.”
“It’s more than a PC under the TV. It’s a machine
that will be the same for everyone. The software is
well adapted to your machine, and it’s easy to use
and it won’t be too expensive.”
Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot
Does that mean PS4 has silenced its critics that proclaimed the console under the TV will be extinct? And that the future is all about Steam, and cloud gaming, and tablets, and mobile, and all the other devices and services that have risen to prominence over the last two years?
“I think it did,” says Ryan.
“What Andy [House, PlayStation boss], Mark [Cerny, the man behind PS4] and the rest did on stage was demonstrate the viability and importance of a premium console gaming experience.
“There’s no doubt a lot of gaming is happening on smartphones and tablets, compared with a couple of years ago. But our prize is to migrate people from having a rudimentary experience on a tablet, and get them playing Killzone on PS4.”
Guillemot adds: “People need to see what games will be created on PS4, and that will make them understand the power of this generation. You have a cycle that is eight years long, and you’re surprised that after five years it starts to decline? When you come with new machines and new possibilities, you give talent the chance to express themselves. You will see a huge surge in creativity and engagement from gamers.”
The new DualShock 4 pad features a whole host of new elements, such as a touchpad and a speaker. But perhaps the most interesting part of the controller is its Share button, which lets users share videos of their in-game exploits via Facebook.
This instantly appeals to the YouTube generation of gamers, who are watching tournaments and pro-gamers via video streams. In fact, this feature will help PS4 take part in the eSports sector.
For more information and downloads, click here!
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