Playstation 4: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Excited? Disappointed? The Playstation 4 event has come and gone, and I'm still not sure how I feel about it.

The feast is over and the big event has had time to settle in our guts. The question is, did the Playstation event leave gamers hungering for more or sick to our stomachs?

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The Good

The game visuals were stunning. There were lots of promising cinematics and promises of how the amazing hardware could take games to the next level. Honestly, I could watch some of these game demos over and over. (Note the key word “promise.” If promises were chocolate, this Curmudgeon would at least be a fat Curmudgeon.)

The Witness looks like a beautiful lovechild of Myst, Minecraft, and the Wind Waker.  Destiny sounds promising and has some hauntingly epic cinematics. I can hack it with Watch Dogs. Rinse and repeat.

Gamestop and Gamefly won’t go out of business on Sony’s account. No major 3D features means we won’t be forced to pay extra for what is at best a gimmicky experience and at worst something downright nauseating.

The Playstation App has promise, but I’ll believe it when I see it. In the meantime, the current thing sucks. Why not fix that as a sign of good faith? Hmm, this section was supposed to be about the good…

The new Dualshock 4 controller keeps much of the original design. Their controller has long been one of the most comfortable controllers to hold in the hand, so it’s good to see that they didn’t fix what wasn’t broken here. The dedicated share button, though? Call me old-fashioned, but I’d rather just keep the start button, thanks. Speaking of social …

The Bad

Social is a buzzword. Let’s just admit that and move on. Yes, games are inherently social; yes, tools to play together more effectively are good. Monthly recurring revenue is the business model du jour, but charging a fee to play the games we’ve already bought with our friends is greedy. Make it free, make it good, and gamers will flock to use it. Otherwise, shut up about social.

I’m sure some gamers out there are super-excited to have the world watching them 0wn n00bs. Me? Streaming video of myself playing a game is about as exciting as giving a speech at school in my underwear.

Yoshinori Ono from Capcom, you’re no standup comedian. Better stick to your day job.

Square Enix showed up just to tell us to wait for E3. Um, okay? Wait, so Square Enix is making a new Final Fantasy for the next generation Playstation? I’m SHOCKED! At least some of the other companies had something to show …

Diablo 3 for the Playstation 4 (and 3). Wow, sweet, I can play a nearly two-year-old previously-computer-only game (by the time this thing is available) on a console. Cue the catcalls for Starcraft and WoW for consoles again. On the other hand, maybe that “Titan” IP Blizzard has been concocting will show up in more places than previously expected… (Huh, there is a Blizzcon scheduled right around when the Playstation 4 is supposed to be released.)

Gameplay footage that starts with a cinematic from the bay of a ship. I’m not sure if this meme originated with Gordon Freeman in the original Half-life (or earlier), but at this point it’s a cliché. How about something new?

DriveClub may not be the lamest name for a game ever (we’re looking at you, Booby Kids), but it’s pretty godawful.

The old guy: yes, the quality and depth of emotion of that old guy was fascinating. Just like a train wreck. If I want to see a creepy old man showing emotion, I’ll just hang out at the local porn shop, thanks.

So all these Playstation 3 discs I’ve got sitting around will be worthless if I choose to upgrade my console? Ahh, I love the smell of planned obsolescence in the morning. Oh man, and if I want this cool-sounding remote play feature, I have to ALSO buy the Vita? At least Nintendo *gave* me the second screen free with my Wii U.

Beautiful game visuals, but not a lot of actual game play examples. Granted, it’s hard to show game play if there isn’t an actual device to play the games on. Which leads us to …

The Ugly

Okay, let’s address the elephant in the room, shall we? Or, well, the elephant that wasn’t in the room. At all. The event was focused on the Playstation 4, and there wasn’t a single sighting of the actual device. No idea what it looks like, no sign of a release date or a final price. Why have an event at all if you don’t actually have anything concrete to share? It’s a given that Sony has been working on their next-generation console, presumably for years; why this tantalizing farce of a show without any solid details? If it’s not ready, don’t have an announcement until it is. Then, when it is, announce the damn thing and sell it shortly afterward.

Announcing early is the corporate version of the “FIRST!” comment. Yay, you beat Microsoft (but not Nintendo) – whoop de friggin’ doo. Now I’ve lost most of the incentive for buying any new PS3 peripherals (they won’t work with a PS4) or even any of the PS3 games coming out in the next year (they won’t play on a new PS4).

So you’ve effectively lowered short-term revenue on your existing platform just so you can be the first to claim certain features that are pretty much inevitable on your next-generation platform.

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Author
Feisty Curmudgeon
Just an 8-bit sprite in a polygon world.