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The Major’s Take on the PlayStation 4 Announcement

Now, I know many of you are probably up to your eyeballs in PlayStation 4 content, so I’m actually going to try and be brief about mine.  What I decided to do is go back to my prediction post and compare my predictions with what actually happened.  I might add a little more, but at least this way, I can actually talk about what I wanted to see and what actually was shown that interests me.

I think there will be a “PlayStation 4″ reveal.  I don’t think they will call it the “PlayStation 4″, but I don’t see why not…

Well, I think we can chalk this one up as a big “DUH!”  The main thing is that I’m surprised that they are actually going to call the device the PlayStation 4, though.  At least there isn’t any Spidey-font going on…

I think there will be a price reduction announcement at least for the Vita here in the States…

This wasn’t true.  I was surprised, yet again that they didn’t announce one, but apparently, there was a reason behind it.  According to Engadget, Sony Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida (I’ve heard about this man so much, its almost kinda cool to type his name) had told Joystiq (Engadget’s sister site) that the same price drop will not be happening in the US due to exchange rates.

If there is a PS4 reveal, Gaikai will be mentioned and as others have stated, it may help out with the PS3 emulation…

And it was and will!  This is attached to a greater issue which is backwards compatibility.  The bad news in all of this is the fact that the PS4 is not backwards compatible.  It was snuck into the Gaikai portion of the presentation almost as if the other Sony execs were like “Well, we don’t want to say it! Let’s make the new guy say it and everyone will hate him!”  The main reason why they aren’t able to really provide emulation is because the architecture in the new system is vastly different (mainly because they are using things I could go and pick up at my local Intrex).  This issue is solved by having Gaikai provide the games to be streamed to me.

This, however brings up two problems.  One of them is bandwidth caps. For most of the US (at least from what I’m hearing), users are getting their networking services from an ISP that tends to cap data.  This will cause people to hit these caps fairly quickly if they want to play their favorite game through the streaming service. Another problem that exists (which is a problem I might have) is what will happen to the games that users already own.  It seems that through this service, we may have to pay to play games that we already own through the streaming service.  This is further supported with some news provided by Engadget, which states that Mr. Yushida (who must have answered a shit-ton of questions Thursday) had informed everyone that PSN games nor PS3 saves will transfer to new system.

…Sony will finally give their gamers things…like cross game chat and…multiple accounts on one console…

Well, this didn’t happen, directly.  Sony did announce there were going to be some awesome social features built into the PS4, however, they didn’t explicitly say that you would be able to talk to users who aren’t really playing your game.  The system is now able to do things in the background, but not sure if talking to others is one of them.  However, with the ability to bring in people from outside your game inside it to take control or coach you and the ability to live stream your content, I think it may be there.

The other thing is multiple accounts on one console.  Nothing was explicitly said about it, but something gave me hope for it.  That night, Blizzard showed up to say that Diablo III was being ported to the PS3 and PS4 and played up the fact that you can do couch co-op with the game.  Now, when thinking about the PS4 on its own, you would think that that was the it! They will have multiple account sign in.  It then gets thrown out the window when you remember the same game is coming to the PS3.  Now, two things could happen here. The PS3 may not get the couch co-op experience and the guy may have been talking about just the PS4 (it is a PS4 event, after all). On the other hand, I believe that the couch co-op will be handled by Battle.net similar to how Portal 2 allows you to use a Steam account to play against users on the PC and Mac.

Things that weren’t predicted on…

Now clearly there were more things that were not predicted on that I feel should be mentioned here. The first thing is that there was no reveal of the console itself and the only hardware that was shown was the new controller and PS4 Eye.  This was somewhat disappointing as I wanted to see if it looked cool.  Many people on the net lost their shit and claimed that Sony doesn’t have their act together.  What I think they failed to realize was that the even wasn’t so much for the consumer but for the developers and publishers to kind of show what they were working on.  It doesn’t really matter what the system looks like.  You can clearly see they are using the new controller so whatever they were using to run it obviously would be the system (which, again, is nothing but a PC anyway).

There was also some talk about always-on connectivity.  I, for one, don’t mind it as most of the devices that I use are technically “always on”, but I guess my definition of the phrase and everyone else’s was different.  Apparently, when talking about always-on when it comes to consoles is that the network must be connected at all times to make sure they can check the DRM  installed on a game. This instilled fear in the hearts of many people as it posed a threat to those who thrive off used game sales. According to Kotaku, the PS4 can be used without an internet connection.  I imagine for the reason mentioned above (data caps), but also for those who may not have access at all. I had to stop myself from sounding real elitist once I realized what was really going on.

Conclusion

While the event that took place on Wedneseday may have seemed very lackluster and boring for a lot of people, I still think Sony hit all the right notes (at least the ones they wanted to hit) and they reached the people they wanted to reach.  They wanted to come out and not promise the world at first glance seeing as the world would be watching and wanted to make sure that developers knew that they were finally looking out for them in hopes that more titles will be brought to the platform this coming generation.  Here’s looking at you, Bethesda Softworks!

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