So yesterday, Sony decided to unveil the new Playstation 4 to the world. In a way, I’m a little surprised they decided to develop a new system.
In another way, I’m a bit disappointed.
To preface, I am primarily a PC gamer, though I also own a 360, PS3, and a Wii U. I own hundreds of titles across my consoles, and I’d hate to even attempt to count my PC titles. My current rig is a mid-to-high end machine that was built for about $600 total, and is only really tested by a select few titles.
Now, the key differences between the PS3 and its new brother, hardware performance aside? Being able to share your games, media, ect, to your friends and across the network. Being able to stream yourself playing by your profile, potentially have your friends take control of your game to help you or hinder you.
Even the nice (yes, actually quite nice) feature of being able to stream-play a game as you download it. Plus, they’re hoping to be able to extend more of their cross-platform play between the PS4 and the Vita.
Oh, and not be able to play any PS3, PS2, PS1, or PSN title you previously purchased, on your new PS4 by any means. Yup, no backwards compatibility or emulation of any kind.
Plus, there’s also that Kinect’ish light bar … thing that goes underneath your TV. This is in addition to the Move and Sony’s new Dualshock 4. The DS4 itself has even been revised to have a touch-pad in the middle of the controller (between the sticks). Because, you know, that won’t be inconvenient to actually touch.
Then we have the actually hardware architecture. For the good news, it’s a PC design. Built with the x86 chipset in mind, rather than the Cell, it enables easier designing and programming of games, as well as easier ports to other systems (and the PC). It also has 8GB of GDDR5, a surprising leap in quantity which should hopefully help eliminate some programming issues developers had.
For the graphics processor, we don’t know much actually. All that has been said, as far as my knowledge extends, is that it uses a PC GPU processor, but they don’t specify any equivalent or actual specs of the chipset. We do know that it is, at the very least, compatible with the Unreal Engine 4, which is a definite step up.
What we don’t know, however, is quite a lot. We don’t know what it will cost, exactly when it will be available, even exactly what the processor or graphics processor chipsets are or are equivalent to, ect. Hell, we don’t even know what the system looks like.
To add a bit of insult to injury, we know for certain that it won’t be backwards compatible with any previous Playstation systems. Their current design concept is to let users re-purchase their games digitally and stream them over their Cloud service, but even that is only a possibility, something they are not holding to for launch.
For me, this isn’t enough to justify a purchase. The only feature that really grabs me is being able to play a game as it downloads, but that’s it. I play most of my titles on PC, with only things like Crysis 3 and Witcher 2 actually taking my system to task. The only way Sony (or even Microsoft’s Durango for that matter) to get me to really dig at me to buy a new system is under 2 possibilities.
1: They design the system so far ahead of my PC, both physically and financially, that it just isn’t cost-effective for me to upgrade my rig.
2: They have the systems priced low enough that it just doesn’t make sense for someone like me to not have them.
The problem with these possibilities, however, is that they likely aren’t going to happen. The current generation of systems range from $200-$400 USD, depending on what you get, and they are old hardware by today’s standards. To replace them with improved designs isn’t going to be cheap, yet will likely be rather inexpensive to get comparable hardware on my PC.
In reality, I just don’t think that it will be worth the money for me, as a gamer who isn’t interested in gimmicky things like light bars and motion controls, to upgrade to the new systems. I like being able to sit down, turn on a game, and just play comfortably (in my chair with either a gamepad or a keyboard and mouse).
Now I could be wrong. The PS4 and/or Durango might come out and utterly blow us all away and make the Glorious PC Master Race bow down in envy at an affordable price point. I just don’t see it happening any time soon.