So the big “news” this week was that Sony held a press conference where they showed off the new, fancy version of their trademark DualShock console controller, trotted out a few flashy game demos and movies, and dug up the least socially awkward game developers they could find in order to announce that the PlayStation 4 would be coming by the end of this year.
The question is, does anyone really give a shit at this point?
I really can’t seem to get myself very excited over the prospect of another new generation of console wars. Let’s be honest – you know they’re coming. Nintendo’s Wii-U is already out, the PS4 should be here by the end of the year, and I’m sure Microsoft will trot out some info about the next-gen Xbox console by E3 in June, so we’re going to be stuck in the middle of the least enjoyable three-way ever. Again.
Meanwhile, the actual technical innovation being pushed forward seems to be grinding to a halt. Remember the massive jump from the 8-bit era to the 16-bit one? The first time you saw full-motion video? Your first 3D-rendered game? Of course you do; it’s seared into your brain with a branding iron. The graphical difference between the PS3 and the PS4, judging from what was shown at that news conference, is much narrower than the gap between the PS2 and the PS3 – and the massive jump between the PS1 and the PS2 puts them all to shame.
What’s the biggest claim to fame for the PS4 so far? There’s a light bar built into the controller to integrate with the whole PlayStation Move thing. On top of that, there’s a touchpad – like the kind you’d find on a laptop – and a “Share” button, so you can post video snippets to Facebook or whatever. Big goddamn deal. Hell, they didn’t even announce a price point for the new console – and there wasn’t even a blurry, low-resolution picture of the console itself. I call bullshit.
On top of that, if you’ve got an extensive library of older PlayStation games – since the current-gen and older Sony consoles have all had backwards compatibility – you’re going to be out of luck, as the PS4 won’t have the ability to play older-gen titles right out of the box. It’s something that might be integrated down the line. Whatever that means. Though I’m sure Sony will be more than happy to take your money so you can download a brand-new copy of your old PS3 games from the PlayStation Network.
The only bright spot is that Sony says they won’t go the rumored route of Microsoft by locking you out of playing used games. That’s about the only good thing that I can see from this mess.
Oh yeah, and Diablo 3 will be coming to PS4. Which is great if you don’t have a toaster that can run the PC version.