Why the PS4 reveal was a disappointment

Why the PS4 reveal was a disappointment
PLATFORM: PlayStation
BY: Pierce
Language »

So that's that, then. The dust has settled, reporters from all over the world are flying back from New York and we finally have details of the PlayStation 4. Sony had been trumpeting up its big console reveal over the last month, inviting us to 'See the future' and open the door to next-generation hardware, and now it's finally over. What did we make of the whole thing? Well, we were slightly disappointed.

Let's get the good stuff out of the way first: We finally have all the specification details we could want. Years of rumour and conjecture can be put to bed as we now know what the PS4 is capable of, and it's pretty impressive. I won't bore you with all the details but the biggest surprise was that it will come with 8GB of GDDR5 RAM, twice the amount that was previously suggested. To put that into perspective, that's around 16 times the amount of RAM available in the PlayStation 3. The future really does look bright with developers having such powerful hardware to work with over the coming years.

Another good point was that Sony officially announced a new DualShock 4 controller, after images leaked onto the internet a couple weeks ago. It's basically a DualShock 3 that has been refined and enhanced, with a touch screen, altered L2 and R2 buttons, a 'Share' button for social gaming  - which we'll get to later - and a pretty, bright light at the top to shake things up a bit. It certainly looks like an improvement over the current model and we can't wait to try it out.

But what of the PS4 itself? You know, the big, shiny console that millions of people will have sitting next to their TVs in the not-so-distant future? Sony decided to keep the actual model hidden away to be revealed at a later date, most likely E3. Perhaps we shouldn't care what it looks like, afterall the most important thing is what it's capable of doing. Well forgive us for being churlish, but we do care! We'll be staring at this little black box for years to come, we at least want to know what it looks like. Surely the whole point of a big PlayStation 4 reveal event is to, you know, show us a PlayStation 4?

Instead we were treated to lots of waffle - and I mean lots, the whole thing ran over two hours - about how interacting with fellow gamers is the future. That new 'Share' button on the DualShock 4 will allow players to stream their current game session around the world so that others can comment, offer tips or even join in and help. It's a very interesting idea, made real by Sony's acquisition of Gaikai, and we're open to seeing how it works. But we can't help but wonder if this just opens the door to being verbally abused by random players who are much better at a game than we are. Indeed the first thought in my head when hearing of the whole 'Social' thing was, "Do I have to?"

Personally a more interesting Gaikai feature was the ability to try games for free from the PlayStation Store, only paying for "the games you fall in love with", and not having to download a thing. If Sony can pull this off without a hitch then we can see it being essential to the success of the PS4.

Then they started to bring out the games. Several trailers were shown off for PS4 exclusives such as Killzone, inFAMOUS: Second Son and Drive Club, which graphically all looked very impressive. But there was no, "Wow!" moment, nothing that really took us by surprise and demanded that we pay attention. Maybe we're selfish for expecting more, but we wanted to see something that would make us want to rush out and buy a PS4 on launch day. That something never came.

Don't get us wrong, we were still very excited by the whole event, and it was the first chance to really have a look at what the future has to offer. But we still don't know about a price, release date - Holiday 2013 was given but no regions were specified - or what a PS4 looks like. Now Microsoft has a chance to announce all of these details and reveal a larger line-up of games during the next Xbox reveal in the coming months, taking the advantage away from Sony. Whatever happens in the near future, it's a good time to be a gamer.


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