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Thoughts On Sony’s Announcement Conference
Since I was not able to be a part of the post Sony announcement show (and anniversary show!), I decided to flesh out my initial thoughts a bit. I’m sure we’ll discuss Sony and the PS4 a lot in the next few weeks so you’ll hear all I think about it, but written here are my first impressions after the press event.
Let me clarify before anything else: Sony hasn’t sold me on a PS4 yet, but color me impressed, they have my interest.
Before anything I want to say well done Sony. While there were definitely slow and questionable parts of that long presentation, they did well considering their track record with press events. That being said, on to the particulars.
Now there seems to be a mix of reports on the specs where we all know what it is called (like with the CPU), but with an odd mix of what the end result will be.
So here’s a short list of the PS4 specs:
- x86-64 CPU – an 8-core Jaguar CPU rumored to be clocked at 2GHz made by AMD – though there seems to be some confusion on whether it’s truly 64-bit
- GDDR5 8GB RAM – the 8GB are impressive, but whether the hardware can make full use of it is the real question
- 1.84 TFLOPS – supposedly on level with the Radeon HD 7850 video card
Now I do admit that the technical specs are a step up from last generation consoles (and makes the WiiU look like its own category of ‘NOT next gen’). Yet at the same time I don’t think they’re nearly as great as a lot of people are making them out to be. Yes, the consoles are not PC. So don’t call it the same as a high end PC! The PC I build last year (July 2012) has twice the capability of this new ‘next generation’ console. Final opinion on tech specs: while definitely an improvement over the PS3, still behind what I was expecting.
Sony made a show of some of the options they’ll be implementing. Here’s (another) short list:
- a PlayStation app for iOS and Android
- Video apps: Netflix, Crackle, Crunchyroll, Facebook, NHL, MLB.TV, etc
- Play a game while it’s still downloading – this will be neat
- While I like the current interface (to an extent), the new UI looks pretty sweet
Also, the usage of the PS Vita for remote play with PS4 games is an awesome idea. Obviously, that breathes life into the Vita and gives others reasons to buy one (now if only they had better games for it). However, this is a promise Sony has apparently made before with their handhelds and consoles. So, I’ll reserve judgment until we see if this functionality really happens.
Now what Sony really did right with this presentation was the emphasis on games. They came out swinging saying ‘yes we got this!’ to all the gamers who were not happy with the PS3 launch. Granted, no specifics were really given on launch titles as this was the first reveal, but the fact is Sony pushed hard. Sure most of it was video presentations, not live demos. However, they gave us a mix of new IPs and some of their staple franchises. Keep in mind people, this was the announcement event! We still have the Tokyo Game Show and E3 for more specific details to appear.
Which brings me to my next point: freaking stop complaining people! All I saw was whine, whine, whine because we didn’t get to see the actual box and there wasn’t a price point announced. Before anything else, I’m sorry but consoles aren’t ready to be just on the cloud yet. It ain’t happening people, so stop assuming the lack of a box shown means there’s no box (disc drive has since been noted). It took Nintendo a long time to decide on the final design for the WiiU, so we kept getting those “this does not represent the final product” disclaimers when a box was shown. Good on you Sony to not pull a Nintendo.
I am quite okay with waiting if that means the product you show me will be the final design. Likewise gamers, get over yourselves. Like what the box looks like will actually determine whether you buy it or not. I mean, really?! What are we—5? It could be big and fat (PS3) or freaking ugly (Xbox) and if it has what you want you’ll still buy it. They wouldn’t make this big deal about the console and give us a launch window of Holiday 2013 if it wasn’t going to happen. Side note: game release delays are one thing, console release delays are quite another—I expect them to stick to that time frame.
The only real thing going against them showing the console design is all the jokes (and crazy speculation) regarding a console reveal without a console to show. Yeah pretty sure Microsoft will actually show their console when they reveal. That’s it.
Added onto that, do you really need a price right this second? Yes, Sony showed us a lot of good (and a few not so good) things. But considering the amount of thought and detail that goes into a new console purchase, that’s only the tip of the iceberg. They’ll give us much more in an attempt to draw us towards their product. This was to grab our attention and get us interested. From here, they need to show us more. Bring those vague details into focus. I imagine when they’re ready to start giving us legit launch details (dates, games, and bundles), that’s when they’ll be ready to hit us with the price.
I admit that once again the lack of backwards compatibility sucks, but it didn’t affect the PS3 that much. I’ll still have my PS2. And my PS3 if I want to play older games. I also accept that jumps in technology make things like backwards compatibility more difficult. Besides, as long as I can get an HD remake or the original on the PS1/2 store for digital download to a PS4, I’m good.
Regardless of their past (hopefully a lesson learned from the PS3 launch) I believe that a Sony console will launch at a higher price point than a Microsoft console. It’s just the way these two companies have positioned themselves. Not a $600 price point (I hope), but still likely more than the next Xbox. This could of course change once Microsoft makes their announcement.
Considering how much of a skeptic I am, Sony has done exactly what they set out to do. Captured my interest and has me eagerly awaiting what they’ll show over the next few months. Ideally, Microsoft will respond in kind and manage to do the same.