Playstation 4: Did it live up to the hype?

On the 20th Febuary Sony Entertainment announced its latest next generation games console – Playstation 4. Revealed to the masses of reporters in New York, Sony’s President Andrew House described the console on stage:

“PlayStation 4 will unleash imaginations to create next-generation experiences that surpass gamers’ wildest expectations”

Yet although as an audience we had in our own minds a vivid image of the console – Sony seemed strange enough not to unveil the physical appearance of the ‘next gen’ console, to the dismay of many gamers. Yet details were flying left right and centre on stage – marketed as a “super charged pc” – it will include an advanced pc like architecture. The hotly anticipated console may have not made a physical appearance on stage but its presence was much felt, details such as the fact it features: an 8-core 64-bit x86 “Jaguar” CPU built by AMD along with a Radeon GPU built with a 18 “compute unit” as well as 8GB of unified RAM capable of 176GB sec/bandwidth, 802.11n WiFi, USB 3.0, HDMI output and 6X Blu Ray drive. Sony was noticeably ferocious in its push to show us the best and greatest it has to offer. But despite the gut busting list of hardware upgrades Sony announced this week, the PS4 announcement seems to have left a funny aftertaste in quite a few mouthes. Its upgrades to the Playstation Network have been long awaited and were seen as a Divine right by the loyal Playstation followers. Updates to the service I included: cross game chat, social integration with Facebook and other features such as “suspend mode”. The acquisition of Gaikai cloud technology has allowed Sony to offer cloud streaming, so users can try parts of games before they download them and also instantly play them once they have. Sony seems to have become very secretive and restrained in its release schedules. They didn’t let slip on much about the console.

In fact about the only thing we can be sure of is that Sony has revamped their iconic DualShock controllers to level 4. Compromised of a new touch screen (obviously taken from the PS Vita), enhanced rumble facilities, headphone port and new share buttons and light sensors said to be for: “more friendly way to identify players”. The suggestion of Playstation Move type interfaces have been juggled around. The controller has been redesigned with curved back buttons for better accuracy and dedicated share buttons allow for the Playstation to become more connected ecosystem.”>20130221-155021.jpg

Yet Sony’s attempt to boost the appeal of its home console may not have entirely worked. Some seem a little disheartened at the latest Playstation. It’s release may have been underwhelming for the “hardcore” gamer and has left people asking why? Some of Sony’s biggest features such a cross party chat and social features have already existed on other consoles for several years. It’s hardware even though impressive, may struggle to keep up with the pack in 5 years time. Currently only game titles such as inFAMOUS, Watch Dog and Killzone have been confirmed.

Has Sony managed to keep the claws of Microsoft’s Xbox console at bay for the mean time? The next generation consoles are meant to last gamers for at least the next 5 years. Sony’s PS4 is no slouch – but it’s lack of unique selling points and game changing innovation could possibly put off new buyers or even long term fans. At the end of the day we will have to wait for the end titles to emerge, after all it is abut the games on the console and their performance we truly care about. Expect more announcement from Sony regarding price and availability at E3 this year. Till then…

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