I was given a few hours to visit with the Sony folks yesterday to see what is on the horizon for the PlayStation 4. I’ve got to say, I’m pretty impressed.
Having covered the disaster that was the PlayStation 3 in-depth, it is nice to be able to say that this time Sony has done far better job of matching the product to the market. So yes, I expect a lot of folks to fall deeply in love with this new console.
The performance level, as you would expect, is dramatically improved over the PS3 and since Sony switched from what was a very unique processor to an AMD device, development for the platform should be vastly easier as well - which means players should get better games more quickly on the new box. Let me share some of my impressions.
At the start of my experience, Sony took me through its music capture and mixing studios. These are state of the art facilities with massive digital and analog mixers which are used at both ends of the process. The equipment level was similar to what you’d see in a top movie studio and the tracks they were laying down while we were watching had a level of depth I don’t recall hearing before in a game system.
Of course, part of this experience was due to the fact that the studios were equipped with speakers which you and I can’t afford. However, if you have a great 7.1 system the PS4 will truly show it off. I heard one track that was cut with a 72 piece orchestra and large choir and it was nothing short of epic. Sound makes a huge difference for me in the enjoyment of a game. Given Sony’s long history in the music and movie industry it shouldn’t have been a surprise that it would attempt to lead here.
I’ve never liked the Sony controllers, well until now. The old controllers were too small for my hands, uncomfortable to play with and, well were the primary reason my PS3 was rarely used except to watch Blue-Ray movies. Well, that will all change with the PS4 as the controllers have a vastly better feel to them, along with features which will both lead to a better gaming experience and take some time to learn.
On one first person shooter I died a lot, mostly because I didn’t go through the tutorial to learn how to use the features of the game and the controller. But once I started to get it, well I still died a lot, but I could see a light at the end of the tunnel and recognize that those who spend the time to practice with the controller to gain access to newly enabled game features will have great deal more fun, simply because the skills translate into a much more effective experience.
I can’t talk about the games that were showcased at the event other than to say I’d likely buy the ones they featured. Yes, they were driving games, which what I play most of these days anyways, so it definitely says a lot about their quality and experience. Sony has lined up some excellent titles for the launch of this system and, as you likely know, titles are what make a console great. I think PlayStation gamers will be very pleased with what comes out with this game system. There was a trailer running for one of the games they weren’t showcasing and I wanted to buy it too - suggesting that when the PS4 launches I’d be wise to hide my credit card because I’m likely to buy the system, a bunch of new games, and a new amp and speakers in a frenzy of spending.
Wrapping Up: Consoles
So much momentum has moved to tablets and smartphones for gaming I worry that this segment will survive. But Sony proved to me that they are in the fight and have a great console and initial game selection so if this doesn’t bring momentum back to the segment I’m not sure what will.
I was very impressed with the Sony showcase and my only regret was that the company didn’t let me take home the over full sized God Of War Figurine I kept lusting after as I walked through the facility. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t fit in my car.