In a widely publicized press conference Wednesday afternoon, Sony unveiled its newest gaming system, the PS4, to the ire and cheese-dusted fist shakes of the teeming gaming masses. The new console marks a small, indistinguishable step forward for gaming. Featuring 8 GB of RAM, an 8-core CPU, a bevy of new exclusive games, a new controller, cloud streaming services and social media integration, the Playstation 4 failed to live up to the pre-conference hype.
Some PC gamers were heard complaining how their 2 year old PCs have more RAM. One responded, “Yeeeaaah…see, I’m a TRUE gamer. My gaming PC has 16 GB of RAM, a 12-core 3.7 ghz turbo-charged CPU with a dedicated 6 GB of video memory and 1.21 gigawatts of terafloping hydraulic equalizers with bilateral encoded gyration displacers and velociraptor decal because I’m a TRUE gamer. I built it myself and I have to replace the hardware in 3 months, but that’s what it takes to be a TRUE gamer. It only cost $1500…but, hey, you know…TRUE gamer right here.” It’s clear that Sony isn’t seeking the upper crust PC fan base, which is so prominent and wide spread that PCs hardly get any new game upon release and when they do it’s a port of console game, but apparently that’s what it takes to be a TRUE gamer.
Another fan had this to say regarding the game line up, “I mean, you know, Sony’s weak and they suck. They, like, don’t even have Halo…they really dropped the ball on that one, cause Halo is leet the way it has guns and online and stuff. It’s just, like really leet, so Sony dropped the ball on that one.” When prompted that Sony had a large catalogue of other outstanding exclusive games, the boy responded by pointing at his t-shirt and saying, “HALO…H-A-L-O-W…Halo. This guy’s a noob cause he doesn’t even like Halo, what a noob. I’m a level 50 on Call of Duty, I’m a hardcore gamer not a noob like Sony or you or your mom!”
Another point of contention was the new “spy on your friends creepily over their shoulder via cloud streaming” feature. It’s really creepy. One Sony rep described it perfectly. “People like to play games. Other people like to watch games. Other people like to make fun of people playing games. And other people like to pervertedly stalk random online strangers they met one time playing an online match. We’ve created a way for all these types of people to get together and create one gaming experience that no one could possibly hate.” He gave an example of how your strange, internet-only “friends” can become much more than that. “Imagine meeting someone named GreasyPigLover88 online. He’s a fun enough guy, a little rough around the edges, perhaps if he let you get close, you two could work things–um, anyway, but after you’re done playing he just goes away. Now he can watch you play your private single player games…incredible. GreasyPigLover88 can even use his cell phone to watch you wherever he goes and even watch you while you use your cell phone to access our services; we’ve literally destroyed all boundaries of decency, modesty and privacy, a true next generation experience.” Sony said they were inspired by the hopeful and idyllic “sharing” utopia presented in George Orwell’s 1984 when coming up with the idea.
There was one “bright spot,” of course, which was the surprise revelation of an LED light on the top of the new controller. “We know consumers like lights…like, really like them, it’s freaking crazy,” said Jack Trenton, President of Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA) when reached for comment. He continued, “We at PlayStation have a long history of bright, multicolored LEDs in our consoles and other products. From the red lights on the PS3 controllers to the blue power indicators to the bulbous and under appreciated Playstation Move. Please buy a Playstation Move.” He then posed an intriguing question, “Do you think the PS2 could have become the best selling game console if it didn’t have an LED power indicator? EXACTLY.” It’s easy to see why Sony wants to get ahead of the “LED” curve as they enter the next generation of gaming consoles. But as legendary game visionary David Cage of Quantic Dream pointed out, LEDs are also a part of the wider gaming culture. “Think back to the arcade days. Drawn like moths to a flame, gamers would flock to the brightly colored lights and their greasy little hands would keep pushing quarters into our greedy maws. I think Sony is trying to recapture that feeling.” He then mumbled, “Like lambs to the slaughter, peasants,” under his breath as he walked away. Sony worked hard to push the new LEDs, showcasing how they can be used with a new camera system for motion controls; a feature that was very fun 4 years ago and exactly 13 gamers still want. “We are dedicated to pushing underdeveloped, unwanted technology and gimmicky play styles onto resentful and uninterested gamers; it’s called innovation,” Mark Cerney, lead system architect said when asked about the issue. He also briefly mentioned that it had a touchpad or something, they’re not sure what it does yet.
Despite this “glimmer” of hope, Sony continued to upset fans by NOT giving them their first glimpse of the new system. While the system did not make an actual appearance, Mark Cerney boldly gave gamers their first look at the packaging. “This rectangular, brown box is the same shape as the ones that the PS4 will come in. It’s spectacular isn’t it? But wait…what about this box?” He then dragged a much larger square box onto the stage. “This enormous brown shipping box is what the smaller boxes will go into. And did I mention? The PS4 will probably be box shaped!”
There was one final thoughtful moment from the PS4 event. Playstation reps revealed that there would be no backwards compatibility with either PS3 or Playstation Network games. One Sony rep stated, “We know a lot of people already bought games for PS3 and PSN. And we understand the excitement and fun people had buying them the first time, so in hopes of recreating that feeling, we’re committed to making people re-buy those games that they love so much for the PS4.” He went on to talk about the great possibilities of the program, “It’s a win-win for everyone: you get to give us money and we get to collect that money. That’s how a perfect world works, where large technology companies take money from their fans…it’s gaming love in a way.”
Overall, while disappointed, many gamers are already saving up or the new system. “I spent more than $600 for the PS3 when it came out. You figure it’s been 7 years since then, so $600 multiplied by 7 is $4200. I still have one kidney left, so it’s doable,” one fan said regarding the potential price. When it was revealed that’s not how systems are priced, he shrugged and walked away.
The Sony Playstation 4 is scheduled for release during the 2013 holiday season. Sony hasn’t announced an official price yet, but they did leave fans with a cryptic warning, “don’t get too attached to your children or loved ones.”