Sunday, 13 July 2014

P.S. on the PS4

So yeah, I got a PS4 the other week.
Why now? Because:
  1. Especially after E3, it became clear the previous generation of consoles is no longer on developers' agendas. It's pretty much all about the new gen, even if up to now there have been no real killer games; and amongst this new gen's crop, the PS4 stands out as the one to get. Definitely after Microsoft released a unit that's focused on the prevention of gamers sharing games, the surveillance of gamers in their living rooms, and on mastering the entire TV watching experience that I no longer have and am not interested in.
  2. The new generation of consoles are not that expensive. Back when I bought the PS3 it cost me almost twice as much. (The Xbone is particularly cheap; clearly, people are not too keen.)
  3. I could get it at 20% discount through this one day special.
At this stage I only have one game for the PS4, Resogun (a modern day interpretation of Defender, one of my favourite Atari 2600 games). I am therefor far from qualified to pass judgement on the console, but I will say what many others have said before me: while the transition from the PS2 / original Xbox generation to the PS3 / Xbox 360 was quite dramatic, mostly through the introduction of high definition, this latest leap is much more subdued. Sure, I can see how Resogun features flashier graphics than my PS3 games, but I wasn't exactly knocked off my sofa with delight. Hopefully, we'll get better bang for our buck with time. I'm firmly looking at you, Grand Theft Auto 5 and Dragon Age: Inquisition!
One area where it seems I will definitely get less bang for my buck is home theater. At the time, we chose the PS3 over the Xbox 360 because it was a Blu-ray player; with time, through its DLNA support and other features, the PS3 became the center for our home entertainment much more than it did the center of our video gaming. The PS4, however, takes all of that away; you cannot play your own music or watch your own videos, at least not at this stage. Until Sony lets us do so through a firmware update, PS4 users are limited to watching material purchased/rented from Sony through the facilities provided on the PS4 (as well as access some other services like SBS on Demand or Foxtel, may its soul rot in hell; oddly, there is no ABC iView support). Am I holding my breath for Sony to support extended video playing? No, not really.
So where does that leave me? It leaves me in a world where the PS4 will grow to become my main video games console, but also a world in which my PS3 will still feature strongly. There are still plenty of good games for me to explore on the PS3 (anyone mention Mass Effect?), and its home theater capabilities have definitely not been rendered irrelevant by the PS4.
Well, at least the PS4 is half the size of the PS3, so as not to take up too much space next to the most successful and long lasting games console I have ever had.

Image by Jon Fingas, Creative Commons (CC BY-ND 2.0) licence


wile.e.coyote said...

When are you getting the Diablo III for PS IV?
Can it interact with people playing the PC version?

I hope it also means that PS3 devices prices are going down, so I can finally move to the Blue Ray generation (I do buy DVDs once in a while when I'm upset with the quality of the P2P downloads)

Moshe Reuveni said...

I could have got Diablo 3 for the PS3 a couple years ago. I doubt I'd be able to play with you, though, as Sony has its own servers. I know I can't play Mass Effect with players using an Xbox 360, for example.
Also note that in order to access online gaming on the PS4 you need to subscribe to PlayStation Plus (or whatever they call it now). At Australia this comes at a cost of $70 a year, which at this stage I have no reason to pay yet. Maybe War Thunder would change that?

As for Blu-ray players, by now you can get decent Blu-ray players for a fraction of the cost of a PS3, reduced price or not. If it's only the disc playing you're after, go for a player that doesn't have regional locking.