PS4 – new tech and shiny dragons

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Killzone: Shadow Fall” image via US Playstation Blog

Hmm…orange.

So, Sony unveiled the PlayStation 4 system last night amidst hoopla, fancy curved video screens and more new media waffle than I could parse early this morning.

What I gleaned from the talk about sharing, convergence and new experiences was that the new system is powerful (so what else is new?), designed with social media integration in its DNA (witness the sharing button built into the new DualShock controller) and that all that horsepower, invention and design has been pressed into service to make a new “Killzone” and “Drive Club”,  which looks quite like “Forza” only shinier.

So, iteration rather than innovation?  Possibly. But, is that so terrible?

Apple and Samsung have made phat stacks of cash from users willing to drop hundreds of pounds every year on a slightly curved version of the same mobile phone they bought previously, so why shouldn’t the console makers choose to unveil a system which makes every thing look a bit better, sound nicer and have moderately more realistic animation?

Capcom’s “Deep Down” – Here Be Shiny Dragons…

This was a curious event, really.  Lots of cheer leading for the slightly tarnished Sony brand, which emphasised the console maker’s strong points – innovation, engineering, production values – and pitched the new system as being able to seamlessly interface with those new-fangled tablets and smartphones whose ubiquity and quick play convenience have delivered a drubbing to the Japanese gaming giant’s own PS Vita handheld console.

It isn’t just Nintendo and Microsoft that Sony have to take on this time – it’s a sector of casual gaming which really didn’t exist when the PS3 debuted and which seems to have won the hearts, minds and wallets of “Angry Birds” addicts who would run a mile from being described as (cough, spit!) a gamer.

Can the core experience likes of Capcom’s intense-looking RPG “Deep Down”, dark superhero spin-off “Infamous: Second Son” and new Media Molecule quirkiness do the business and convince the public that they need Sony in their living room again? Will E3 bring us something as crazy and absurd as a look at the actual console – what do you call a console reveal which doesn’t actually show you the hardware?

And what do Microsoft have up their sleeves (so long as somebody from MS keeps Don Mattrick safely backstage at their press event and away from a teleprompter, I’ll be a happy man) to change the game anew?

 

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