You can’t have positives without negatives and no, there is no one button to rule them all. Despite the good buzz surrounding Big S, it’s not all peaches and apples for some developers; who were hoping for more.
There’s no doubt that Sony’s PS4 is looking to rival the raw graphical power found on PC. That much was evident during the PlayStation 4 unveiling last week in NY. And while many developers preached proudly of the consoles architecture and Sony’s hard press effort to heed the input from developers on their ideal hardware to build games on; not all devs were keen on the new system or upcoming software for that matter.
“I was really hoping for at least one "big" feature that makes me go "holy crap, never thought about that" in terms of changing the way people play games currently. Not necessarily a bad thing, but I was surprised not one single new feature really jumped out,” President of Robomodo, Josh Tsui told IGN. My sentiment exactly, in all honesty Sony simply announced a more powerful, more refined PS3, with innovation substituted for conservation. Is this a bad thing? To echo Tsui no, it is not, but it doesn’t quite scream, “I’m awesome and here’s why,” either.
Some say the controller is the X-factor, though I’m not entirely convinced. The share button has great potential if it pans out the way Sony touts. The ability to one-touch game sharing and community interaction sounds too good to be true, but if successful, will be the single most innovative feature PS4 has to offer.
The touch pad on the other hand - akin to the PSVita rear touch panel - is a wild card. If used well, we could see some clever control design that has room to benefit all game genres, however, with the current trend of uninspired and underutilized touch implementation on Vita, this could be more of an vexation than game changer; flashing missed opportunity in your face each time you power it up.
“I guess I didn't see anything -- in terms of software -- that I was genuinely excited about. Killzone 4 looked wonderful, but I didn't get why I should want to play the game,” said Overkill Game Director, David Goldfarb. “The other software I saw I felt equally ambivalent about, but there are a lot of talented developers out there and I'm sure some good stuff will come to be. I think the irony for me is that "next-gen console" is mostly playing catch-up with PCs, So if they aren't innovating on other axes I think it's going to be a rough transition for everyone.” Goldfarb concluded.
Again, this is exactly what I thought at the end of the presentation. Watch Dogs looks interesting, but nothing felt captivating. That’s part of the problem with presentations like this because everything is so immature and still in a foundational development stage. A lot of times, what we see at these hardware unveilings are rushed tech demos that attempt to ooh-and-awe us, but they’re really just graphic fluff that fall short at depicting what we end up seeing six to eight months down the road and beyond.
This is not to say Sony is missing the mark with PS4, because for all the unimpressed comments above, there were quadruple acclaims and why not? We have a new console to wonder about. With the PS4, Sony seems to have matured, as far as development edifice is concerned. Sure, it comes with most of the bells and whistles we’ve been speculating for months and yes, PS4 may not have a wow factor for everyone, but what we do have is a new breed of software to potentially salivate over; and new games are never a bad thing. Of course how this pays off is something that unfortunately does not manifest as fast as gaming gratification does. Like any console’s potential, time is its best ally.