The Console Wars (PART VI.1): Discerning PS4 Fact from Fiction

A SONY FAIRY TALE

Ahhh, remember the simpler times of 1995?  Remember when people actually looked at speakers and their lame power point presentations as opposed to diddling on their tablets/smartphones?  I’ll bet this collection of ‘journalists’ actually inhaled, then penned an article, as opposed to machine-gun-vomiting tag words on Twitter as E3 unfolded.

Notice Sony’s constant reference to films, and the contrast struck between the current arcade industry versus the cinematic potential for video games.  Remember when the entire concept of cinematics was fresh?   And wouldn’t you know it, the Sony Playstation was magical enough to meet all its obligations with no detrimental side effects.

Sony never exactly followed through on their pledge for unfettered, instant entertainment of course.  Quite the opposite, the PS1 ushered in the era of loading screens and multiple discs.  The PS2 similarly guaranteed robust internet offerings at its launch – beyond just a huge collection of titles with online multiplayer, there would be a whole interactive world waiting for the player.

…and this was the result. A for effort?

…and this was the result. A for effort?

The Big Three have a long and celebrated history of promising us the world, then walking to the front of the grocery store and buying us one of those shitty ‘toys’ that come in those plastic capsules.  Like a giant sticky hand that gets stuck on your ceiling. 

Worse even, all three routinely engage in doublespeak: when Microsoft says that your 720 will include a headshot-activated, transforming hand for fist-bumps, they actually mean that frames per second will drop and aliasing will be noticeable.

Picard doesn’t buy that non-sense.

Picard doesn’t buy that non-sense.

In the interest of our guarded, oh-so-precious hopes and dreams for the future, we’ll break down the many PS4 promises and see which category they belong to: FACT, FICTION, or DOUBLESPEAK

 

 

PS4 HARDWARE SPECS

 

Main Processor Single-chip custom processor
CPU : x86-64 AMD “Jaguar”, 8 cores
GPU : 1.84 TFLOPS, AMD next-generation Radeon™ based graphics engine
Memory GDDR5 8GB
Hard Disk Drive Built-in
Optical Drive
(read only)
BD 6xCAV
DVD 8xCAV
I/O Super-Speed USB (USB 3.0) ?AUX
Communication Ethernet (10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX, 1000BASE-T)
IEEE 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth® 2.1(EDR)
AV output HDMI
Analog-AV out
Digital Output (optical)

VERDICT?

FACT

Would Sony really lie about this, especially when there are developers already hard at work with preliminary dev kits?  There’s no real reason to.  Besides, this isn’t even the whole roll out and nothing on this list looks too criminal.

Could details change between now and launch?  Possibly, but that would likely be in terms of stuff like number of USB 3.0 ports.

Not on this list is the DualShock 4 battery capacity, rated at 1000mAh (versus 610mAh on the DualShock 3).  Maaaybe they tweak this?  Ditto for the 1280×800 resolution on the camera?  Don’t expect anything significant either way. 

 

 

ALL GAMES AVAILABLE AS DIGITAL DOWNLOADS

According to President Shuhei Yoshida:

We’re shifting our platform more and more to the digital side – PS4 will be similar to PS Vita in that every game will be available as a digital download, and some will also be available as a disc.

VERDICT?

FALSE

This could be true a year or two out, but there’s no chance every game on release will be available for download.  Consider that neither the PS3 nor the 360 had a functioning online anything – much less a store – when said consoles dropped.  To say that every game will functionally download on day one of its launch is nonsense.  I can see some of the garbage-ware titles at launch just skipping this if there are legitimate problems.

Even if it is technically true, the first years of the new generation will feel identical to our current state of affairs.  The picture Yoshida is trying to paint – that of a world where buying a game retail is the exception to the norm – won’t come to fruition for several more years.

 

 

INSTANTLY EXPERIENCE ANY GAME AT YOUR WHIM

If we know enough about you to predict the next game you’ll purchase, then that game can be loaded and ready to go before you even click the buy button.

VERDICT?

 

DOUBLESPEAK

This is just bat shit insane.  Who wants Big Brother Sony sucking up your bandwidth just because you played Devil May Cry and it determined you now ‘want’ to try the newest Dynasty Warriors game?  How would said system work with usage-based internet plans?  What’s the plan for determining a household’s proclivities when Jimmy plays Call of Duty and little sis Jane plays My Little Pony?

Consider how often someone will dive into a certain game only to scoff at another, highly similar title of the same genre.  The Gran Turismo crowd doesn’t mingle with Forza crew; I personally loved inFamous but didn’t touch Prototype or Enslaved.

Also consider how shitty it would be for Sony to sign with certain publishers so that their games automatically download regardless of a PSN profile’s history.

Give Sony credit for attacking the nerve center of the digital downloads problem – that hour long lull of status bar gazing.  Cul-de-sac reached.  But they had to spin some kind of bonkers idea to maintain the mirage that PSN will be superior to Xbox Live.  Don’t expect any panacea of this strength.

 

 

 

Author: Wu

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