What is up with Sony jumping the gun on their next-gen console? Well, it is not necessarily jumping the gun… The timing is just about right. Late 2013 is a very appropriate time for the next generation of gaming consoles to come out. But, it has been a month now since Sony announced the PS4 and gave its “details” about how it’s going to change the future of gaming, and the “details” were sparse and pretty unsatisfying.
In many ways, the PS3 was technically a better system than Xbox 360. Not only did it have higher stats in general, it also had a built in Blu-Ray player and free Internet access. It seemed kind of ridiculous that Microsoft was charging for this new “Xbox Live.” Somehow, developers and gamers alike gravitated toward the Xbox 360 more so than the PS3 in the United States. The Xbox 360 pretty much became the main gamer platform. To be clear, PS3 and Xbox 360 have always been close in sales, but Xbox 360 simply has a higher rate of active users, which means a good amount of people have a PS3 laying around in a corner of a closet somewhere and maybe use it primarily as a Blu-Ray player whenever they decide to watch one. The intention is not to downplay the PS3’s user base here, because obviously there are still plenty of PS3 gamers out there, they are just not as prevalent as Xbox 360 gamers, which is an issue for Sony’s reputation in the console arena.
To review the information that’s been released about PS4 so far, check out here. Some interesting concepts were discussed, some plans that the company had for taking advantage of the Internet cloud were mentioned, a controller was shown, built-in social networking, and the idea of making PS4 games available across multiple mobile platforms was also a subject of conversation. However, some very notable details were missing: Where’s the device? It can’t really be considered an “unveiling” if its not unveiled… Price range? Sure, probably too early for that, but at least a ballpark figure? Backwards compatibility? Will you have to throw away your PS3 games? Current-Gen Controllers? Will any of the controllers, including steering wheels/PS move controllers be compatible?
Microsoft is probably less than worried about these vague details about the mysterious upcoming PS4. If anything, it is like a learning opportunity. Sony gives away some of their information, so Microsoft gets a chance to know what they are up against way ahead of time. Try to research details on Microsoft’s Next-gen console and there will be nothing but rumors. People are hyping it up and nicknaming it Xbox 720 even though that name was never official. Microsoft will most likely truly unveil their system when they are good and ready. It kind of seems like Sony is trying to distract from its shortcomings with the PS3 when compared with the 360 by hyping up gamers and developers about something that they do not seem to know enough about to be announcing yet. Sure, it could be all just part of the marketing game, keeping gamers in suspense over the lack of details… But, how long is that supposed to go on for? Are gamers really supposed to just live in suspense over something as vaguely described as the PS4? Die-hard PS3 fans will probably be on their toes, but realistically, in a competitive market, Sony should have probably held off the announcement a bit until they had enough details to get anyone and everyone excited about their new beast. In short, it really feels like this “unveiling” that Sony provided does not really change anything about what is in demand, and further, it seems like it’s nothing more than an annoying teaser/distraction from the current-gen systems that we are all occupied with at the moment.
(For another take on the PS4 announcement, click here).