A lot of gamers are anxious about Sony’s announcement tonight of, presumably, the PS4. I’m not excited. Don’t misunderstand that to mean that I won’t be interested in the next console. They might surprise me with something cool, and even if they don’t, I’ll still need to get it to play the newer games. However, that statement is exactly why I’m not inherently excited. I’ll need to get it to play the new games.
The driving force of the game industry are games. When a new game that looks good is released, I’d like to play it. When the Playstation 4 releases, I’ll need it (or the new Xbox) to play the newest games. This seems arbitrary to me. The current consoles are fine unless they change things radically. Will they? I doubt it. We’ll see more motion control and maybe a little bit of touch input from Sony, but I don’t think it’s going to make a big difference.
New consoles are always more powerful, but I think we’re at a point in gaming that power isn’t the most important thing. Sony likely knows that as they commented that they’re focusing on “new playing options” (Nikkei via Joystiq). This could be the right path for Sony, but it really depends what these new playing options are. I enjoyed my Wii, but I didn’t see many games that really benefited from motion control or the pointer. There were some that worked well, such as World of Goo, but most often it felt like a gimmick. I haven’t tried Kinect, Move, or voice-control, but I’m not very interested in those either – at least, not as gimmicks. I’m hoping that by integrating the technology, maybe games that use them don’t have to feature them any longer. This could allow games to use them only as needed.
What else could we see? Streaming games? Serious Internet users already have bandwidth issues (especially with roommates), so this does not catch my eye. Better integration to handhelds? Building game leaderboards directly into the interface like Microsoft has correctly done (although hidden a little since the earlier interfaces)? We’ll see, but I’m just hoping that I’ll want the console because of the new experiences it can give me that the PS3 couldn’t rather than simply the ability to play games that won’t be released on the PS3.