ps4…what’s it good for?

ps4

I have no idea how Sony and Microsoft have sold so many new game consoles. There is literally no exclusive software that makes them worth having, and yet millions of people have these systems sitting near their TVs – for the travesty that is Battlefield 4FIFA is pretty impressive, but it’s hardly a system seller. I got a PS4 solely for MLB 14 The Show, the baseball sim exclusive to Sony systems – and it doesn’t appeal to everyone. Oh, and even that won’t be out before the start of the baseball season.

Let’s do the tl:dr first – you can go read one of the hundreds of PS4 reviews online, so here are just some likes and dislikes:

Like

  • The controller feels much better than the PS3’s, despite its useless touch panel
  • Remote play with the Vita is useful and impressive
  • Umm…the system itself is compact and stylish

Dislike

  • The battery life on the controller sucks
  • Removal of so many last-gen features
  • PS+ required for online play
  • A dearth of games for this game-oriented device

Here’s the gist of it: this must be the stopgap generation. The original Playstation and its successors – the PS2 and PS3 – were ahead of their time, ushering in new features and power that made everything else feel antiquated by comparison. The PS1 played CDs and could handle 3D, the PS2 played DVDs and dabbled in online play, and the PS3 had wireless (Internet and controllers), HD graphics, Blu-Ray, expanded online functions, and a built-in hard drive. These were all pretty dramatic steps forward.

In coming from the PS3 to the PS4, the raw power of the box is unquestionable improved, but we actually lose features – no backwards compatibility with the hundreds of PS3 games, no more DLNA streaming, no CD or MP3 playback, no file browsing or Linux compatibility (remember that?). But we gain…a slightly higher-resolution version of Flower?

As of right now, there’s no compelling reason for this new generation of consoles to exist. Motion gaming and glasses-wearing 3D are fading gimmicks at this point, and 4K displays are still prohibitively rare and expensive (not to mention that resolution can only push you so far anyway). So it’s just a more-powerful version of the same, but it can offer nothing that a fairly inexpensive desktop computer cannot do with a great deal more flexibility. Perhaps the future holds console-exclusive virtual reality headsets, ala Oculus Rift, but again, that’s not here yet.

Being able to play PS4 games remotely on the Vita is pretty awesome, but I’m not sure how well it works over the internet. The long start-up and loading times inherent with the PS4 itself, and the inability to quickly resume games in progress, make it less convenient than playing a Vita game, but it’s still impressive playing those full games on the tiny system.

If nothing else, with both consoles having comparably-increased power, we should see some better PC games.

4 thoughts on “ps4…what’s it good for?

  1. I saw that. I thought about amending this post, but yeah, that’s interesting. If done correctly, it has the potential to be a lot more engaging and innovative than the “Wii”-type motion craze, or glasses-based 3D tech.

  2. Facebook bought Oculus Rift. My bet is that they are wanting to poach the patents so they can come up with a competitor to Google’s Glass. That would basically free up Sony to not have to worry about a competitor entering the gaming market for a while. I hope I’m wrong. Maybe Facebook is planning on entering the gaming market. I’m sure Farmville would look awesome in Virtual Reality.

  3. As someone who was mildly excited about the gaming possibilities of the Rift, I find Facebook’s acquisition disappointing. I think Facebook has a better chance at taking it mainstream, but at the same time diluting it and making it something I’d never touch, ever.

    It does, however, make Sony’s offering more interesting.

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