Just moments before Wednesday’s big PlayStation 4 press conference, we rounded up as many Push Square staff members as we could get our hands on, in order to discuss our hopes, dreams, and fears for Sony’s next generation platform. Now, with the console blown wide open, we’ve repeated the more-challenging-than-it-sounds task, herding together a familiar roster of names for a good old chinwag about the impending system and its coming out party.
Anthony Dickens, Managing Director
Sony bravely scoffed a hearty slice of humble pie with its PS4 announcement, addressing some of the technical challenges developers faced with PS3, which should prove a particularly solid move by them. Its effort to embrace social gaming all sounded excellent, too, but we'll have to see it in practice before getting too excited. As for the re-birth of Vita as a 'second screen', it could be a saving grace for the struggling handheld.
However, I’m not convinced about the new DualShock controller. While the form factor tweaks look nice overall, it seems too busy and slightly confused – perhaps there’s still time for refinement? I would have liked to have seen more games, too, but I’m sure E3 will solve that. I thought that the titles that were on show offered a reasonable demonstration of the system’s capabilities.
Overall, I thought the press conference was positive, and a great foundation for further announcements throughout the rest of the year. Bring on E3.
Sammy Barker, Associate Editor
I understand that there are people desperate for the next generation to usher a new wave of creativity, but I was honestly satisfied with the pretty graphics. Sony is renowned for innovation, so I’m certain that titles like Journey, LittleBigPlanet, and Heavy Rain will come in time. For now, I just wanted to see the Helghast being shot in the face in glorious 1080p – and the manufacturer didn’t disappoint in that department.
But it was Sony’s attitude that probably impressed me the most. It was almost like the platform holder had a list of problems with the PS3 and responded to every single one of them. Difficult development environment? Fixed. Awkward patching and firmware system? Fixed. Lack of social and community features? Fixed. I wrote in my reactions piece that the PS4 sounds like a return to the ‘Plug and Play’ ideals of yesteryear, and the more I read about the console, the more that appears to be true. As someone who wants to scream every time I see a progress bar, I’m excited for a new piece of hardware that promises to work without any hassle.
Mike Mason, Assistant Editor
I'm fairly convinced that I'll be buying a PS4, though as of yet I'm not certain I'll be putting down the moolah at launch. This was just a first showing, though, and with E3 on the horizon I'm looking forward to seeing a fuller roster in a few months.
Overall I found the line-up somewhat underwhelming; efforts like Killzone: Shadow Fall appeared to be nothing more than prettier versions of games already possible on PS3 – right down to the 'press Square to plant C4' button prompts. Deep Down and Watch_Dogs look superb, however, and Media Molecule's bizarre technology demo plastered a grin right across my face. I didn't and don't understand what that game is going to be, but I already want it.
Game streaming, media sharing, and instant, download-free, demos are big wins. The user video features are brilliantly thought out and are sure to entice the YouTube crowd. I don't know how much I'd use them, but as somebody who loves the video recording functionality of Just Cause 2, I'm sure I'll find some fun uses.
Greg Giddens, Reviews Editor
I had pretty high expectations for the PS4, but I wasn't prepared for how stunning the next generation of games were going to look. Killzone: Shadow Fall's vast, beautiful city vistas; Deep Down's incredible lighting; Quantic Dream’s photorealistic old man demo – they all blew me away.
But what took the biscuit for me was seeing a live demo of Watch_Dogs. The living, breathing city and the power you have over it left me amazed. It was spectacular to see both fancy new visuals and new ways of playing. It’s going to be a wonderful launch title.
My only issue now, though, is the long wait until the holiday season. Current generation games are probably going to struggle to impress me – I might just take to watching that Killzone demonstration on loop.
Asher Asghar, Staff Writer
The PS4 will deliver a new benchmark for gaming. After seeing this week’s presentation, I’m convinced of that. I’d rather have seen the console’s inner-workings than its final look any day, and for me, the event, specifically Destiny and PS4 streaming on Vita, was very reassuring. Sony has learned its lessons, and is leading the charge for the next generation.
If I have any criticism of the PlayStation Meeting itself, it’s that I’d hoped to see a little more of the Vita. But, alas, this was a show all about Sony’s next generation console, and I already can’t wait for E3 later in the year.
Ben Potter, Staff Writer
Well, that was something, huh? Besides being spot on with my Gaikai predictions – I’m twirling my mustachio as I type – there was one feature in particular that I, even in my infinite wisdom, couldn’t have foreseen. The ability to relinquish control of your game to a spectating friend was, for me, one of the most exciting features that the PS4 will offer. Yes, the console is powerful, the games will be beautiful and innovative, and there’ll be stellar exclusives – but streaming and social integration is the direction that the industry is heading, and as long as Sony lives up to these promises, they’ll certainly have a leg up over their competition.
I've overheard a lot of people that were disappointed with the conference; people complaining that there weren't enough games or information. These people need to have a little patience. This was an announcement conference. For such an event we were treated to a surprising volume of information and reveals, and with a promised release window of this Christmas, you'll have information coming out of your ears by the time that E3 rolls around.
Robert Ramsey, Staff Writer
I’ll start by saying I think Sony did a great job. Maybe the press conference dragged on a bit now and then, but they’ve set themselves up perfectly for E3. For me, being able to stream games to other users and share videos was probably the most exciting reveal – the potential here is huge, especially since the PS4 looks to be an astounding piece of hardware. Nothing showed off the sheer technical grunt better than Killzone: Shadow Fall – I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited for a shooter.
Given the nature of the PS4’s architecture, it’s clear that Sony’s moving in the right direction, and that’s really the most important thing we can take from the event. Recent times have been rough on the brand, but the manufacturer’s shown that it’s still confident, full of ideas, and willing to improve. Bring on E3 – I hope Kaz Hirai makes an appearance this time.
Simon Waldron, Staff Writer
My biggest concern about used games may not have been answered until after the press conference, but I still came away from the presentation delighted with the hardware. The processing power is impressive and should give developers a lot more freedom after the notoriously taxing PS3. The idea of being able to Remote Play games on your Vita is beyond cool, and I really hope that it’s something that is fully developed.
Unfortunately, I found the software a bit disappointing. We weren’t shown much other than a couple of ho-hum titles and footage of games that we already knew about. I know that Sony wants to save some content for E3, but it would have been nice to end the conference with a bang. The same is true of the price point; I understand that it’s a strategic decision to keep that under wraps, but the Internet is already awash with rumours of an exotic cost.
With the spectacle over, I’m still left with plenty of questions. But I’m eager to learn the answers, and I think that’s good enough for the time being.
Did the PS4’s reveal live up to your expectations? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.