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Reaction: E3 2013 Uncovers the Trends That Are Poised to Define PS4

Posted by Robert Ramsey

Onwards and upwards

E3 2013 has come and gone, and while the stage has been once again dominated by the usual corporate chest puffing, there were also a number of new gaming trends on display. Accelerated by the introduction of new hardware, this year's show played host to a slew of fresh technological advancements, all of which look poised to dictate the direction of the software that's set to occupy the PlayStation 4.

The biggest example of this came in the form of increased connectivity. Multiplayer is nothing new, but it's clear that we're on the verge of a new era of socially enhanced single player releases. Titles such as Watch_Dogs and Need for Speed: Rivals are elevating the nature of solo sessions, seamlessly matching you with other players as you progress to make for a more emergent experience.

We've already seen glimpses of this exciting innovation on the PlayStation 3 with titles such as Demon's Souls and Journey, but new and improved hardware will unlock the opportunity to realise this vision more freely. Games like Destiny are really blurring the lines between the online and offline components that we've previously accepted as separate entities.

And with the promise of that, persistent multiplayer is being brought to life in the process. While the concept of the MMO is nothing new on the PC, it's a genre that – short of a few standout examples – has somewhat eluded consoles over the years. But publishers such as Ubisoft and Activision are gradually beginning to buck this trend, and titles like Tom Clancy's The Division are taking inspiration from these massive games. Meanwhile, we're seeing ambitious online endeavours such as The Elder Scrolls Online and PlanetSide 2 expand to the PS4.

Speaking of which, open worlds look set to become even more prominent on Sony's next generation system. While we've played copious releases on existing consoles that have offered the ability to traipse through gigantic worlds – titles such as The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Red Dead Redemption immediately spring to mind – this trend looks like it is set to become even more prominent on the PS4.

A huge number of the games on display at E3 promised massive non-linear environments. Destiny, for example, will sport a gigantic open world, inFAMOUS: Second Son will continue the series’ sandbox formula, and even Killzone: Shadow Fall is set to drop the corridor confrontations of its predecessors. It's an exciting step forward in terms of variety, and while there will always be a place for more scripted experiences – Call of Duty: Ghosts is proof of that – hardware advancements should make seamless worlds more easily accomplishable.

And then, of course, there's the rise of free-to-play. At launch, the PS4 is set to accommodate the likes of Warframe, DC Universe Online, and PlanetSide 2 – titles that have already proved popular on the PC. It's a new approach for consoles, which have stuck fairly rigidly to the traditional model of single-purchase products over the years. But if implemented properly, the free-to-play model can not only offer outstanding value, but also a new method for us to consume games in a manner that we decide.

Couple this with the usual array of visual enhancements and technical wizardry, and the next generation is shaping up nicely. Many have criticised the impending transition's ability to impress from a visual perspective, but it's going to be the implementation of advanced connectivity, new business models, and the sheer scale of game worlds that will separate the PS4 from its predecessors. Whether that will be enough to encourage the average consumer to upgrade remains to be seen, but there's no doubt that there are some genuinely exciting new experiences on the horizon.

Are you a fan of these particular trends? What aspects of gaming would you like to see evolve further on the PS4? Let us know in the comments section below.

User Comments (17)



irken004 said:

Free to play, indie support, and expanded player connectivity will help define this new generation.



get2sammyb said:

For me, definitely think the connectivity point is the big thing. A large proportion of the big games shown attempted to blur the lines between single player/multiplayer. I think it's a fascinating concept, I'm just not sure how I feel about it in competitive scenarios. If the game wants to match me with people who are going to help me, then great. But I don't want to be smashed off the road by someone who's already unlocked all of the best cars in Need for Speed. It needs to be well implemented.

I also don't want to be in a really tense mission, and suddenly be interrupted by someone who's left their microphone on so I can hear the Offspring blasting out of their stereo, y'know? The way they pitched it in The Division demo was awesome, but it was also idealistic.

I think for me personally, I'm really excited for the free-to-play stuff. Warframe looks awesome, and I actually really like this model when it's well implemented. I don't mind spending a bit of money for some upgraded gear if I'm already enjoying the game. Pay to win is obviously a problem, but this again comes down to how well it's all implemented.



ViciousDS said:

Test Drive unlimited was the first game ever to blur the lines between singleplayer and multiplayer...........and I have yet to find a game that satisfies me like the first TDU....which sadly was only for the 360....but I have so many good memories of just driving around meeting other friends...before I quit using my 360 almost 90% of my friends list was from that game alone. You would leave a singleplayer race and automatically be connected to up to 7 other players roaming Hawaii as well. The second TDU failed on so many levels in terms of playability and car selection.

So I say merging the lines of connectivity will be the biggest thing, removing lobby screens all together will greatly improve everyones experience.



GameOverRedd said:

I personally don't like all the connectivity integration because I'm concerned that it's going to take over all single-player gaming. It's not that I'm anti-social, in fact I really love playing MMOs, but I like having my multiplayer in one corner and my single player in the other, so I can pick and choose when I wanna play either. They're entirely different types of gaming, IMO.

I'm very much all for F2P gaming though!



Aj_Dono said:

I was hoping for a new dc universe for ps4. though I am still glad the original dc is coming, I hope they will have it unified i.e. eu and us on one server. I play on the us server and it's a pain in the arse, faffing about getting us psn cards or your mates to sort it so you can get legendary and replay badges etc...



Gamer83 said:

I remember playing Crackdown 2 and some jacka$$ entered my game and completely ruined it. I HATE the idea of mixing single and multiplayer just let me enjoy my game alone if I want.



doctor_doak said:

Not at all... Major publishers, particularly Ubisoft are really pushing this 'connected' experience, which essentially constitutes a merging of traditional offline single player & open world MMO style co-op & multiplayer. The point is not to innovate, but to convince gamers that an always connected, 'always online' future is actually 'desireable' and 'necessary'. For UbiSoft, restrictive DRM on PC games failed, always online consoles failed, and now they will get people to be always online through altering actual game design. What happens to these games you've bought when publishers inevitably shut down their servers??

People might be celebrating the fact that Sony stuck to it's relatively consumer friendly hardware vision, and that Microsoft backtracked on some of their more draconian policies. In the end, it may not even matter. Because it seems as though industry innovations (amongst the major players) in next-gen game design are going to either force you to play online, or otherwise persuade us to do so in order to get the 'full, unadulterated, un-gimped experience'.

I'm not convinced that open, connected worlds are going to deliver a compelling experience. I think the actual narrative aspect of games is going to really suffer, while we're distracted by an endless array of 'activities' and 'events'. I don't see why we can't have offline single player experiences that deliver a great and personal narrative, emergent gameplay, and large sandbox environments to be immersed in. I'm sorry, i just don't want other people interfering in my single player experience ala Watch Dogs. I don't want the single player and co-op/multiplayer experience to merge...

I think i'll wait until the dust has settled before buying a next-gen console. Because if Titanfall, Destiny, The Division, The Crew, Drive Club, Sunset Overdrive, Watch Dogs the future of gaming, then i'm not really interested.



Gamer83 said:

I forget where but it was about a month ago I read an article that stated Watch_Dogs can be played offline so that's good. I just worry about what Ubi might do with Watch_Dogs 2 and beyond that.



Reverend_Skeeve said:

@Gamer83 @doctor_doak

I agree. I like, as someone has put it, I like to have my singleplayer in one corner and my multiplayer in the other. I am looking forward to try out multiplayer in Killzone (and Watch_Dogs) with some of you guys from pushsquare, but I want it to be optional. Luckily, that seems to be possible for Watch_Dogs. But I want to avoid situations like @Gamer83 described...someone rushing into my sigle player game and messing it up.

I wouldn't mind the merging of single- and multiplayer so much if most people I've met online weren't rude, imature teens, ruining the experience for me. But then, I owned a 360...maybe it will be better on PSN...let's hope.



Gemuarto said:

I want some cool TRPG for nextgen. Something cool like Final Fantasy Tactics or Tactics Ogre. I beat almost every TRPG on PSP. But now, it seems like TRPG genre is dead. No annoces for PS4, or even for Vita. Future seems super sad. Only actions and actions only...



Gamer83 said:


I could tolerate this a little more if they give people the option to control who joins in. People here seem cool so I wouldn't setting up games with you all and then there's my long-time friends from my school days who I know are just looking to have fun and not ruin the experience. While I will always prefer and support games that have good offline singleplayer I can get behind some connected ones provided it gets universal praise from both critics and gamers and I don't have to deal with random a-holes.



doctor_doak said:


To be fair, I think Sony are doing quite OK atm...Killzone, Knack, The Order, Infamous, etc.. are all looking like the sort of traditional single player experiences, while offering online options, etc..., as we've come to expect. It's really Microsoft, Ubi, EA and Activision that are the problem, and what's worrying me looking forward...



Reverend_Skeeve said:

@doctor_doak Agreed, those titles seem to be more "classical" in their I like it. But I wouldn't say in general that EA, Ubi and Activision are the problem. Sure, games like "The Division" require always on, but I think BF4 will have a classic single player campaign and I think I read that Watch_Dogs will offer the option to exclude other human players from your single player, should you wish to do so.

So I'm basically okay with those new breed of games, as long as I have the chiose to play them single-player case of the Division, this will not happen, of course...but the game looks so fantastic that I can't wait to play it anyways.



Gamer83 said:

Destiny is the one I'm looking at. I always liked Bungie's Halo games and I'm willing to give that company enough credit that it can deliver a good, connected experience with Destiny.



Reverend_Skeeve said:

@Gamer83 Oh yes. Destiny I will watch very closely. It IS a Bungie game, after all, so they deserve some credit in advance. Love the Halo games. That's the one franchise I'll really miss...but I just can't see myself buying an X1 anytime soon...if ever.

But hopefully, Destiny will be a worthy substitute.

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