You may have heard something about an announcement last night involving Sony, a new Playstation; our very own Kevin Jones has the details here. You may have also heard about the Playstation 4’s physical absence on stage. We got to see some launch titles, their new social-centric PSN replacement (evolution), and the controller that will make it all happen – complete with a touchpad and “Share” button. For those of us looking for a preview of what will be vying for the job of central entertainment hub in our living rooms this holiday season; we were severely let down by last night’s announcement. And that’s not all bad.
By Developers, For Developers
From early on in the presentation, Sony marched out their execs and repeated some form of the above sub-heading; this presentation was about enticing the folks who will make the software that will run on the Playstation 4. If as a gamer you felt excited about the prospect of playing Killzone: Shadow Fall; that was an extra.
It’s not unusual for Apple, Google, or Microsoft to show off their latest versions of their OS months before their flagship product is unveiled; instead they sell us the sizzle. Sony was making an (last-ditch?) effort to truly get the developer community excited about games again. This year has been particularly rough on game studios; from big name studios announcing layoffs and fewer licensed properties to going bankrupt, developers needed a reason to continue to pour money in what often times may seem like a losing bet. Sony needs the developers both major and indies alike, in order to make good on their conquest of your living room. This is precisely why Sony hedged their announcement on connectivity among multiple devices, “tools” for developers (details were few and far between), and of course, their grandiose vision for the Playstation Store.
To us gamers, none of these would really make us jump up and shout “Take my money!” To a developer or game studio, it will help them plan out their production budgets for the next few months.
So what about the sizzle?
Yeah, yeah, I get it. We, the gaming public, didn’t tune in to hear about “synergies,” “social play,” and far-off (however well meaning or creepy) technological promises of the PS4 – at least not exclusively; we wanted to see what this box from the promised future will look like. Regardless of what Sony’s CEO Jack Tretton said to The Verge, we care about what the device will look like. At least right now we do. But for Sony, this wasn’t about the PS4, it was about why make games for the PS4.
For what it’s worth if the design of the controller is a sign of things to come; we probably don’t have much to worry about short of Sony deciding to do away with their entire industrial design team.
Agree? Disagree? Let us know.