Tobold's Blog
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Playstation 4

Today in all likelihood Sony will announce the Playstation 4. As I bought a PS2 and a PS3, I probably count as a likely customer for the PS4. But before the thing is even announced I personally already consider it unlikely that I will ever buy one.

I loved my PS2. There were a lot of great games on that platform which weren't available elsewhere. Specifically the Final Fantasy series on the PS2 was great, I even played some of the PS1 Final Fantasy games that were playable on the PS2. Other games I liked also were often of the Japanese RPG genre, or variations thereof, like Dark Cloud.

Then came the PS3 and destroyed my love affair with the Playstation brand. Only the very early Japanese and US models of the PS3 were backwards compatible, while the PS3 I bought in Europe wasn't. So suddenly I had a huge library of games I couldn't play any more, because I didn't have the room to have both consoles installed at the same time. And then Final Fantasy XIII was a huge disappointment. The one game I ended up playing the longest on the PS3 was Red Dead Redemption, but most other titles on the PS3 weren't exclusive. There weren't so many Japanese RPGs on offer. And many of the games that sold well for the PS3 were the kind that I either wasn't all that interested in, or shooters which I much prefer to play with a mouse and keyboard. I dislike aiming with a gamepad.

Another negative point was that I used my PS2 to watch DVDs, and I had software which allowed me to watch DVDs from any region, allowing me to buy TV series on DVD on the US The PS3 is solidly region locked, and useless for watching foreign DVDs. Other restrictions of the PS3 annoyed me even more: If I told the PS3 that I lived in Belgium, the only language options I got were French and Dutch. So I lied when I made my PS3 account and claimed I was living in the UK, just so I could run the thing in English. But then of course Sony wouldn't accept my credit card with a Belgian address any more, so I could only use the PS Store with UK prepaid cards bought via the internet. I felt the Playstation 3 totally boxed me in with national and regional restrictions, not allowing for the option that maybe somebody wasn't living in his the country he was born in, or interested in the films and games of other countries or regions.

Whatever the technical specs announced for the PS4 are, two things are almost sure: My current PC has better graphics than the PS4. And my PC is a lot less restrictive if I want to access content from other countries or regions. So right now I have trouble thinking of a reason why I would need a Playstation 4.

For me, the console has always been my go-to place for all more action-oriented games and my computers for the slower stuff.

Also, the PS3 served as my Blu-Ray player for several years. I agree that the region limitations are annoying, but they are no worse than what conventional players have. Also, the durability and quality of the PS3 optical reader seems to be significantly higher than most built-in cd/dvd readers in most computers.

Finally, my kids use it a lot.

So I think that I'll buy the PS4, just like I did the previous ones. Or perhaps a new Xbox. As to whether the specs are higher or lower than "current PC:s" – isn't it usually a "win" for the consoles during year zero, after which the PC:s regain the lead? On the other hand, for 500-600 bucks (or your local equivalent) the price/performance ratio is pretty much unbeatable (to me), particularly considering the very extended lifetime of these pieces.
Past region locking, the question is will either/both of the nextgen have anti-used-games technology?

I thought the biggest problem was that if you want the whole family to watch on the 140cm TV, the typical PC is not connected except perhaps Apple TV + airplay.

Oscar, since there was the discussion about "Sony: PS4's main selling point will be 'new playing options, not improved hardware specs'" I am not even sure there will be much of a year zero hardware advantage.

OTOH, AMD/ATI just delayed its graphics cards so PC may be decelerating as well.

Looking at the console and PC markets, I think businesses will decide the place to invest is mobile - i.e. Apple & Samsung.

I'm not sure at all as to how the "graphics race" will work out, of course. In the latest issue of Edge, there is a rundown on the "almost-confirmed" expected specs of the new Sony and MS units. I don't keep track of the numbers and code names of graphics cards anymore, but they certainly did look capable.

In another article in the same issue, regarding the new Unreal Engine 4, there is mention of the new consoles capable of pushing "1-teraflop graphics performance". Whether that is better or worse than Tobold's current rig, I won't guess at. But I would not bet against it as a buzzword we'll see floating around the next couple of months...
I'm disillusioned with consoles in general. They're getting too expensive and their libraries aren't worth diddly squat. I can't afford to run a gaming PC and a console, especially when the console will be filled with exclusive titles that I DON'T want, and non-exclusive titles that I could be playing on the PC.

I was a massive PS2 fan due to my love affair with JRPGs at the time, and you couldn't get them anywhere else like you say. It was a golden age for console gaming. But then "next gen" happened.

I actually didn't buy a PS3. I could tell it was falling off a cliff, and the price point asked was £100 too high for me. They totally betrayed the style of the games library that they had in the PS2, and half the stuff wasn't even exclusive as you mention! Plus the Xbox 360 seemed to be absorbing ALL the Japanese games.

And then I regretted even buying the 360... FFXIII... the death of Final Fantasy for me. Horrible. I haven't seen many JRPGs since then, but the few I've tried have been shallow and story-less with characters I don't give a flying poop about (almost like they're copying FFXIII).

I hear Ni No Kuni may be trying to turn things around, but you know what? I don't own a Vita. Not relevant to me. Why isn't Ni No Kuni on the PS3, Sony?
I bought PS3 just for the Final Fantasy game and I am very disappointed. As of the rest of the games nothing is really interest me..My ps3 box had a gift the God of War 3 which many people loved it but I just can't play such games...maybe I am too old for them..Also I cannot play FPS games with gamepad..I ended up give my ps3 as a gift to my nephew who at least will make a great use of it as he is a 12 years old child and he loves all games :)

In my PC I can chose to play 10000 free MMOs with great quality, I can play great PC titles (skyrim) with mods and addons and also I can find extremely low prices in games on game platforms. I really cannot find any reason at all why I should chose a console over a good PC.
I bought the very first generation EU PS3, because it could still play PS2 and PS1 games (not as well as it's US and Japanese cousins, but it could) and to fool around with the Cell CPU and Linux.

The GuestOS support was killed with a later update and the PS2/1 emulation layer not included in later models.

And as I still have a lot of PS2 and PS3 games that are on my ToPlay list, I am not tempted at all to buy a new PS4.
Both consoles need to do used game control simultaneously. One of them doing it will be the end of that console.

It's really too bad they made it such a hassle for you. I'm not too concerned about the hardware; I'd like the PS4 to be a bit more user friendly, have a better wireless card, and for them to spend a bit more on making their servers work.

I don't know that I will be getting one either, but we will see.
I have an odd sort of discordance about the ps3. I never bought one because there are so very few games on it that I'd be at all interested in, that I don't already have through steam or on xbox. But then I also complain bitterly about those few games that are ps3-exclusive, because I'd rather have them on xbox, where all my other games are.

It's like how I get annoyed when a game is on Origin and not on Steam (I still don't own Mass Effect 3, cause it's not on steam). Because it's annoying to have games on two services and most everything else can be gotten through steam.

It's odd. Last gen I had both systems, but I only owned like 4 xbox games, and well over a hundred ps2 games. Some of which I'm still playing! Just played persona 4 yesterday. This generation, I have like 40-50 xbox360 games, but looking on metacritic for ps3 games, the only ones that jump out as things I wish I owned are Journey, Demon's Souls, and Valkyria Chronicles. 3 games are not enough to buy a system for.

Next gen, I dunno. If the ps4 can pull a ps2 and get a great game line-up, I might buy it. It could happen. Hardware specs and pretty graphics won't convince me. Sony needs to explain why I should transfer to a new system, when all my friends/achievements/scores/etc are already on xbox live, and the better games are with small exception, available for both.

Not to be a fanboy or anything (I seem to be pretty alone in wanting to spend more money on consoles around here!), but I am in fact playing Ni No Kuni on my PS3 right now. So it is available.
I've got an Xbox and a Wii but my true gaming console is a decent PC (4 years old) with Steam in Big Picture mode and plugged into a great Samsung LED tv (40").

I can play with mose/keyboard (wireless), Xbox controls (wireless) and of course... both at the same time, depending on who is playing (my 5 yars old son, me, my wife...).

With a decent PC you can get an insane amount of amazing videogames: 100% freeware stuff, F2P, AAA titles and -most important thing- a crapload of "retro" and "semi-retro" games via emulation.

Consoles are neat but they cost too much for what they truly offer. And the Steam + Big Picture solution is just fantastic.

Negative points? You don't have access to console-only titles and/or other stuff that is not emulator-compatible. But honestly... the PC can offer a LOT of stuff to play with.
"My current PC has better graphics than the PS4."

Not entirely true. The PS4 can use the gfx card to its extend while on PC most Software has to use the lowest commmon features to stay compatible. i.e. games can use far mroe power on PS4 than on PC and stay compatible
Didn't Sony buy Gaikai, the streaming games company? I wouldn't be surprised if they offer streaming of PS1, PS2, and PS3 games on the new PS4. They've bought the technology. Knowing Sony they would make you buy all your games again though. Maybe they will give a discount if you already own it, as Nintendo is doing from Wii -> Wii U.
One shouldn't forget that a huge advantage of consoles is that they are not running Windows.


Perhaps PS4/xbox720 are starting to see themselves as competing more with Apple TV/Roku than each other and Steam?

I get tons of use from my PS3 but mostly not for gaming. I use it as a blu-ray player, and to access TV related services like iPlayer.

I'm not sure how Sony will persuade me to step up to a PS4. I'm not against the idea but I like the machine I've got.
I like to go on self-imposed media blackouts every now and then. I haven't done this since the last election, so announcement of the PS4 (which mostly inspires a vague wariness and resentment in me) seems like a good week to get started. I suspect I'll only miss a week of fruitless speculation.
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