PlayStation 4 Roundtable Preview: Thoughts & Predictions
With Sony’s unveiling of what we can all assume will be the PlayStation 4 this Wednesday, we sat down with a few of the GotGame staffers to discuss what we think and hope will be announced, as well as share some thoughts on Sony’s possible next-gen approach.
So let’s get right to it and don’t forget to check back with us tomorrow afternoon for details on the official unveiling.
1. Based on what we’ve heard so far, what aspects of the PS4 (rumors) interest you the most?
Josh Boykin: I’d be lying if I said I was entirely interested in any of the PS4 rumors I’ve heard, though the idea of integrating a touchscreen into the controller could potentially make for some interesting gaming opportunities.
Patrick Brickhouse: I think that the controller redesign is the most interesting because it’s the most believable in terms of speculation for me. It’s about time that Sony finally changed it up and made the controller feel a little more comfortable and functional
Adam Larck: The Gaikai service. We already know it will have new hardware processing power and a graphics card. That’s no surprise to use the new Unreal Engine. I’m really intrigued to see what the Gaikai service will offer. Will it just be for PS3 game streaming, or will you be able to do full length timed demos as a Plus member of any game on the service? That second option could be huge in giving Sony an advantage over Microsoft, as I’d love to try more games before buying.
Ryan Bates: The rumor that interests me the most is the one I absolutely want to be NOT true, and it’s being thrown around on the other side of the aisle too: No used games? No purchase. Period. That will be an instant dealbreaker, and until they can assure me they’re not going to lock out pre-owned games, I honestly won’t be paying too much attention.
2. We’ve already seen the supposed prototype of the PS4 controller. Are you in favor of the small touchscreen on the controller, or would you prefer a completely new type of controller?
Josh Boykin: Personally, I think the prototype controller looks a little..Logitech-y? I think that the PS4 really needs to have some wow-factor built in to overtake the next Microsoft console, and a revamped controller would have been a great way to do that. But hey, that controller’s worked for them for years…
Ryan Bates: Functionality is key for me when the consoles “level up.” I’m not a fan of change for the sake of change. Therefore I want to see how they utilize the touchscreen. By the way, I hope Sony sends Nintendo a thank-you card.
Adam Larck: The similarly designed controller with a small touchscreen works fine for me. Honestly, I’d rather see a touchscreen be implemented via the Vita using a bigger touchscreen. However, Sony needs to make that a bigger draw before that can become a reality for PS4/Vita compatibility. Still, sticking with a controller that gamers know and love is a sound move for Sony, instead of trying something in left field and seeing it fail.
Patrick Brickhouse: As I said before, a redesign is needed, even if it’s a small change to the thumbstick placement and trigger functionality.
3. Various reports have the PS4 pumping out some impressive looking specs. However, is better graphics at the top of the list of importance?
Adam Larck: Gamers always want to see graphics being pushed, especially when in comparison to the PC, so I’d say they’re a big thing. Getting the next Unreal Engine on the PS4 will be great to play games like the next Star Wars or Watch Dogs. Those games look amazing and they’re only in the early years of consoles, so I want to see what the system will be able to do pushed to its limits.
Josh Boykin: Graphically, the PS4 is going to need to look gorgeous. But it’s not going to matter how good the games look if people aren’t buying them, and that’s only going to happen if people have bought the system in the first place. The specs on the PS Vita blow the 3DS out of the water, but that hasn’t stopped Nintendo from selling their handhelds like crazy (particularly in the wake of the new Fire Emblem). Try revamping the online experience, including backwards compatibility and hard drive installation capability, and you’ve got a potential mover-and-shaker on your hands.
Patrick Brickhouse: Graphics are important in this case, since console lifespans are increasing it’s necessary for the machine to be as powerful as possible right out of the gate. We need to be “wowed.”
Ryan Bates: Top of the list for me is software quality, and while that generally means to me quality storylines, impressive specs can lead to better graphics, bigger worlds and more quality gameplay. So it’s not necessarily at the top of the list, but it’s way up there.
4. If you had to peg 3 possible launch titles (franchises, etc.) or list three games you’d want to see as launch titles, what would they be?
Ryan Bates: I think diversity would be something wise for Sony to launch PS4 with. Like, let’s say an RPG, a sports title, and a FPS. I personally would have said a PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale 2, but we see where relationships went south with that.
Patrick Brickhouse: The Last of Us, The Last Guardian and…a surprise that no one is expecting.
Josh Boykin:Hmm, what would I love to see as launch titles? A new Uncharted. a Final Fantasy that doesn’t make me want to cry (in a bad way), and a new LittleBigPlanet. Realistically, I think I could get two out of three on that list.
Adam Larck: Final Fantasy, God of War and Metal Gear Solid 5. There’s been a few FF titles in the works, why not reveal one as a launch title to give fans hope they’re still coming and a reason to buy the system. I know God of War: Ascension is coming soon, but why not follow it up quickly with the sequel on the next system to make fans want more? Finally, MGS 5 would be a huge launch title after the tease at VGAs. I doubt it will hit considering the release window of the next MGS title, but it’d still be a big shocker.
5. Do you expect, or want Sony to introduce a new type of online interface? (ie. new version of PlayStation Network)?
Patrick Brickhouse: YES! Xbox Live is miles better in terms of service and ease of use. I’ll pay a yearly fee if it means I get a better online experience.
Josh Boykin: I certainly hope that they come up with a new online interface. I’ve always felt like the PlayStation Network feels clunky and puzzling compared to Xbox’s interface. Example: I shouldn’t have to hit the home button, then scroll up to trophies, then select my game, then scroll to the trophy I just unlocked if I hit the home button as the trophy pops up on my screen…should be pretty damned obvious what trophy I want to look at. #firstworldproblems at its finest, but it’s going to be UI workflow and interfaces that make users feel un/comfortable at a deep level, and Sony needs to score all the points it can in the next generation.
Adam Larck: The PSN needs an updated interface. The new version looks nice, but why make it basically an app you have to load up to search in? Sony needs to take a page from Microsoft and make the home screen integrated seamlessly with the PSN. It needs group chat and just a visual update. I doubt they’ll show that off Wednesday, but it needs to be in the works.
Ryan Bates: I think PSN could use an update. Definitely in terms of security, maybe in aesthetics too. I mean, PSN isn’t totally obsolete, so I couldn’t complain if they didn’t do anything, but the security does need to be addressed.
6. As a gamer, what would make the PS4 a must-buy for you?
Adam Larck: Care about past and current systems. The PS3 is coming off of a good life cycle and still has big titles coming out after the announcement. Make sure I can keep playing these games in some way on the PS4, either by redeeming a UPC code or seeing a game on my PSN account and linking it to Gaikai or by making the hardware backwards compatible. As far as current systems go, show that you still have Vita support planned. The PS3 has done some good things with the Vita as far as cross-platform play and remote access, step that up on the PS4 and show what else the two can do together. Make people believe in the Sony brand of game systems, not just one system.
Josh Boykin: At this rate, the system with backwards compatibility/used game support gets my vote, virtually no questions asked. Assuming I don’t see either of those come out from either system, then there’s pretty much nothing that makes the PS4 a “must-buy” in my boat. I bought my PS3 because there are a bunch of great games on it I hadn’t played and because I wanted a Blu-Ray player; both of those facts still hold true for me, so I’m in no particular rush to get a PS4 in the house.
Ryan Bates: A good price point. Don’t charge me out the anus unless this has greatness par to a buff Alienware rig or greater, or adjust the price to where people can afford it. To quote our “fearless” [sic] leaders in Washington, DC: It’s the economy, stupid. We live in an era where our purchasing dollar isn’t as strong or as disposable as it used to be.
Patrick Brickhouse: Heavy hardware with a focus on hardcore games. Don’t care about the other bells and whistles as much.
7. Predictions: What do you expect Sony to announce on Wednesday in respect to the PS4?
Josh Boykin: I’m expecting Sony to make an official announcement about a small selection of launch titles as well as confirm the system in general. I don’t think we’ll be seeing too many pictures of peripherals or getting a full launch line-up, but I think there will be enough there to whet our appetites and ready us for when they pull out the big guns at E3.
Ryan Bates: My personal prediction is that Sony will dazzle you with all these numbers and stats, announce that there will be a functional prototype at E3’13, but PS4 won’t hit the retail shelves until holiday time ’14. I just have a hunch that this “announcement” may be a lot of noise, but very little action.
Patrick Brickhouse: Hopefully a look at the console and some launch titles…but that’s a long shot!
Adam Larck: We’ll see the new system and controller shown, as well as a few launch titles in a vignette trailer. Hardware specs won’t be revealed until at least E3 I would guess. We may get a release window as well (holiday 2013, big surprise), but I think a set date and set price will also be held for another game convention. Look for this to be a lot of tease with more concrete info and details shown later on.