So, as expected, Sony announced the launch of their next video game console, the Playstation 4. As much as I’m a rabid gaming fan, I have really mixed feelings about this launch. Firstly, I’m really excited to see the launch of new hardware. I always have been, and always will be, a fan of digital devices, and while I may not jump on the Playstation 4 bandwagon right away, I’m sure I will get one at some point. I’m also very much rooting for AMD, who are supplying most of the hardware behind the PS4, as I’m a bit of a fan of the chip making underdog. The specs for the new Playstation aren’t bad, and are of course customised to some degree, but they’re not ground breaking by any means. The Playstation 4 will be packing:

  • A custom AMD processor, made up of a 8 core x86 CPU, and a custom Radeon GPU
  • 8 gigs of shared GDDR5 memory
  • USB 3
  • and other fairly standard ports and hardware that you’d expect from such a device

The other thing that’s great is seeing what developers can do with this hardware in terms of game development. It’s always awesome to see how far people can push a piece of hardware.

Take, for example, the ground breaking series Uncharted.¬†Uncharted 1 was considered cutting edge in terms of graphics when it first came out…

Uncharted 1: Drakes Fortune
Uncharted 1: Drakes Fortune
Uncharted 1: Drakes Fortune
Uncharted 1: Drakes Fortune

… but fast forward a few years to Uncharted 3…

Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception
Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception
Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception
Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception

…and the original game looks almost amateurish by comparison.

It’s basically saying to someone “Here’s a bunch of tools, let’s see what you can do with them”. And what they did what the PS3 hardware was pretty damn amazing.

But maybe because I’m old and jaded, it seems that this is all gaming has become. Sure, there was the Wii, Move, and Kinect, which did bring some new ideas to the table (particularly the Wii and Kinect), but there hasn’t been anything as new and exciting as those developments for a while now.

Which brings me to the reason I am also not so excited about the Playstation 4. It’s pretty much a graphics race at this point. Just take a look at the trailer for the new Killzone:

The graphics are amazing! But the game? It looks like pretty standard FPS fare to me. So in this regard I’m really not excited by the Playstation 4. There’s some talk around the touch pad and light sensor that’s build into the new controller, but until I see a game actually demonstrating how it’s been used, I’m going to keep my excitement in check. Time will tell whether the PS4 will be as great an investment that any of it’s predecessors.

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