Please Sony, Hold Off on PlayStation 4
When I was young, I owned an NES and I didn’t know anything else besides Mario, Zelda and all the other Nintendo games. I was young and fascinated by all of these experiences. The funny thing to me as I look back at my young self is that the SNES was on store shelves as I was enjoying my NES. I had no idea that anything could get better than what I had sitting at my house. Then my parents bought me a SNES and I loved that thing just as much as my now “old” NES.
This is the problem that the console manufactures like Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft deal with. How do you know when to introduce a new console? It may seem like an easy question to some, but when do you really know that something is going to get much better? Now back when I was young, I could tell you that the SNES was hands down better than the NES. But that comparison is getting harder to define in this new era of technology.
With the amount of smartphones and tablets in the world today, technology is now progressing faster than I think anyone could think of. Just look down at your phone, I am guessing it is some type of Android/iOS device. Now, cruise through the store and try finding some PS2 era games. I am sure you can probably find a good amount. I was just playing Grand Theft Auto 3 a couple days ago on my iPhone and it looked better than what I remember, which is staggering to me.
So is it time for the PlayStation 4 since a year or two from now our phones will be able to play PlayStation 3 games? My answer to this is no, and here is why I think so.
First, there is a lot of extra juice still left in the PlayStation 3. If you look at Uncharted and then look at Uncharted 3, you can tell that the clarity and graphical fidelity has been notched up significantly. I was never really an Uncharted fan, and in fact, I played Uncharted 1 and didn’t know why everyone was praising it so much. Then the third game came out, and I was blown away. The incredible sand effects made my eyes explode. I never thought I could have such detail in a game. It is to that point that I say developers are now just hitting their stride with the system. Look at any of the new games from MLB 12: The Show to Journey and you will see just what I am talking about. This system has a ton left in it and developers are still finding even more tricks.
Secondly, look at the PC market. It is always a safe bet that PC games will look significantly better than the same game on a console at the end of its life span. Half-Life 2 came out towards the end of the PS2/Xbox/GameCube lifecycle, and I couldn’t believe how much better that game looked compared to what I was playing on my consoles at the time. I was able to play that game with all of the details turned up and in high-definition when most people didn’t even know what HD was. It is to that point that I say that PC games do not have that big edge in graphical power that we are used to seeing at the end of a console’s life cycle. Sure, Battlefield 3 looks great on PC, but compared to the PS3 version, does it look THAT much better? I don’t think so and I have played both. There is more detail, but nothing hampering the game. We have reached a point where there doesn’t seem to be a big jump in graphical power, but small, incremental upgrades.
Lastly, are the consumers ready for a new system? I am sure if you are reading this you are a hardcore gamer that is constantly up on the new releases, the new systems, and all of the talk around the Internet that is gaming related. We are the minority here though. I went around asking my friends when the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 came out and their answers were “Two years ago” or “Couldn’t be more than a three years ago” or even “Recently, right?”
My friends are gamers, but aren’t up on the gaming times. They know when the new Halo or Call of Duty is coming out, but not that a new Xbox/PlayStation might be coming very soon. Even better, one of them just took the plunge on buying a PlayStation 3 and another is considering doing the same, which brings me back to the very beginning of this entire discussion. When should a new console be released? The general public is still debating whether to join this generation, so why confuse them even further and release something new and foreign? The right thing would be to expand your audience right now, and wait to release new hardware. The general consumer is still on the fence, so give them a reason to join now. Drop the price and see as a flock of new customers join PlayStation Nation!
The start of a new console generation is always a very exciting time being a gamer, and the temptation that something new and exotic is being developed to play with always gets me feeling exhilarated. The issue I have though, is that the next generation is going to offer me nothing new or exciting. It is just going to be these small little bumps in performance that I might notice if I keep a close eye out. The PlayStation 3 just has so much more juice left in it, the PC isn’t getting the big jump in performance we typically see at the end of a console’s life, and the general consumer doesn’t seem ready for a new console.
Can Resistance 4 really do something incredibly different on PlayStation 4? I doubt it. Can Uncharted 4 really immerse me further into the game than Uncharted 3 did? I don’t think so. Will PlayStation 4 feel the same as a PlayStation 3? I will bet so!