Its been a long time since I was looking forward to a new console. The WiiU caught my attention briefly some recent sales figures (only 57,000 units in the U.S) confirmed what I suspected. Its not the console for me. Don’t get me wrong I love Nintendo and I love the Wii… but for my mainstream gaming its either the 360 or the PS3 all the way.
So what will this new PS4 have to offer? Well there is no much speculation (much of this fuelled by Sony I think) but there seems to be some agreement that it will not allow pre-owned games, will feature Blu-Ray and a bigger hard drive which probably means some kind of downloadable games deal. Its also lots more powerful graphically with more powerful CPU cores and all that sort of thing.
And all this is great. But.. what does it mean for games development? I mean really mean? Is gaming going to change forever because of higher resolution visuals? Higher fidelity sound? Is the ‘next gen’ of console going to be so vastly different to the current gen? Or are we really discussing a change in delivery mechanism? If we are, then my point is this.
The games are ultimately how a system is judged and the obsessive discussion about possible hardware and internal components is hiding the real conversation. The platform is changing - ok I get that - and these systems are old in technological terms - I get that too. But gaming retail and delivery is changing forever and in a big way. No speculation needed about cores or GPUs there - we know that the pre-owned market is doomed along with the possibility of boxed product.
Also payment models and monetisation of games is changing - as is the way these games cross to other platforms. Also, in reality developing games on these machines is already out of the reach of the independent and new developer - and the kind of hardware they are jamming into them is arguably more ‘exclusive’ than ‘inclusive’.
My overall point is this: Assess what we actually know about the PS4 and the new Microsoft console. Yes, new hardware… great! But these machines ARE going to change gaming delivery and retail FOREVER. This is a big deal! And games industry history is replete with technological innovations in dead tech… its the GAMES that count!†