I am a doctoral student in Cultural Anthropology, with a bachelor's in English & Creative Writing. I specialize in subcultures and cognition.
I love gaming, and I have followed the industry and its technology since I was a kid in the 80's. I have gamed primarily on PC since 2000, though I still follow console news and hardware as well. I was also a sales associate at Micro Center for a while, which was a great experience and got me into PC hardware.
I worked as a mapper and beta tester for the mod Action Half-Life. My maps, most of which have vanilla Half-Life Deathmatch versions, are available on my website.
After Microsoft's wretched handling of the Xbox One, I wasn't surprised to hear that Sony "won E3" today. But I don't think that's the biggest story.
Looking at the PS4 as a complete package, what's broadly important is that we finally have a platform that could sustain another console generation. Because it was not looking good for a while there. The Xbox One is a travesty in more ways that I can count, and the Wii U is, at best, kind of off in its own little world or stuck between generations. The PS4 has good software support, a reasonable price, and enough of a boost in processing power to justify the upgrade. A simple formula for success that MS and Nintendo might have seen if their heads weren't so far up their own asses. Yes, gamers want a powerful, well-priced machine that plays lots of good games. Just like every console generation ever.
Still, I have some reservations about the PS4.
To start, the "pay to play online" thing is a bit of a fly in the soup. PS+ is going to be a necessity for most people, so the console is basically being subsidized to keep the price low, just like an expensive smart phone - but without making it obvious. Sure, PS+ is a pretty good deal for most people, and it's nice that it's not *required* to purchase or use a system. But it still feels like a hidden cost of sorts. Sony is probably selling the system at a loss, though, so wanting to recoup some that money via PS+ is understandable.
As for Sony "saving game ownership"... well, as with current gen, the idea that you "really own your games" has a ton of catches. Yes, there's no internet needed - if you don't want your buggy games patched, or if you don't want your DLC or digital titles. And do you really own your DLC or digital purchases? What happens when MS/Sony decide to stop supporting the old consoles? You may have your Skyrim disc for PS3, but good luck playing it with no patches. And your DLC is simply gone. Consoles are no longer plug-and-play. They have a "hybrid" model - they still have physical media, yes, but that doesn't mean they don't have all the potential issues of digital distribution as well.
Finally, am I the only person surprised at how tiny the PS4 is? It has some pretty impressive specs to fit in a box that small. That AMD APU must be paying off. Though it's also clear that the unit is designed with cooling in mind (it appears to pull air in from the side cracks, and vent it all out the back). But the size has me wondering if the system is less powerful than the specs suggest. That's just a random, weird intuition, though. I guess we'll see, at the least it appears to have an edge on the Xbox One - which costs $100 more....
In any case, it looks like consoles are going to survive another generation. At least one of them is, anyway. You should still all switch to PC, though ;)
(I don't usually write these short/quick blogs, but... E3!)