Let me begin this blog by saying, yes, I am a cynical bastard at the worst of times, and at best, I am immensely difficult to impress. And let me follow that up by saying that I really wish that wasn't the case. I wish I could see a lot of the new technologies and games and movies and whatnot and be super excited about them. And, in rare cases, I am (Persona!), but for the most part, I keep my enthusiasm toned down.
Nope. That'll never be me.
With that said, I don't think that anything Sony will reveal in the next few days will get me excited or fill me with any kind of childish glee. Certainly not to the level of Nintendo's reveal of the Wii (remember when we all thought motion controls were cool?) or when the PS3/Xbox 360 were announced and their graphics just wowed. Maybe I'm getting worse in my immensely old age of 23 years, but I just don't think Sony'll do much for me.
Let's start with the graphical prowess of the console itself. Generally speaking, when a new console is released, the jump in graphics is huge and jawdropping. Think about the NES. Then, think about how big a jump the NES was to the SNES. And then the jump from SNES to the PS1/N64 era. And that jump to the PS2/Xbox/Gamecube era. And then to the current generation. The jump in sheer graphical might was intense! It made it hard to go back to old consoles
But, this was clearly the high point of graphics. Looks just like....whatever it's supposed to look like.
But if people like Michael Pachter (of GT's Pach-Attack) are to be believed, the jump in graphics won't be nearly as huge. And I'm inclined to agree with that, for a number of reasons. When you buy a brandy-new PC that can generate the best graphics, they are certainly impressive, but they aren't the jump we had from 2D to 3D. In fact, I would argue that it isn't even close to the jump we had from PS1 to PS2. And, once again going to Pachter, the graphics will probably be what high-end PCs could do two years ago. Impressive, but certainly not pick-my-jaw-off-the-floor worthy.
That reason is enough for me to calm myself over this big console reveal. But wait, there's more!
Let's talk pricing for a moment. I am almost certainly going to be making big generalizations here, but hear me out. Triple-A games cost an absolutely stupid amount of money to make today, right? To the point where games such as Resident Evil 6 can sell 5 million copies and be considered a failure. If we move to more expensive consoles to make better looking games, won't the price of developing go even higher? Will that force games to be even safer, and force the difference between big budget and small budget games get even larger?
Honestly, I don't know. But I really don't think developing games needs to get any more expensive than it already is.
Let's keep throwing our money into development costs. We'll just need to sell every family three copies to break even!
But here's the last thing that doesn't impress me. It may seem trivial at first glance, but I think once I break it down, you'll understand why this has me worried. This final reasons is, of course, the controller. Or, at least, the prototype controller that has been leaked.
I hate it.
At first glance, this controller looks like a slightly wider Dual Shock 3. But there are a number of changes with it. The Analog sticks have these new indents, the whole thing feels rounder and heavier, and the D-pad is much different. But that's not what worries me.
The touch screen in the center does.
"But Ryoma," you ask, "why is that so worrying?"
Because it's useless. Plain and simple.
Let's think about the touch screen's use. It's not big enough to really serve as it's own independent screen a la the WiiU, so it's not like you'll be able to switch off the TV and play on it. So, it's probably more supplemental information, like maps. I once again don't see that working out too well, since the screen is still quite small. The map would be hard to read from a distance, so a quick look down during a fight may be more trouble than it's worth. And if you can't read it quickly, you'll have to pause the game, negating any benefit of having the map down there.
Unlike this, which is much more readable at a quick glance.
Well, maybe it's just used for buttons, right? Game specific buttons?
No. Just. No.
Let's say it's a glorified pause button. You can't reach it. It's farther from the D-pad and analog sticks than the Start and Select buttons would be on a normal PS3 controller, so you wouldn't be able to reach it quickly if you need it, especially if you need to keep your thumbs on the sticks. Not only that, but let's assume that each game can place its own buttons there. What if they move the pause button? Imagine one game having the pause button on the right, and the other having it on the left. Switching back and forth would be a nightmare!
As Nintendo showed with its DS, either the touch screen should be used exclusively or not at all. Switching around from buttons to touch screen just tends to cause little more than hand cramps and smudges on the screen. Well, thank god Sony put that on the controller. Now my gaming experience is far superior!
I do like Sony, and I really do hope the PS4 is better than I think it will be. But, Sony seems to have this thing were they copy Nintendo, but only halfway. Sony made motion controllers with balls on the ends that no one cared about. They made a hand-held console that couldn't capture the kind of experience and charm the DS (and 3DS) can. And now they are copying the WiiU's controller screen, but not going far enough as to make it something actually useful. It seems like they don't know what they are doing, so they are copying what Nintendo does and seeing what happens.
I plan to watch their event on the 20th closely. I just don't plan to be impressed by what I see.