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PS4: The Real Questions

Is it me or has the preview issue spilled over into this event as well? It just seems that there were a few unusual negative responses to last nights PlayStation Meeting that maybe wouldn't have popped up if reporters weren't suddenly looking for stories, as some have suggested games reporters should do.

Not associated with Sony and I don't mean to be an apologist, but consider:

"Why Were There No Women Presenters At The PlayStation 4 Event"
- Patricia Hernandez [Kotaku]

Don't we know the reason for this? For years, games development has been, and still is, a very male dominated profession. That hasn't changed overnight, but someday it's gonna happen. Probably sooner than you think.

But at this venue, it seems to me that for the material presented, these men were the people to have on stage. A woman isn't the CEO of SCE, Andrew House is. A woman isn't the lead engineer of the PlayStation 4, Mark Cerny is.

Who's the most recognizable face at Media Molecule? Alex Evans, a man.

Who's the most recognizable face at Sucker Punch? Nate Fox or Brian Fleming, men.

I imagine all the people on stage were either the faces of the dev houses they represented or they were the leads of their respective projects. So, for this collection of product reveals, wouldn't any female presenter chosen have been chosen solely because she was a woman? Isn't that sexist?

And I may be completely off base here. If I am, please let me know. From my experience though, being a minority who may or may not have benefited from affirmative action at one point or another, it sucks that my race is considered. Who knows, maybe my race was the only thing considered. If that's the case, what's the point of me even trying? I want to know that the achievements, the things I consciously work towards are the things that matter the most, not that I'm selected to fill some political correctness quotas.

I can only imagine women in the industry feel the same. When someone like Amy Hennig gets to present a Naughty Dog game, we don't get the feeling that she was chosen because she's a she. We know she has earned it through her achievements. Doesn't that feel better than being chosen for something you were just born with?

Bringing up this issue in this context feels akin to when the mainstream media reports on crime, then talks about the criminals playing video games. They don't come out and say there's a link, but the proximity of the words makes readers draw that connection between crime and games. Just like in that scenario, these reports makes readers think that Sony did something really sexist in not having any female presenters, which is unfair.

Is gender equality in the industry a non issue? No, but it's going to take time for these types of setting to change, reflecting the change in the industry.

So, I Guess We’re Supposed to Just Imagine the PS4?
- Brian Ashcraft [Kotaku]

It's perhaps not surprising that a lot of people noticed that while the PS4 was announced, the actual console itself wasn't shown, but it strikes me as odd that some people are making such a big deal out of it.

Historically speaking, games and tech demos (mostly the later) are the first things revealed for a new console. Back in the day, it was processing power and dazzling graphics that were the most important talking points. When the PS3 was announced, we saw lots of ducks and "Killzone 2." (In quotes. Needed to be said.) It wasn't till much later that we actually got to see the console itself.

People may have missed it because somehow they thought that PlayStation Meeting (featuring PS4) meant PS4 Unveiling Event, but this was a pretty standard first showing of a new console, except the focus of the PS4 has shifted away from, "hey, look at all the stuff we can render. Here are the numbers, etc."

Instead, Sony talked about the design philosophy behind the system, how engagement is the most important aspect of the PS4 -- engagement through a large variety of games enabled by self-publishing indies and familiar system architecture; fewer steps between deciding to play and actually playing with suspend states and instant play demos, far easier methods of sharing with friends with dedicated hardware built in for video capture, editing and upload; and so on.

It matters little what the system looks like, right?

Perhaps without seeing the box, people doubt that the PS4 exists or will ever exist in the fashion described? Barring extremely unfortunate circumstances, does anyone really think that's possible? After the countless hours of development, not only in house but with developing partners, spent on making software that depends on the features talked about existing in the final product, can the holidays really roll around and leave us with a PS4 that's not the box they talked about last night? Does anyone really think the games industry is that unprofessional?

PS4: The Real Issues

Reporters don't have to try this hard to come up with stories here, because there are real issues that someone should be finding the answers to regarding the PS4. Price and such, well, there's no point in trying to pry that stuff out just yet. I don't think Sony knows what price they want to charge yet, what with the fluctuating world economy anything could happen. China could, in the next 6 months decide that all workers deserve higher wages.

And stuff happens fast in China. What would that do to the cost of a PS4?

Still, many questions we could be looking for the answers to:

What does it mean to "Build the Fastest Network?"

One of the most interesting features of the PS4 is all of the Gaikai Technologies enabled stuff, like being able to spectate your friends playing, instant access to full game trials without having to wait for a giant download, Remote Play to not just Vita but other portable devices.

While they did state that the functionality will roll out in phases (they even said that some of these things are just what they hope to do), what is it going to take to make it all happen? What does it mean to "build the fastest network?"

If you're a tech guy, I honestly would like to know. Would Sony have to run its own fiber around the globe? Rent out massive amounts of physical space for servers? Are they talking about things that are even possible without doing all that? With ISP's becoming more and more like the airline industry, will anyone have the bandwidth or the money to do any of this stuff?

Being such an important part of the PS4 and its strategy, this stuff is a big deal, and we don't know anything right now.

Is this an attempt to solve the discoverability issue?

There was some talk of how the PS4 is a learning machine that will eventually figure out your likes and dislikes, even going as far as seeding your system with game downloads that are potentially to your tastes. Imagine a person who only plays shooters though, would a game like Journey or The Walking Dead ever show up for that person? How will it know what you could potentially like if a game comes out that is unlike anything before it?

If this is an attempt to solve the discoverability issue, how will the system deal with these types of issues?

Indies get in too?

Just before Jonathan Blow went up, my stream crapped out, but I did hear something about self-publishing. Earlier in the event, they even talked about the PS4 being suitable for free-to-play and episodic gaming. Will there be a PlayStation Mobile type, low barrier to entry, development and distribution solution for the PS4?

There are more people than ever out there with the ability to get their games out to the masses and it would be amazing if the PS4 became another venue for indies to release their games. This, I need to know more about.

As I Write This...

There are answers being found, which is great. This is the world we live in now, a continuous stream of information. Best not to look at just one moment in time and judge. Everything in its context.

Also, sorry for the wall of text. Don't have any pictures handy, new daughter and all.
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About Triopticalone of us since 3:43 PM on 01.26.2010

The easiest way to get to know me is to consume the stuff I write or make, whether it be comments or what not. Simply put, games are my life, and while I've been part of several gaming communities, I have yet to meet any gamers who are truly like me. Is this time the charm?

"Trioptical" is something I may or may not have seen in an episode of Star Trek: TNG on a screen in the backgrounds. That was around 1997, September, when I created my first email account and I have used the name ever since. It suits me. To this day, the only other Trioptical I've ever run into is a Tri-optical that sells glasses and such. It's a play off of the Chinese character that is often associated with good vision. I guess it's a good fit for them too.

But I had it first.

Hey! Look at that! Automatic XBOX Live Gamertag. Sweet.
Xbox LIVE:Trioptical
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