By now we’re all certain that the PlayStation Meeting on February 20th is going to be the announcement of the PS4. While Sony did try to be fairly mysterious in their teaser trailer for the event, they did a good job of making it obvious they’re ready to talk about their next piece of hardware without ever explicitly saying so. With their iconic face buttons on show what else could it be?
I’m sure the event has many salivating at the prospect of something genuinely new to sink their teeth into, Twitter and conversations with other writers have made that very clear. Personally, though, I’m feeling a bit cold on the event. Maybe they’ll excite me when 6pm EST on the 20th arrives, but for now I’m just not buzzing at the prospect.
There’s nothing wrong with that at all, hardware developers are allowed to go in whatever direction they want, but it’s also not terribly exciting. Before Nintendo announced the Wii U I was excited. They’d taken a different approach with the Wii and brought something genuinely new to gaming, I wanted to see what they had up their sleeve to come next. We knew it probably wasn’t going to be an immense bundle of processing power, but the general suspicion was that they were going to do something new and interesting again.
With Sony I don’t get that feeling, and I don’t really get it from Microsoft either. Certainly they’re going to give developers more power to play with and that unlocks new possibilities for future games, new innovations in graphics and gameplay, more powerful physics engines and AIs. However, it doesn’t make the console in and of itself exciting or interesting, it’s what people can do with it. The same is true of the Wii U I suppose, but at least there you can see the new possibilities that the GamePad presents.
Obviously Sony won’t just unveil the new physical hardware, that would be exceptionally strange, they’ll probably have some tech demos and some early concept videos of upcoming stuff to show just how much more powerful the PS4 is than the PS3. Of course if you remember in the past Sony have had tech demos that feature rubber ducks, and while I like rubber ducks, they also aren’t going to make me fall head over heels in love with a bit of hardware.
Will Sony's famous duck demo reappear?
Now if you want to talk to me about what Sony are going to have going on at E3 then I will admit to being almost worryingly excited (what if there’s a new Syphon Filter game?!), and that’s because it’s easy to get excited for games. Games are somehow more tangible than the hardware itself, they’re the product that the hardware exists to power.
I’d love for Sony to blow me away though, I really would. I’d love them to reveal the next console, show me a few big games running live on stage and looking absolutely stunning, and then just drop the mic as they walk off stage. While we might get some of that, I honestly believe they’re going to focus fairly tightly on the hardware itself, with a few trailers for games instead of live demos.
Although I don’t find that nearly as exciting, I can’t blame them if they take that approach. It lets them build to a big showing at E3 and a trailer is much safer than a live demo of a game, particularly when you’re trying to pull of the perfect reveal of your flagship product for the next five to ten years.
But personally I’m counting the days till E3. Just 124 to go.