With a rare bit of spare time today it’s been entertaining to think back over last night’s PlayStation 4 presentation and take in some of the reaction from around ‘teh interwebz’ as that’s normally good for a laugh.
My own opinions of what we saw last night begin with the thought that it’s interesting that they came right out at the start and basically admitted that the PS Vita is getting a new hardware revision that will output to your TV. So pretty much like the recently unearthed patent that may or may not simply be for the PS Vita dev kit?
TFLOPS don’t matter except when they do
Of course that’s a crucial number for much of the willy-waving on the Internet over the last 12 hours or so. The PC gaming crowd were quick to point out that the Nvidia GeForce GTX 680 is around 3 TFLOPS and the new $1000 Titan from the same stable is 4.7 TFLOPS so the PS4 is out of date already.
It’s a pointless comparison of course, the PS4, despite the underlying architecture, isn’t trying to be a high-end PC. It’s got to be affordable and practical for most households. If there is a useful TFLOPS comparison, it’s this one: the PS4’s GPU with 1.84 TFLOPS is much more powerful than the 0.4 TFLOPS RSX in the PS3.
By that single abstract measure the PS4 is 4.5 times more powerful than the PS3.
We know less about how the PS4’s CPU will compare to the PS3 performance-wise as they’re so very different. The 3.2GHz Cell BE in the PS3 had a single ‘full’ processing core and a handful of SPU assistants.
The speed that the 8-core x86-64 AMD “Jaguar” CPU in the PS4 runs at hasn’t been made public yet but it’s 8 ‘full’ cores will be more flexible and, more importantly, familiar to developers. Add in the unified memory and PlayStation gamers won’t be waiting so long for the next Elder Scrolls DLC.
Now with even more shock!
The new DualShock 4 looks good, but with “enhanced rumble”, the light bar, touchpad and headphone socket I do wonder about battery life as battery capacities aren’t growing at the rate technology needs.
Buried in the wall of text in the press release for the DualShock 4 and PS4 Eye is “Combined with the Mono Headset that will be bundled with PS4…” so everyone will have a headset from day one. If you’ve spent much time on Xbox LIVE you might not think that’s such a good thing but it is at least one less accessory to buy.
With a PS4, DS4, Eye and headset in the box that sticker price is rising. And shouldn't a stereo camera be called an Eye-Eye?
As for all the pre-loading of games it thinks I might want, video sharing, etc., that all just makes me worry for the bandwidth and download limits on my broadband connection. And I’m lucky enough to have an above average broadband service so where does that leave the people on restrictive plans?
Is Shadow Fall a boast about Guerilla’s dynamic lighting?
The games and technology demos also left me cold. I don’t care that Killzone will now have even more pixels on screen in different shades of grey, orange and blue. I think a little bit of green got in there by mistake. And I certainly don’t care about being able to see which way the exquisitely rendered suede on the car seats is brushed.
The police weren’t popular with Ubisoft, who were encouraging you to shoot out their tyres or crash them into bollards while Sucker Punch suggest that, alternatively, you should just use your super power to kill them.
David Cage wants us to be impressed by the possibilities of a staring competition with a significantly aged Max Headroom in desperate need of a realistic hair shader and made a big thing about how the polygon counts of his characters are getting bigger with each game and hardware generation.
Media Molecule then immediately told us it’s not about the polygons, they’re a nightmare and invited us to vandalise each other’s clay sculptures before proposing that our dreams are to play rhythm-based music games using
expensive plastic peripherals that mostly just sit on the shelf our PS Moves, forgetting that genre died 12 months ago.
Sony have got it right
I appreciate that some of that may sound crushingly negative but that’s likely just flippant sarcasm bubbling to the surface. For what it’s worth I think Sony have got it all right, including the decision not to show the console.
Some clearly came away disappointed having gone in with the wrong expectations. Most surprising of the various pieces I’ve read today was the one from The Guardian. I consider that their games and technology coverage is normally by some margin the best among the British papers.
Their reaction piece this morning PlayStation 4 launch: where was the console? in stark contrast to their reporting of the event itself seems almost as if it’s not to be taken seriously, so maybe I missed the joke. But if they did really expect “The event… to include the rollout at least of a box, and a price, and a date when you’d be able to get your hands on one” then they need to go back and study how these things work!
The majority of what I have read today, fanbois and the odd media blog aside, has been positive for Sony. They’ve clearly established their aims with the new console and network architectures, stolen a march on Microsoft and can still make a big splash later in the year with the actual reveal.
Exciting times, no?