Today at Sony’s Playstation Event, Andrew House and the rest of the folks over at Playstation came out swinging, sort of. While some of the announcements definitely hit the ball out of the park, it seems that the gap between what companies think gamers want, and what gamers actually want is still a problem that both Microsoft and Sony haven’t figured out how to resolve.
Starting the conference off, Andrew House immediately went into the upcoming Playstation Slim model, something we all knew was coming due to leaks from a few days ago regarding the newer PS4 model. During the presentation it was stated that the new model would feature all the upgrades one would expect in a re-imagining of a console. The PS4 slim is a smaller, sleeker, and more energy efficient version of the PS4, and utilizes all the same components, even the 500GB hard drive that Sony still seems to think is large enough to handle the libraries of today’s gamer. This news I feel is where Sony fell short on generating a real buzz for the updated PS4 model, as a 500GB hard drive is simply not enough storage for a console that installs up to 50GB of data depending on the game that is being played. While the 299-dollar price tag and September 15th release date may be attractive to some, Sony’s refusal to upgrade the console’s storage space may still be a huge thorn in some gamers’ sides, especially when the Xbox One S carries the same price tag, along with the option of a 2TB hard drive for 100 dollars more.
One thing that stood out during this event that sort of bridges the gap between the PS4 Pro, and the PS4 was the announcement regarding HDR technology, which boosts the dynamic range of luminosity, so that it’s closer to what we actually see with our eyes. When used in conjunction with a TV capable of HDR, this technology allows for as close to realistic environments as we can get
left non hdr right hdr
right now. The HDR update will be across all PS4 models, and comes out to current owners next week, and for those with an HDR TV, once applied, the firmware update should be noticeable immediately as many of the currently released games have already been patched to support both 4K and HDR displays, in a move that Playstation is calling “Forward Compatibility”, developers have been encouraged to, to include support for these technologies in their upcoming releases as well, but in order to take advantage of the graphic improvement, still have to have that HDR capable display.
The PS4 Slim announcement definitely took a back seat however, to the PS4 Pro, Playstations 4K HDR ready mid-cycle console upgrade. While the exact specs have not been released, the PS4 Pro sports a boosted CPU clock rate, as well as a GPU that PS4 System’s Lead Architect, Mark Cerny has stated doubles the power of the existing PS4 GPU, as well as a 1TB hard drive, which once again proves, that for some reason, developers still remain completely out of touch with the real world storage requirements that fans actually need, especially with some of PS4’s current game offerings taking up as much as 50GB or more on install. The question here is with a console that is going to be capable of supporting 4K resolution, along with HDR technology, how much more space is each game going to require on installation? While the tech specifications offered during the event were a bit vague, the improvements were dramatically noticed in the gameplay footage shown for games like the upcoming Spider-Man, as well as, For Honor, and Horizon Zero Dawn. What was seen during these demos was an amazing clarity of picture and textures in the game, a perfect example of this was the moment where the camera zoomed in on the Spider-Man costume, and creases due to body positioning were seen, along with the actual textures of the suit itself. Yet, while the PS4 Pro will support 4K streaming, and gaming, it still will not support Blu-Ray disks, when it launches in November, a move that seems not quite fully thought out given the fact that currently the Xbox One S and the upcoming Scorpio console both do, and will. Where Sony did beat Microsoft to the punch, was the price tag, announcing that the PS4 Pro will be available November 10th, for 399 dollars, and fear not those who dread the inevitable day of data transferring, according to Mark Cerny, mechanisms are being put in place that will allow for easy transfer of players’ data.
Overall, even the most avid PS4 fan should be feeling slightly annoyed by this event, while there were a few bright spots, Andrew House’s detached attitude regarding the announcements, as well as Mark Cerny’s seeming lack of excitement regarding the announcements of the new console just made it seem as if Sony and the Playstation brand are really just phoning it in at this point in a knee jerk reaction to Microsoft’s massive push to correct how the Xbox One is seen in the gaming community as well as the Xbox One’s improved sales, add to that a definite lack of technical data regarding the Pro, and Sony’s apparent complete lack of understanding when it comes to storage needs did nothing to help energize the event. The few bright spots, The Amazingly Detailed Spider-Man, the beauty of Horizon Zero Dawn and the absolute tease that was the Mass Effect Andromeda game play (apparently BioWare is holding that card close to their chest until N7 day, so…stay tuned) as well as the many other snippets of gameplay from upcoming Playstation titles where amazing to behold and offered a nice glimpse of what we can expect on the road ahead, they simply weren’t enough to make up for lackluster introductions, and general “just going through the motions” I got from watching the event, but that’s only my opinion, you can check out the video below to form yours.
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Until next time
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