Now that the excitement has died down, I thought it would be good to talk about some of the critical aspects of Sony's announcement of the PlayStation 4 event that many may have missed.
Developers: I was pleasantly surprised to see that Sony's priorities include making sure the PS4 is easy to develop games. The PS3 was notoriously bad in this aspect, and it sidelined the system early on. It took developers a long time to figure out how to deal with the PS3's limited amount of memory, and as a result the system lacked games in its early life. It looks like Sony isn't going to repeat this mistake with its new PS4, as the juggernaut is packed with some extremely impressive PC hardware, and most importantly, 8GB of unified memory. That's a huge step in the right direction.
System: The PS4 looks to sport some fascinating new features, and only time will tell if they are implemented successfully. The move to a real-name online profile for gamers excites me, as I actually know all the people in my friends list in real life. Hopefully, they can create some smart parental control features to avoid some obvious pitfalls. Sony's move to create a new dashboard at the core of the PS4 is a good one, because while the cross-media bar of the PS3 has always worked great, it looks about as plain as you can get. The most interesting feature announced was the controller's share button, which will allow players to share videos of current gameplay, watch their friends play games, and more.
Controller: While this is absolutely going to be a matter of debate among gamers, I love the look of the new controller. The Dualshock 4 retains what I love about the Dualshock 3, while smoothing out the edges and finally adding some improved triggers. I'm enthusiastic about the implementation of the touchpad and the aforementioned share button, as well, but I'm even more impressed with the fact they've been tacked on to the classic controller design without hindering gameplay. Sony also has basically integrated a Playstation Move into the new controller that is tracked by an upgraded Playstation Eye camera. These features offer some interesting possibilities for developers, but only time will tell if they will be implemented successfully.
Games: Even though Sony showed off an impressive line-up of next-gen titles, I couldn't help but be a little disappointed that there wasn't a show-stealer. Everyone expected a new Killzone, and while the game looks amazing, it doesn't look like it will try anything new. Driveclub, a new racing simulator, is a hard sell, in my opinion. The racing genre has been in a bit of a slump for the past few years, and I think it will take something amazing to kickstart a new game. “Infamous: Second Son” is probably the biggest hit among Sony's first-party titles, as the series has been met with critical and commercial success on the PS3. Where Sony did impress me was with its seemingly extensive third-party support. The next-gen powerhouse Watchdogs coming to PS4 before any other system is huge, and Bungie's “Destiny” showing up and promising exclusive content is a boon.
While it's impossible not to notice that Sony held back some information last night, they did clarify some interesting things after the event. The system will in fact have a Blu-ray drive, and will not rely solely on digital delivery of content. Thankfully, the system also will allow used games, which has been a common fear among prospective next-gen console adopters. As far as pricing and a look at the actual system itself though, it looks like we'll have to wait until E3 in June.