11 Predictions for the PS4
Well folks, the new year is upon us, and for us here at Padinga, that means one thing… getting our Video Game P&P* License re-certified. (*Press and Punditry; and no, there really isn’t such a thing. It’s called satire.) So to prove ourselves as official Pundits At Large, I give you… Our Official Predictions for the Playstation 4. In 2012. Probably nearly two years before its release.
Balls, folks. We have them. Michael Pachter, eat your heart out.
Read up after the Break.
1. Blu-Ray Drive, Blu-Ray Discs
Sony can’t afford to not stay behind another one of its flagship products: the Blu-Ray format. In an effort to maintain solidarity across its financial pipelines, the PS4 will stick with the Blu-Ray format, and may become the platform of the next generation which finds itself requiring its players to switch discs for larger games. Having a Blu-Ray player in its game system not only reduces costs for disc printing, it drives further Blu-Ray adoption for another generation. That being said…
2. Every PS4 Game Will Also Be Downloadable
This is one step closer to doing away with hard media entirely, something that Sony surely wants to adopt in order to cut costs and piracy. However, it knows that the market is not quite ready for this concept as a mandate; while the percentage of internet-based gamers is high, it is not high enough for Sony’s liking. As games get larger, file transfer times get longer, so expect Sony to innovate with the ability to start playing a game WHILE it downloads.
3. Graphics Will Be On Par with PS3 Tech Demos
In true Sony fashion. The PS2 tech demos showed Toy Story-level graphics, which we never really got until the PS3. The PS3 tech demos showed a rendering of Alfred Molina you wouldn’t believe wasn’t real, but the actual games couldn’t deliver this level consistently. Only Heavy Rain really delivered anything near the level that was shown. However, it most certainly delivered on the Toy Story-level that the PS2 tech demos had on display. Lather, rinse, repeat.
4. Online Play Won’t Suck
That’s right, my friends; Sony knows it has hammered, wrenched, and otherwise screwed the pooch with online thus far, and the Vita’s largely-online presence indicates a focus in that direction. Expect dedicated servers with improved matchmaking, a more consolidated & persistent online presence, and SDK tools that make the whole username/online concept smoother than buttah.
5. Sony Continues to Push Home
Despite its existence as a ghost town on the Sony servers, the recent re-release/re-vamp of Home shows that Sony hasn’t given up hope on Home yet. It won’t necessarily be improved much, aside from the obligatory graphical overhaul, in order to be backwards compatible with the PS3 Home client. Expect cross-promotion galore in order to get it all sorts of facetime, and possibly even a mode which lets it hover persistently behind the XMB when no other programs are running, just so that it’s always there in your vision, showing you the tantalizing world of social interaction as if looking through rose-tinted glass.
6. The Move is All But Abandoned
Sony has all but conceded to the Kinect in terms of motion-gaming, as its holiday catalog has shown. Unless Sorcery and/or Medieval Moves: Deadmund’s Quest show some surprising success, the rest of the PS3′s Move Catalog looks to be third-party tack-ons with no real substance or contribution to the Move platform. Sony knows this, and knows that the Wii’s own waggle has lost its wag, so it will cut its losses here. Some sort of camera add-on will live on, replicating many of the features of the 360′s camera, such as webcam conferencing and taking pictures. Expect to also see some Kinect-like features, such as motion-tracking games, and possibly even technology as radical as eye-tracking.
7. Sony Will Copy Another System’s X-Factor in Some Fashion
Good ol’ Sony just wouldn’t be Sony if they didn’t replicate its competitors in some fashion. Expect the Vita to work with the PS4 to emulate the Wii U’s AR and TV-separation abilities, and if the next Xbox has some kind of unique successful feature, expect the sincerest form of flattery for that feature as well.
8. The SDK Will Be Usable and Comprehensive
Sony has learned a few lessons from this generation, not the least of which is humility. They are fully aware that their PS3 SDK platform has not exactly been conducive towards multi-platform releases and ports, especially during the early years of the console’s life. It cost them a large measure of early success, especially in terms of console-exclusives and cases where simultaneous console/PC releases were desired. In order to not come out of the starting gate stumbling, Sony will look to win support with developers by having an accessible and powerful set of developer tools that specifically target cross-platforming needs. On a personal note, I’m hoping for a set of physics engine tools that finally account fully for hair and clothing collision!
9. Linux Will Be Officially Released On the PS4, Only to Be Stripped Away Later
It’ll happen. Sony has a standard practice of releasing Linux on its consoles in Europe in order to meet requirements for tax breaks that target devices that can pass off as “home computers”. Later, once the console is not actually losing money on each piece of hardware sold, they’ll pull this support in order to mitigate piracy attempts. The online hacker community will be incensed yet again, same as it ever was.
10. Christmas 2013 or Later
I know that’s not what you want to hear, but it’s hard to indicate otherwise. With a no-show at E3 this year, the earliest we could possibly see this machine is at Tokyo Game Show 2012, and getting a console out in less than a year from its debut is all but impossible. Besides, Sony is in no rush; we’re only six years into the PS3 life cycle, and Sony has declared all along that it intends a 10-year life for the PS3. That’s not to say that the PS3 won’t co-exist along its decendant for a year or two, but it certainly doesn’t need to do more than that. The PS3 has been successful, and there is simply no need to rush it along. We’ll get the PS4 when Sony is damned well ready to give it.
11. The PS4 Will Be a Solid Machine with Large Japanese Support and Fantastic Games
Sony is a company that knows how to turn out a quality product, and though they have made some mistakes with the PS3, it’s still a well-done machine, and the PS4 will follow suit. If you had told industry leaders two decades ago that the last-place entry in home console sales can still be a profitible, successful, and enviable product, you would probably have been laughed at, but there it is. Anyone who assumes that “the PS4 will go down in flames” or “will cause the death of Sony” is a hater or a fanboy, or both. The fact is, the market can support three consoles, and it will continue to do so. No one can know whether Sony will continue to maintain third place, or climb the ranks towards greater success, but I do know this:
Gamers still win, no matter what. We will still get great games and a solid piece of hardware to play them on.