Thursday, 28 February 2013
PS4 - The new gaming console - Sony hides many things we should know.
A number of features and specs were announced, most notably the x86 architecture and the admittedly impressive “backseat gaming” streaming functionality. However, even though Sony’s new console will allow us to play a friend’s game (that we don’t own!) over the internet, the event was underwhelming for a handful of reasons.
Most glaringly, the PlayStation 4 coming out party didn’t include any visual representation of the PlayStation 4 — not one prototype, video, picture, or even render. The controller, dubbed the DualShock 4, was on-hand (pun intended), but the console wasn’t, reminding us of Nintendo’s Wii U announcement. Though Nintendo showed off what the actual console looked like, it didn’t release the specs of the box, perhaps inspiring Sony to have the idea not to show off its new console.
To be fair, we know the PS4′s specs, so it doesn’t technically matter what kind of black or white box the hardware is stuffed into. Still, a physical unit would be something we can fantasize putting in our media cabinets, and it’s a lot easier to get excited about something when it’s a tangible object rather than a set of numbers and ideas in a press release.
Aside from allowing your friends to play your games — even if they don’t own those said games — perhaps the most mind-blowing feature announced at the event is also the one most shrouded in mystery: automatic game downloads based on AI recommendations. The feature is mentioned in Sony’s own press release, but essentially glossed over. It’s unclear if the feature will be available right from release, or if it’s just a lofty fantasy Sony wouldn’t mind achieving one day. If the feature is indeed available upon release, the wording of the announcement makes it sound like Sony will have some Netflix-style recommendation system automatically downloading games for you, dumping them into a queue. Then, you can sift through the queue and decide to purchase the games without having to spend time downloading them.
As any Netflix subscriber will attest, though, recommendation engines are nowhere near accurate. If the PS4 automatically downloads Blu-ray-sized games, the HDD could fill up very quickly — not to mention our bandwidth could be tasked round the clock, all so an AI can be completely wrong about what games we care about. Various options for the user to set would most likely alleviate an issue of this type, such as setting a queue limit, but there’s simply not enough information to know how this system works. It could be amazing, doing all of the shopping for us, or devastating, wrecking our bandwidth and hard drive space in a matter of hours.