The Video Game Odyssey: The Next Generation for PlayStation

In Wednesday’s PlayStation event, Sony unveiled the PlayStation 4 at last. In addition, Sony also brought along a number of big-name developers to showcase some of the technical prowess of the new system as well as the creative potential it had to offer. Now I’ve only had a few hours to digest all the news, but I will offer my initial impressions of what most excited me about the new possibilities that the PS4 presents for gamers.

The redesigned Dualshock controller features a new ergonomic look as well as a new share button to record videos or take screencaps while in-game. There is even a headphone jack, “Light Screen,” touch pad and more. Screenshot by Preston Sotelo

The redesigned Dualshock controller features a new ergonomic look as well as a new share button to record videos or take screencaps while in-game. There is even a headphone jack, “Light Screen,” touch pad and more. Screenshot by Preston Sotelo

Of all the inspirational and uplifting rhetoric, one of the most important concepts that Sony continually hammered home in the early parts of its presentation was “social.” From the re-designed PSN features to the new and expanded level of social integration into the gaming experience, Sony is determined to impress upon gamers that there will be little or no delays or barriers to their enjoyment and access to the content they want. Sony also emphasized that gamers will be even more connected their network of friends on the PSN than ever before so that they will be never truly be alone whilst gaming on a PS4.

Your PSN profile can be connected to the social network of your preference, providing close friends with a more personal look at your profile while still insuring a level of anonymity against other PSN users. Screenshot by Preston Sotelo

Your PSN profile can be connected to the social network of your preference, providing close friends with a more personal look at your profile while still insuring a level of anonymity against other PSN users. Screenshot by Preston Sotelo

Lead System Architect Mark Cerny unveiled the new social network-like design of the PlayStation Network interface on the PS4. Numerous features such as easy creation and sharing of screenshots and video clips, and spectator modes that allow you to view and communicate in real-time with your PSN friends even while they are in-game, are both interesting new additions that further connect your friends. Cerny also discussed the new personalization features that will attempt to predict your gaming preferences so that you will only view ads or news on games or genres that you have demonstrated interest in.

The new PSN features will also keep you updated on your friend’s recent gaming exploits and you will be able to spectate and communicate with them while in-game. Screenshot by Preston Sotelo

The new PSN features will also keep you updated on your friend’s recent gaming exploits and you will be able to spectate and communicate with them while in-game. Screenshot by Preston Sotelo

However, these features are taken one step further as Gaikai CEO David Perry introduced an exciting vision of a worldwide gaming network that would utilize new cloud technology to provide remote play on the PSVita. Games like the newly unveiled title Knack will be able to seamlessly transfer over to PSVita with little or no loss of quality or responsiveness.

However, they also want to expand upon this concept to allow for various media services that people normally access on their gaming console now, such as viewing movies on Netflix or listening to music on Sony’s Music Unlimited, on their smartphones, tablets and portable gaming consoles that are connected to the PlayStation Network. But, most exciting of all was the potential for games reaching far back as PS1 to be compatible and playable on PS4 and PSVita thanks to the new network. There were more features hinted at, but Perry said that the new features would be introduced in future phases.

The new cloud technology allows for a number of devices, including your PSVita, tablet and smartphone to connect to the re-designed PSN network. Screenshot by Preston Sotelo

The new cloud technology allows for a number of devices, including your PSVita, tablet and smartphone to connect to the re-designed PSN network. Screenshot by Preston Sotelo

These new features that focus on building and expanding upon a vast, inter-connected network of gamers greatly excite me. They confirm some of my predictions on the innovations that the next-generation consoles will seek to provide as the rest of our world has become full of integrated social networks and the sharing of original content. The new features not only allow players to come together and share content easier, but also allow for you to grow closer to your group of real-life friends on the PSN and stay connected to the games that matter to you. This new form of networking seems to be a new standard we can expect from the next-generation of consoles with Wii U and now the PS4 providing access to a unique social network that is focused on providing games and other media services to players.

So then gamers, what excited you the most from Sony’s announcement? Are you pumped up to get a PS4 or are you waiting to see more?

 

What to get in touch and talk gaming? Contact the reporter at preston.sotelo@asu.edu or via Twitter at @p_sotelo