February 20, 2013
PlayStation 4 v Xbox 720: insiders discuss the future of consoles
Well, that was interesting. On Saturday, I wrote an article about the challenges facing Sony and Microsoft's next generation of consoles. I put forward the hypothesis that there's a growing demographic of gamers who don't care about the quality offered by dedicated machines – they just love the convenience of their smartphones and tablets. I wondered how such an indifference could be combated.
To explore this perspective I spoke to Oscar Clark and Will Luton, two games industry veterans from the social, mobile and smartphone side of the industry. Their comments provoked a strong reaction from readers, with a lot of very negative comments. The vision of the future that Clark offered – one in which specialist consoles become a fifth wheel in the whole smart TV/tablet/phone ecosystem – was not universally popular.
So, to get some different angles, I spoke to several other pundits and developers about the future of games and the role consoles will have. Here's what they had to say.
With Sony's next-gen console, it's now as easy to watch your friends game as play yourself - but it's been a long road getting here.
This week at a press event in New York, Sony revealed the Playstation 4 to the world. Or at least, what the PS4 is capable of: we got to peek at the new DualShock 4 controller, plenty of new games for it and even a Kinect-style motion sensing camera add-on - but not a single glimpse of the console itself.
What it looks like is anyone's guess, but one thing's for sure: it's a powerhouse of a machine. Its tech specs are much like a top-end gaming PC rigs - on steroids. It can boot instantly into paused games, it can even play 4K video with pictures four times as sharp as the full HD Blu-rays on your shelf.
Based on the praise heaped on Sony by the developers who took the stage to show off their new wares, it's clear we're going to see some stunning PS4 games very soon that'll make Nintendo Wii U titles look like Fischer-Price toys.
Yet what makes the Sony PlayStation 4 stand out isn't the new hardware. Seven years on from the launch of the PS3, that's the least you'd expect from one of the world's biggest tech companies: it's the tiny little Share button on the PS4 controller.
Tap it while you're playing, and it something magic happens: you can rewind what you just played. Your PS4's been working like Sky+ box for your games, recording what you play so you can find and edit, then save an incredible goal or kill spree you just pulled off - and then upload it to the net for other gamers to see on YouTube.