Ever think to yourself, "I wonder what other video game enthusiasts think about this topic. Sure, I'd love to visit a forum but they're scary and all my friends talk about is Call of Duty and Plants vs. Zombies"? Well, our new feature, Riposte, is just for you. Here we'll post our reactions to the biggest news stories and events just for you. And you too. Today, we're talking about the launch of Sony's latest console, the Playstation 4.
John Kasiborski - No Killer Apps
I love the speed and the overall feel of the console. I like the controller, although I am not too crazy about the location of the Share and Options buttons. I hope that the games on the PS4 will make good use of the touch pad, because if they don’t, it wasn’t worth moving those buttons. I like the weight and the grip, but the battery life is too short for my taste. I wonder if it is possible that a firmware update will come out some day that lets you turn off the light to extend the battery life. It otherwise seems like a wasteful gimmick.
I am pretty much indifferent to the UI, as I plan to spend the majority of my time just playing games on it. With that said, I love how quick and easy it is to switch between tasks. The companion app for mobile devices is slick too and I am looking forward to seeing how it is used.
The launch lineup is pretty disappointing, even as launch lineups go. There isn’t even an exclusive on par with Wii Sports, Resistance or Condemned: Criminal Origins. The best exclusive is -- Resogun? Nothing that makes the console worth buying if you have a decent PC.
Allen Kesinger - Sharing Frustrations
I’ve been pretty happy with my PlayStation 4. As others have mentioned, the console is noticeably faster when opening apps and games. The best example of this is the PlayStation Store. What once was a laggy and slow loading experience is now quicker and responds better. From a UI aspect, its the same as the store design on the PlayStation 3 which is fine because its functional.
I’m really happy with the console’s ability to share gaming experiences. I’ve been wanting to jump on the streaming gameplay bandwagon but time and money have prevented me from pick up the components I need to do so. With the PlayStation 4, all you need to stream gameplay to Twitch or Ustream is included in the box. The quality is a little suspect and I’ve noticed a considerable three to five second lag between what I’m playing on the TV with what shows up on Twitch. Perhaps Twitch veterans can chime in and say whether or not this is normal. Being able to share screenshots and gameplay is also great for those many “Oh my god! Look what just happened!” moments.
While I love the sharing features, it does have a few elements that really hold it back. Right now, you can only share video and screenshots to Facebook, Twitter or both. Why can’t I send content to email? I wanted to send my dad a gameplay clip from Assassin’s Creed IV but because he doesn’t have Facebook, it turned into a “Hey Mom, show this to dad” situation. Or how about save video to YouTube? Currently, Twitch is not archiving PS4 video streams so anything you do won’t be saved for later viewing (though Twitch is in the process of fixing this), making YouTube a useful alternative.
Its difficult to be righteously harsh against the PlayStation 4’s UI and share capabilities right now because, chances are, a firmware update will offer changes and adjustments to make the experience different than it is now. But then again, they might not. The important thing is that right now in its current form, the PlayStation 4 is a functional device with a UI that is comfortable if not a little questionable. I’ve gotten so used to the PlayStation 3 XMB that if there were an option to revert the current interface to the older one, I’d probably do that.
Adam Schedler - It's all About the Long-Term
In a lot of ways, buying a PS4 now is buying potential. Its typically tame launch lineup has a few bright spots, though a lot of the good stuff is available and looks just as good on a high-end PC. To the many who don't possess a performance gaming rig – like me! – the PS4 packs in a lot of raw processing power for a great price. While much of that power is yet untapped, third-party offerings like Call of Duty: Ghosts and Need for Speed Rivals look and run terrifically on Sony's new console at launch.
The fact that my PS4 has already taken the place of its predecessor with confidence says a lot for the smooth launch experience I've had at my house. The UI is extremely readable, and it's also very fast. Longtime PS3 users will double take the first time they see the Store or Netflix app load up in two seconds flat. Download and streaming speeds are also markedly improved. And that controller. Once you get your mitts on it, there is no return. Using my PS3 pads for PC gaming is now merely the Happy Meal toy version of the stupendous DualShock 4.
The sharing features are my biggest issue with the PS4. Pressing the Share button lets you send screenshots, video clips and live streams out into the world any time. Very cool, but this functionality relies completely on outsides services, and the options are limited. Screenshots can only be sent to Facebook or Twitter, while video clips can only be uploaded to Facebook. If you don't want to bloat your social media feeds with your PS4 shares – and you probably don't! – there's not much to do other than create secondary accounts to handle the uploads. Being able to sync with private services like Dropbox would make things easier for content creators everywhere – and less obnoxious for their followers. Live streaming works great, which is a major plus.
I really like my PS4 already, and something tells me that I'll love it a few exclusives and firmware updates from now.
Joel Szerlip - Risky Business
Is it wrong to say the Playstation 4 is both safe and risky at the same time? In a lot of ways Sony is betting a lot on the needs of gamers today and not of the future. But betting on that might have been even more risky than trying to guess as to the future of video games. Much of what you get out of the box on a Playstation 4 today is what you can get on both the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360. There are apps (not as many as the current platforms), there is a slightly improved trophy system, and there are a bunch of games that you can also buy on the consoles currently in your living room.
Then why am I so in love with the Playstation 4? To start with the Dual Shock 4 is an incredible input device. Although it may look on its face value similar to the Dual Shock 3, the weight and feel of the Dual Shock 4 is unparalleled. Second the XMB (which was nearly unusable on the Playstation 3) is slick, fast, and beautiful. Adding the real name for friends makes a user experience that is far more personal than before. And then we have the new share button that I believe will be a success for the platform. What a better way to get free marketing then out of the box supporting sharing functionality to instantly causes gamers around the world to shudder with envy. Not to mention its as easy as hitting the button and you're up streaming to your friends.
The Playstation 4 is an all around great device. but unless you're planning on streaming, take my word for it, the Playstation Camera is a joke. The launch lineup is solid but outside of third party titles, the first party games did nothing for me. Overall I’m impressed with the launch but worried 3-4 years down the road the conservative approach to the console might have been a risk not worth taking. Sony will have to now innovate behind the scenes to continue making this console feel fresh during its 7-10 year life cycle.
Well, those are our thoughts on the matter. What do you think? Has Sony hit the nail on the head with their latest console or does the PS4 leave you wanting more? Tell us in the comments below.
Jonathan is the host of the DarkCast, DarkCast Interviews, and Gamers Read. He loves books, video games, and superheroes. If he had to pick favorites, they would be Welcome to the Monkey House, Mass Effect, and Superman respectively.