Sony PlayStation 4 enters a whole new world
Published: Monday, February 25, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, February 22, 2013 at 6:39 p.m.
Has Angry Birds killed the video game star?
It’s one of the more intriguing technology questions being asked these days. How much of a dent have mobile devices and apps made in a once proud franchise? Will the love affair live on or will consoles soon end up in the same trash heap as desktop computers?
The answers should start pouring in soon.
After a seven-year hibernation, Sony announced its long-awaited PlayStation 4 game console last week. Likewise, Microsoft also should debut a follow-up to its wildly popular Xbox 360 by year’s end. Expect the elbows to be flying come the Christmas shopping season, just not as many as in years past.
Seven years in technology time is an eternity. Need proof? Close your eyes and think back to the names Sony and Microsoft back in 2005. They shared the tech crowns in both software and hardware. Today they are far removed from the throne. In 2005, the iPhone was not even conceived yet and big-screen televisions were reserved for the aristocrats. Most would have laughed at the thought of owning a tablet and people still bought music on a disc. I just grew three gray hairs writing this.
If mobile has taught us anything, it’s that the power of portability trumps the ultimate power of bigger machines and more robust programming. Big-dollar software, including games, also are a fading memory. Sure, Halo and Fruit Ninja don’t deserve to be compared on merit until you mention that one costs $60 and the other is a buck.
No telling where the current console market would be without the third-party retailers that allow you to recoup some of that dough on trade-ins or catch a bargain on a pre-owned game. Rumors suggest that manufacturers are exploring ways to employ cloud-based technology that kills such used markets.
One also must look at where gamers have migrated in the past few years. Sure, there are millions of dedicated couch potatoes whose hands have actually mutated in growth around the traditional controllers. They will be the first in line for new systems. Regardless, most hardcore gamers have defected to the world of tricked out PCs and geeky online fantasy worlds. Consoles simply do not have the horsepower to satisfy the needs of this crowd. The casual user, people like me who were born and raised on Frogger, Pac-Man and Mario, are starting to feel a little awkward shopping among kids, and who, frankly, don’t have hours to spend in front of the television.
The truth is many of us have migrated from thumb-based controllers to the pinky-powered world of touch-screen gaming.
Need more proof? Nintendo shocked the world back in 2005 when they released the Wii. It was low-def in a high-def world but it came with a new style of interaction between player and game. It was a smash hit. Nintendo’s follow-up console, the Wii U, was released earlier this year and my guess is you probably haven’t even heard of it. Sales? Slow. Demand? Like I said, you probably haven’t heard of it. Not to say it won’t be a hit but winners rarely stumble out of the gate.
What’s in store for the new PlayStation? The evolution from PS3 to PS4 needs to reflect the huge shift in gaming today. More pixels just wont cut it.