For the past few console generations, I’ve been the guy on the sidelines cheering on the current-generation hardware as it continues to push out new games. Not only have I wanted to see developers become comfortable with the technology and produce the best products possible, but I also had no desire to drop my hard-earned cash on a new box, controller and set of launch games.
Has it been more about frugality than studios mastering the tech? Probably. Spending money isn’t all that fun, but there are always new heights developers can reach on a system. Right?
After seven years with the PlayStation 3, I still think we’re yet to see what the thing is truly capable of. But you know what? I’m glad we’re moving forward. To take it one step further – I’m ecstatic. Not because I expect to see a swath of genres and game mechanics at launch never thought possible on the ol’ PlayStation Triple. In all honestly, we’ll probably get our fair share of iron sights and killstreaks when Sony’s ready to sell you its latest toy this fall.
I’m excited for the PlayStation 4 because it’s stirred up an industry slowly growing stagnant. It’s sparked renewed interest in fans, press and the public at large. Sony’s PlayStation meeting did more than just begin a new generation of consoles – it got this whole damn industry excited about video games again.
Our love of interactive entertainment is not yet lost, but the sentiments of doom and gloom have been draining. Reports of the next console cycle being the last and forecasts of mobile games overtaking the core experiences are easy to ignore in moderation, but the torrential downpour of cynicism we’ve experienced isn’t as effortlessly wiped away.
It’s quite a bit to take in, and after being pelted with negativity for so long, it’s hard for some of it not to seep through our cranial cracks. Maybe creativity isn’t rewarded. Maybe games that iterate rather than innovate, like Call of Duty and Assassin’s Creed, are the only viable option in an industry that’s on a steady decline due to a faltering economy.
Then, like an answer to a strange, nerdy prayer, Sony unveiled the PlayStation 4. And, at least for this past week, all has felt right with the world. Not because this mega-console can finally create photorealistic games, or because there was a single piece of software present unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. Instead, for the first time in years, the gaming community was excited again. Maybe not exactly as a collective. There were still stragglers cursing the product’s existence. But a restored sense of enthusiasm was tangible – if not for what was shown, then what’s possible in the future.
There are still an infinite amount of ideas not yet implemented on the PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360, but it’s become painfully obvious that a new spark of creativity is in need. We can spend all day arguing that more horsepower isn’t the source of novel ideas, but the refreshing optimism that began to permeate our thick cloud pessimism the moment the meeting was even announced is difficult to deny.
I don’t think Killzone: Shadow Fall is going to blow us all away with its gameplay innovations. I also don’t think we’ll know what the PlayStation 4 is truly capable of until months after launch. However, I’m excited. And I’m excited that you’re excited. Many of the judgments floating around concerning the current state of the industry are warranted, but it’s time to turn a corner. Innumerable innovations were born on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, and there’s no reason why entirely new genres can’t debut on the PlayStation 4.
Games are a business, but they’re also my primary source of entertainment. There’s always the possibility that I’ll be disappointed down the road, but for now, I’m chomping at the bit to see what the next generation will both look and play like.
Have you seen a change in the industry’s attitude since the announcement of the PlayStation 4? What most excites you about the console? Let us know by leaving a comment below!