Sunday, 24 February 2013

BLOG -- A Gamer's... "Dilemma"

**This entry will be a little disjointed. Sorry if it's confusing in any way**

So this past Wednesday (Feb. 20), I tuned into Sony's Playstation Meeting, which talked about their new console, the PS4.

While there are some points I have concerns about (which I will mention at the end), overall, the PS4 and its capabilities seem sick and I'm excited about its launch. But... I'm also a little hesitant. Maybe I've just been in the dark, or maybe it's because I just bought a PS3 about 2 years ago, but the PS4's launch date (this holiday) seems too soon. I'm not ready to put down the PS3 controller and transition. That and other thoughts went through my mind as I watched the Playstation Meeting.

Well, I've been a gamer for many, many years -- let's say for over 20 years. During that time, I've amassed a considerable collection of games, some of which I've yet to experience (and they're for the older consoles / handhelds, like the PS1 and GBA). Knowing that the PS4 is coming out soon, I'm just thinking, Another console? I'm going to have more backlog of games, and more consoles to hold onto while I go through the rest of my collection. I know not every gamer experiences this. Some wouldn't consider this an issue, even if they're as backlogged as me. For me, my room is running out of space. And until I go through at least 90% of my collection, I kinda feel like I'm "behind".

Also, being a gamer for many years, I've come to wonder, What kind of new games would I want to experience? These days, I've been finding myself with less and less free time. Unless the story or gameplay grabs me, I can't afford to spend hours on just one game -- not when I have so many games left to play. Also, would I want a new gaming experience? Or more of the same? By now, I can say something along the lines of "been there, done that" to many games. I mean, I have played many different sorts -- RPGs, side-scrolling, text-based, rhythm, shooters, FPS, even wrestling. I guess what I'm really trying to say is: I'm aware that my gaming criteria are getting more picky. There are some things that I know I don't want to experience (tedious grinding, unappealing storylines, unnecessary time-sucks, etc.). So what would I want to play on the PS4? Or on any next-gen console, for that matter.

I know these "dilemmas" won't stop me from gaming. It also won't stop me from eventually owning whichever next-gen consoles that I want. But... it makes me think. Maybe... just maybe: gaming won't be such a big thing for me in the future. Thinking about that scares me a little, hahaha.

Okay, I'm done talking about my "dilemmas". Now to move to my concerns regarding the Playstation Meeting.

Mark Cerny said this when talking about the PS4 personalizing the gamer experience:

But, as this system learns your likes and dislikes, we can take this a step further: you'll discover content pre-loaded and ready to go on your console by your favourite creator or in your favourite genre. Our long-term vision is to reduce download times of additional titles to zero. If we know enough about you to predict the next game you'll purchase, then that game can be loaded and ready to go before you even click the "buy" button.

So... the last sentence kinda creeps me out. How would that work? How could the PS4 purchase a game before me giving confirmation that it's what I want to buy? Credit card pre-authorization? What if I don't like the purchase? I think there needs to be more detail for that. I don't mind the PS4 selecting and downloading free content while I'm not around (given that I have a decent amount of monthly bandwidth). I'd be very curious if it could predict the next games I'll like, but having something / someone else buy my games for me? NO. One joy of shopping is knowing that you're the one clicking that "buy" button. :)


David Perry said this when talking about cloud gaming:

With Gaikai Cloud technology, our goal is to make free exploration possible for virtually any Playstation 4 game in the Playstation store. So imagine you're in the store. You're checking out the latest titles and you see something that catches your eye. No problem. You can simply press the X button to hop in, and start playing the game. Now in the past, not all games were available, and the ones that were had to be kind of the lite version where they had been edited down so that they can be downloaded reasonably quickly. With Gaikai in the Playstation store, you'll be able to instantly experience anything that you want. I've always liked that concept of: try it for free, share it if you like it, and pay only for the games you fall in love with.

I have doubts with this. Actually, it makes me worried about PS4's future. I understand that the more who are aware of a game, the better chance of it being bought. It should also remove gaming piracy for PS4 (and eventually PS3, PS2, PS1 games). But... the revenue might not make up for the service. For this service to sustain, I'm expecting some kind of advertising before you can start up the game, or maybe even a low monthly subscription. It would be great if this service sustains. It just sounds too good to be true right now.

Unfortunately, one thing that I really need to know wasn't addressed in the Playstation Meeting: will it be region-free? Hahaha, that might be the ultimate deal-breaker for me. And if there's a game I really, really want that's on it.

Thanks for reading! As always, feel free to comment :)

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