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Monday, September 20, 2021

The Aggie Arcade

There are no notable video game releases for the end of February and the week in news amounts to a series of small-ticket items that could best be summarized in bullet point form. So for today’s edition of The Aggie Arcade, I’ll take time to address Sony’s recent PlayStation 4 reveal.

It’s hard to imagine that I was in middle school the last time Sony announced a new console, and yet I had the same boyish excitement last Wednesday when the company held its PS4 conference. The cynics and optimists both voiced their differing opinions in the wake of the event, but I think we can all agree that there’s something thrilling about welcoming in a new generation of video games.

From what I can tell, the overall reaction to Sony and the PS4 has been largely positive so far. The company did a wonderful job of championing its new streaming technology following the $380 million acquisition of cloud-based gaming company Gaikai. I’ll admit some of it amounted to pie-in-the-sky ideas — specifically the plan to stream all PS1, PS2 and PS3 games on the system at some point in the future — but I still found myself intrigued by much of it.

The “share” button on the PS4 controller in particular holds potential. With just the click of a button, players can begin a process to upload short videos of game play that happened in the last 10 minutes or so. PS4 owners will also be able to stream game sessions to others with the help of Ustream. I often scoff at companies’ efforts to haphazardly integrate social aspects and broaden the video game audience, but I’m genuinely interested in streaming games to friends and uploading my latest triumph right from the system.

But the PS4 is a video game console first and foremost, and Sony had no shortage of games on display during last week’s event. Among the titles shown were Killzone 4, Watch Dogs and Destiny, the first Bungie game to appear on a Sony platform in over a decade. None of them had the wow factor I look for in a system seller, but Sony has to save something for E3 and the sheer number of games shown helped alleviate that concern.

Sony announced a “Holiday 2013” release window for the console, though no specific date was given. The biggest detail left out of the event was the price, which will reportedly fall within the $450 to $550 range. Let’s not forget that Sony launched the PS3 at the ridiculous price of $599, so hopefully the company has learned from that mistake. The console itself was also absent from the event, but my best guess is that it’s some kind of large rectangle … I know, I’m really going out on a limb with that one.

It looks like the ball is in Microsoft’s court at this point. Rumor has it the company is planning some kind of reveal in April, which would make sense given the general success of Sony’s announcement. Microsoft probably wants to respond sooner rather than later, and it should be interesting to see what features its next console will have.

ANTHONY LABELLA can be reached at arts@theaggie.org.

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