5 Things We Learned From The PlayStation Meeting

Playstation 4

The Future of Gaming and a Lukewarm Response to Microsoft’s Competitors…

Last night saw Sony finally lift the curtain on their next generation PlayStation console and – while a number of questions were answered – fresh speculation has arisen alongside some exciting new features, services and games. Here are some of the things that we learned and what we think they mean for the next Xbox…

1. Microsoft need a quality cloud-gaming offering

When Sony acquired the popular cloud-gaming service, Gaikai, it was clear that the service would play a key-role in their next-gen plans. Last night we saw a glimpse of exactly what this means for PlayStation 4, and it seems like Sony are finally tailoring the experience to their core audience rather than pandering to the casual market. Playing a game while it’s downloading? Taking your games with you on any device? This is exactly what gamers have been asking for and Sony were listening.

It is now crucial that Microsoft have a console that is equally focussed on a cloud experience and provides some similar or equally compelling functionality. Thankfully, due to Microsoft’s background in technology and the internet, it’s almost certain that this will be a big talking point of their own console announcement and their inevitable E3 demonstration.

2. Sony are desperate to make up lost ground

A revamped Xbox 360 inspired dashboard? Remote play on the Vita? A camera (the PlayStation 4 Eye) that shares more than a passing resemblance to Microsoft’s Kinect? All of this seems like an attempt to cover all bases from a company that simply can’t afford to fall behind in the next console war.

Sure, they provided some really unique and compelling features of their own, but their hopes seem pinned on adding to the PlayStation faithful by negating the selling points of their competitors. Want a Kinect? Well we have that AND Uncharted. Want to play your games from the comfort of your bed? We can do that too!

3. Microsoft’s partnership with Facebook is probably not just skin-deep

It’s no secret that Microsoft and Facebook currently have a pretty close relationship, formed partially from a shared agenda against Google. With a lot of Sony’s announcement focussing on social and sharing, even down to including a dedicated ‘share’ button on the DualShock 4 controller, it’s likely that Microsoft have been leveraging their relationship with Facebook to create something for the 720 that is an equally stellar offering for those wishing to make their gaming a more social experience.

4. The best is yet to come

It’s safe to say that some of the games demoed last night were not the console-shifting AAA titles that gamers have been clamouring for. Knack was almost an embarrassing start, not from the an actual gameplay perspective, but from the fact that they had just hyped up the quality and power of their chosen components, only to use a cartoon to give us our first impressions.

In contrast, Killzone: Shadow Fall’s visuals were impressive, but it’s not a franchise or experience that will have potential buyers salivating come launch. With E3 coming up, it’s safe to say that the biggest draws are multi-platform titles that are being kept under lock and key until the Xbox 720 is unveiled and gaming’s goliaths all convene at the Los Angeles Convention Centre this June.

5. The stage is set for Microsoft

While the future of PlayStation looks promising, nothing from last night’s meeting even remotely resembled the kind of earth shattering statement that would set social networks a light and keep the media buzzed for a considerable amount of time. Sure, gaming communities will discuss each point in depth, but the majority of people weren’t even aware that a PlayStation event was taking place last night.

The stage is set. With both competitors now a known quantity, Microsoft can react accordingly, if they can provide one announcement that shakes the video game industry to its core, then the spotlight will be firmly on them. How can they do this? Move the Xbox experience into the cloud, build on the incredible Xbox Live service, announce some triple AAA titles attached to established IPs, and maybe – just maybe – provide at least one unconventional gaming experience that offers more than just combat mechanics and fetch quests.

I wrote this for Pure Xbox. I’m crossposting it here for my archive.

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