Some Peripheral thoughts on PlayStation 4

I’m not gonna recap last night’s PlayStation Meeting in total but I did want to chime in on a couple of things. They didn’t show it for long at the meeting but take a look at that terribly unfortunate peeping Tom face that will be staring us all down from atop (or beneath, upskirts!) our TVs. That’s the new PlayStation Eye which is no longer mono-occular and sounds very much Kinect-ish. It’ll track depth, it’ll be able to crop you out of games and sign you in by leering at your face. Unlike the camera peripherals before it this one has a contemporary resolution of 1280×800 in each lens so hopefully we’ll look a little more natural when cropped out next to a 1080p EyePet. It’s hard to tell the scale in the images but it looks to be pretty compact and swivels up and down to adjust to the room. Oh, it’s also got FOUR microphones but I’m not expecting anything amazing from the sound.

The Share button on the Dual Shock 4 controller got most of the headlines and rightfully so. A quick press will let you shore up the last ten minutes of gameplay and ship it off to Twitch.tv or other media sharing services. That’s awesome but it takes the place of the Select button so where did — oh my god they got rid of Start and Select!! There was a super brief mention that Start and Select had been rolled up under the Options button during the meeting. I really hope that the button automatically pauses the game and it’s not left up to each individual developer. I need a reliable way to pause that’s no more than one button press away!

This also leads to questions about backward compatibility. Every PlayStation has had both buttons and the Select button has frequently been used to toggle stuff in-game. Will it default to a tap of the touchpad? A tap of the Options button? Sony’s done a decent job of giving us options for playing old games on the PS3 and Vita but it still sprang to mind as a potential issue.

Speaking of backward compatibility, Dave Perry made it sound like Gaikai-powered streaming of legacy PlayStation titles was super early. He sounded very excited to announce that after all this time Sony had finally “greenlit” them to go ahead working on the functionality. Not greenlit it to be a Day One feature, just to get started figuring it out. It makes me wonder if Sony will wind up pulling a Wii U, touting a ton of features that aren’t there out of the box and are slowly turned on over the ensuing months or maybe even years. They put on an impressive show but I hate to think of the backlash they’ll get if people start expecting all of what they promised on Day One.

That’s enough for now. I may post again as I start pouring over assets and press releases if anything interesting comes up.

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