If you are unlike me and have a loose $500 that is burning a hole in your pocket, the PS4 comes out today. Like the corporate battle we bore witness to at E3, Sony has decided to pull “ahead” of the Xbox one (or as I’ve lovingly started saying, the “Xbone”…ALL HAIL THE PC MASTER RACE!). Well, by pull ahead, I mean the PS4 releases today (11/15/13) and the Xbox One, well, doesn’t come out till the 22nd.
So the battle is on. New gen vs new gen in November. A little early for the holiday rush, but still probably going to be the top of Santa wish lists for this year and next. But the writhing masses of gamers, frothing at the mouth for the next tidbits of tech, are not going to wait till end December to get their heroin like fixes. Oh no, they want next gen and they WANT IT NOW!
All across the country, stores like Gamestop, Walmart, Best Buy, and other major gaming retailers have been hosting “midnight releases” of the PS4 console, which I… well… kind of find a little odd. Usually because, a midnight release is reserved for things that are of digital content and that have a high chance of being used the moment you get home (or in non-video game terms, the moment you get into the theater). For a console, however, especially a brand spanking new console, it is a little awkward.
A console is a quite different monster than a game. However, due to rushed deadlines, inadequate beta and stress testing of software and servers, the lines between software issues and hardware issues is getting closer and closer together. On the whole, software has a higher chance to work straight out of the box than a console does. Not only that but Sony, especially with the PS2 and PS3, are known for a rather rocky first months as issues run rampant at launch and system updates. And it turns out, the PS4 is no different.
Now there will be hardware and software issues that are bumpy along the way. But so far, tonight is somewhat quiet. Either new owners of shiny PS4 units are happily chugging along with the new launch titles, OR they are setting the PS4 on the latest software update that’ll be done… well… really in the next couple of weeks/months/years (example: PS3).
This isn’t to say the Xbox One won’t have its projected problems as well. The Xbox 360 launch was less than ideal. In fact, the Xbox 360 arguably had one of the longest worst launches ever, as the hardware issues prevailed through several generations of the Xbox 360 (of which there are many) and became known as the infamous RED RING OF DEATH. With any luck, they will have learned their lesson with the Xbox One, but who knows? Chances are, it’ll be another rocky console launch with an over hyped launch “party” where you wait in line for nine hours and get a $600 plastic VCR shaped brick.
People are already starting to discuss the problems with their PS4 units in forums. Many issues are arriving from suspected hard drive memory leaks, HDMI ports being all wonky and not working, software updates borking the system, everything that you expect with new hardware being jammed into the hands of many customers. For other customers, they are enjoying a very nice experience of all the bounty that launch titles have to offer.
One issue that I am bemused by, is that the controller with the PS4 seems to have a strange flaw. Or rather, a feature that has some unwanted side-effects. The new PS4 6-axis controller has a rather bright LED light bar on the back of it. In theory, the light bar on the back is supposed to give responses to the players depending on the game or battery. It is supposed to help the console recognize motion better and allows developers to add the light into the game’s UI to display things like in game health bars and junk. As it turns out, you can not switch the light bar off, nor can you turn down the intensity… The problem: gaming in low-light/darkness. The light bar is so bright, it has a tendency to cause glare in flat screen high definition TVs, a ritualistic taboo of night-time gaming. It seems to be a little bit of an oversight that bright lights pointed at the screen would be bad in the dark on a controller setting (my suggestion, use weak adhesive tape like masking or painter’s tape).
On the whole, however, this is a rather good thing. I see it like this: With PS4 launching this early before the holiday rush, maybe they might have time to hammer out quite a few bugs and issues before the massive technology consumer uptake in December. Plus, if PS4 can get a handle on the bugs and issues, they can have a leg up on the competition and make sure their games are smother and better in the long run.
Here is some happier articles:
Also from Kotaku: A Dallas Cowboy surprises midnight campers with PS4’s!
Your move Xbox One, Your move….