In the last week or so we've seen a ton of new information about the PlayStation 4. Without a better grasp of what Microsoft is up to—to say nothing of alternative consoles like Ouya and the Steam Box—we can’t say much about how the PS4 will measure up to the competition. But here are seven good reasons to think that Sony will win this generation.
Plenty of Power
This is no surprise, given that the PS3 is the most powerful console of the current generation. But the PS4's hardware is quite nice: The thing has 8 GB of RAM, to choose just one specification. The PS3 had a somewhat weird architecture, making up for its low RAM (512 MB!) with a powerful processor. The PS4 will just be strong all the way around. Those of us who were a little disappointed with the Wii U's weak specs can take comfort in the fact that Sony hasn't forgotten us.
No requirement to Always Be Connected to the Internet
There are rumors that Microsoft's next console will require a constant Internet connection and tie each copy of a game to a single console. Sony has confirmed that it will not require an Internet connection or fight a war against used games. This could be a major advantage for Sony when it comes to hardware sales, even if used sales do cut into developers' profits. At the very least, Microsoft will have to offer some deep discounts on older titles if it wants to stay competitive.
A Nice Lineup
All three major console companies have their share of great exclusive franchises: Microsoft has Halo and Gears of War; Nintendo has Mario, Zelda, and Metroid. And they all have access to top-notch multiplatform releases. But the games announced for the PS4 are looking pretty good: There will be new inFAMOUS and Killzone games, as well as appearance from Jonathan Blow's The Witness and Diablo 3. And it goes without saying that we'll eventually see LittleBigPlanet and God of War games.
Full Access to Content from Previous Generations
Okay, I'm not really thrilled about the fact that the PS4 will apparently lack direct backward compatibility. But it's promising that gamers will be able to stream PSOne, PS2, and PS3 games via the Internet. Indeed, there's a plan to put all the games online. Those of us who don't own the previous consoles will have access to a huge library of titles.
Great Compatibility with the Vita
The Vita might not be all it was hyped up to be, but it is a nice piece of hardware, and Sony is going out of its way to make the Vita and the PS4 work well together. The ability to play PS4 games remotely on your Vita will be great when your parent, sibling, or significant other is hogging the TV. And presumably Sony will continue its "Cross Play" program with the PS4, giving players a free Vita copy of downloadable games they buy on the PS4.
A Time-Tested yet Innovative Controller
Two generations ago, game companies basically nailed the modern controller: two joysticks, a D-pad, some face buttons, two triggers. Even with the advent of motion controls, most gamers still like this setup for most purposes. The PS4 controller pretty much nails it: The overall configuration is the same as the one we've learned to love, but the controller also includes a handful of extra features, including a touchpad and motion sensing. It's everything we need, along with some gimmicks for developers to play with.
Doing Social Networking Right
Sony certainly doesn't want to alienate gamers who like being left alone—see No. 2 above—but the PS4 actually works as a social-networking hub. The controller's dedicated share button will help in this regard, and apparently users can stream their gameplay online without taking a hit to the CPU. As Cheat Code Central's Josh Engen points out, where the Wii U tries to bring people together in the same room, the PS4 will connect people online. And in the modern world, that’s a good niche to occupy.
Date: March 1, 2013