“Review: a critical article or report, as in a periodical, on a book, play, recital, or the like; critique; evaluation.”
At their press event held on Feb 20, Sony displayed their long and short-term vision of what they hope to accomplish with the PS4, and how that will impact the millions of gamers around the world who will take part in it. It’s a vision that gamers should embrace as it has the potential to take control from the gaming media and put real gamers at the forefront of the picture. Too many times we, the gamers, have been misrepresented by our peers who have the privilege to speak out and critic games on our behalf.
Confidence and trust in today’s gaming press is arguably at an all time low. With major websites in the back pockets of major publishers, (we’re not going to point fingers and list suspects) and guarantees of high review scores for “first dibs” on big games, it’s not hard to see why gaming journalism as a whole has lost most of its integrity in the eyes of many along the way. The hot trend in reviews right now is high 9/10 and 10/10 scores for the first ones out, and 6`s and below for the later ones fishing for hits. Prior to all this, when the ‘console war’ between PlayStation and Xbox fans was at its peak, it was common practice to score the multi-platform games separately in order to create controversy and ignite flame wars. Game ‘A’ on Xbox 360 would get a score of 9.1 out of 10, while the same game ‘A’ would score an 8.9 out of 10 on the PS3 even though the human eye couldn’t tell a difference between the two versions. The excuse they would use to justify the discrepancy in the scores would go something like this: “game ‘A’ on the PS3 has slightly better colors, while the shadows on Xbox 360 are darker and if you zoom in on a still picture, you’ll find 6 more pixels on the frame.” Petty, right….?
In comes Sony and the PS4 to change the landscape. During the PS4 event, Sony announced what I believe will undoubtably take the power away from “baked” reviews, and give more power to the player. On the PlayStation 4, you will now be able to watch a live stream of your friends playing games, cool right? but the PS4 takes it a step further as you will also have the ability to jump into the game and play it, without needing to buy or have a copy of said game. At first thought one may think, yeah it’s a nice feature and all but nothing too fancy right? But this may effectively be the most potent form of word-of-mouth advertising to hit the gaming world. This is a step beyond “demos” of games, as it gives you the opportunity to try the final product first hand, and if you like it, it’s a button press away with Instant Gaming thanks to Sony’s Gaikai.
So what does this potentially mean for reviewers? It’s simple really; its common practice nowadays for reviews to unfairly bash a game,(certain exclusives anyone?) using all sorts of double standards, and the exact opposite scenario is just as prevalent. But being able watch and play the game first hand will cut through all the BS biases that we get from our current gaming media, after all “seeing is believing”. A lot will depend on the ecosystem that Sony will have to create in order to sustain a thriving community where real gamers will do the recommendation of games you might like and let you try them, as opposed to some reviewer with an agenda trying to convince you why this is the worst or best game ever made. Thus changing the power structure we currently see in play.
I hope that with the arrival of the PS4, we as gamers, will no longer have to rely on a crappy review of an RPG game like Ni No Kuni from a reviewer who’s never liked RPGs. Or having to sit back and watch so-called “reviewers” tell you which racer is more realistic when they can’t even keep their cars on the track for a single lap. I don’t know if this was Sony’s real intent with the PS4, as the PS3 did suffer heavily in the gaming media in its first few years, but they might have crafted a BS firewall with this new feature.
Maybe that line from inFamous: Second Son’s trailer might be aimed at the industry, when the protagonist took the camera and said: “You are NOT in control…”
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