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PS4's Focus On "Social Features" Rather Than Improved Specs?

It's the teaser that's sweeping the gaming community, and evidence is pointing towards confirmation rather than contradiction.

Sony has teased February 20 as the day when we'll "see the future," and everyone is assuming that that's the time we'll see the PlayStation 4. The good news is that the Wall Street Journal supports that idea.

In fact, they're flat-out saying that Sony will indeed unveil the PS3's successor at the special press event on February 20. According to their sources, "people familiar with the matter have said the new device will make its debut there." Apparently, "social features and the user experience" will be key focal points of the new machine and although gamers are often interested in better specs, this machine will emphasize "changes in how users interact with the machine."

That may not be exactly what some want to hear. In fact, it may worry the hell out of a great many...

Tags: ps4, playstation 4, new playstation, orbis, sony

2/1/2013 11:06:29 AM Ben Dutka

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Comments (61 posts)

gumbi
Friday, February 01, 2013 @ 11:29:55 AM
Reply

Social features? ... eugh...

I know I'm a rare breed these days, but if I want social interaction in my video games, I invite a friend over and plug in a second controller.

Agree with this comment 25 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Highlander
Friday, February 01, 2013 @ 12:00:25 PM

Or possibly use a MMO, but you still want your console games to be console games - right? ;)

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Doppel
Saturday, February 02, 2013 @ 9:21:12 AM

I'm mostly the same. I don't give a crap about social networks (aside from Twitter and online forums). If any device I have has a social networking feature, put in a Mega-OFF switch that turns it all off.

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Highlander
Friday, February 01, 2013 @ 11:38:17 AM
Reply

'Social features', 'user experience', 'changes in how users interact with the machine'.

If that is the focus of the PS4, Sony might as well file chapter 11 now. Those are all peripheral issues that have nothing to do with the core business of gaming.

Home was their attempt to redefine user experience, social interaction and how gamers interact. That is not central to gaming, Home is a fun distraction sometimes, but that is really what it is about. PS4 can't simply be a commodity architecture running bespoke OS and an new social gaming experiences/interfaces. That's not a game console, it's a Facebook@Home console.

If all they do is throw up a x86 architecture system with heavy emphasis on social BS an 'user experience', it will be little more than rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Such a product would sink PlayStation.

Last edited by Highlander on 2/1/2013 11:41:10 AM

Agree with this comment 12 up, 5 down Disagree with this comment

Cesar_ser_4
Friday, February 01, 2013 @ 11:51:08 AM

Seems like Sony is catching Square-Enixitis doesn't it?

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Highlander
Friday, February 01, 2013 @ 11:57:40 AM

Definitely. THQ died because low quality, commodity, 'schlock' games with a heavy focus on kids, casual and social gaming was just a big money pit for them. Sony should learn from this. And absolutely the Betrayal of the core FF audience by SE in order to pursue a new audience really did not go well. Refocusing the PS brand on social/casual gaming is a monumental blunder - if that is what happens.

The optimist (who is still there, though he's almost in tears at this point) is trying to say that perhaps this is all about GaiKai and some kind of Future Home that leverages GaiKai, and is a PlayStation experience targeted at the social/casual gaming market; where the core Playstation gamer, and games are not abandoned, but rather this becomes a separate branch on the PlayStation tree. In which case, it may not be PS4 itself, but a new network service for PlayStation that looks to other types of gaming instead of the traditional console gaming.

That is my optimistic side. my realistic side is really, really worried about the future of gaming.

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Siris86
Friday, February 01, 2013 @ 1:59:23 PM

I think these statements would bring more cause for concern if Sony wasn't in possession of a number of the most talented studio's in operation. In keeping with the budding casual and socially integrated expansions in the market, Sony is tailoring their future services to appeal to these consumers. But if anyone has shown their commitment to not only core gamers but also developers and the medium itself, it's Sony.

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Highlander
Friday, February 01, 2013 @ 3:24:32 PM

Yes siris, but you know, that doesn't alter the realities of the business and market.

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maxpontiac
Friday, February 01, 2013 @ 6:32:01 PM

Highlander... I respect your technical knowledge but you seem to be over-reacting a bit, almost in a sky is falling sort of way.

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Excelsior1
Friday, February 01, 2013 @ 7:16:28 PM

I don't think Highlander is overreacting. Sony is in awful shape financially. If they make a serious mistep like they did with the PS3 you might as well kiss them goodbye.

Could it be that squandering away approximately 44% of their market share this generation has affected Sony in negative manner?

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Bonampak
Friday, February 01, 2013 @ 11:40:00 AM
Reply

At a recent investors meeting, the President of Nintendo mentioned that their competition (Sony and MS) were actually using a similar strategy as theirs. That of making a machine on the cheap. To keep production costs low and make a profit with every console sold.

And that such an approach, was being used due to the anemic condition of the current market place in the Western world. Where AAA games fail to sell as expected (RE6, DmC) and where new consoles (Wii U) and handhelds (3DS, Vita) have a hard time staying relevant.

So I wonder if there is any truth to what the Wall Street Journal is implying there.

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Highlander
Friday, February 01, 2013 @ 11:47:19 AM

Thinking about that picture you paint, it seems to me that you can either refocus on the core audience - an audience that is not going away. Or you can attempt to focus on and grasp the nebulous casual/social gamers and their free to play, freemium, something for nothing buying patterns. Honestly, focusing on the social/casual gaming sphere seems like an exercise in fast food gaming with wafer thin margins. Games may cost $5 or less, but you must sell 10 million or more to break even, stack 'em high, sell 'em low.

That's not gonna work for Sony. It doesn;t work for Sony in any area of their business. Trying to compete in the HDTV market that went into the stack 'em high, sell 'em low commodity stage killed Sony's TV business. Commodity PCs are hurting their PC business. Commodity cameras hurt their camera business. Sony is not a Chinese sweatshop operator, they can't compete in such low margin market segments. That is the lesson of 20-30 years of their Consumer electronics business.

If Sony starts to chase that horrible low cost low margin, high volume market segment in gaming, they are killing themselves in the long term. Someone needs to cut through the casual/social gaming BS and realize that core gamers actually pay for their games, and consoles, and they are the only ones who ever have. That is the market they should focus on.

Agree with this comment 8 up, 4 down Disagree with this comment

Cesar_ser_4
Friday, February 01, 2013 @ 11:55:46 AM

Those comments make it sound like Sony is prepping for that Apple purchase. Remember those rumors that Apple may buy Sony? Seems like its frighteningly starting to become true doesn't it?

Agree with this comment 1 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

Highlander
Friday, February 01, 2013 @ 11:59:44 AM

Even with Apple's cash mountain, I don't think they can afford Sony. Sony's bigger than you think. Then again, it would gain Apple so much technology and manufacturing capacity. I can see synergies there. Personally though, I really hate the idea. Then again, if you slap an Apple logo and rename PS Vita into iVita, you could pump up the price and double sales overnight thanks to the rabid Apple fanboys.

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Cesar_ser_4
Friday, February 01, 2013 @ 12:08:41 PM

Sony may be bigger, but I'll tell you one thing. If the ship starts sinking Mr. Hirai, Mr. House, and Mr. Tretton will not think twice before they sell the company to Apple. Maybe not the company as a whole, but the fruity company would benefit quite a bit from buying SCEA or maybe even SCEWW, with all their patents and technology. I mean sh*t man if Comcast was able to buy Universal and AT&T Tmobile.

Last edited by Cesar_ser_4 on 2/1/2013 12:11:52 PM

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Highlander
Friday, February 01, 2013 @ 12:19:32 PM

Not sure the Japanese board of Sony would approve such a sale - the Japanese government might have something to say as well.

Agree with this comment 6 up, 3 down Disagree with this comment

gumbi
Friday, February 01, 2013 @ 5:26:25 PM

iVita! Highlander, you kill me :P

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0_o
Friday, February 01, 2013 @ 11:46:18 AM
Reply

Well this sucks..i hate when i have to be signed to psn while playing offline just to earn XP in certain games..

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Clamedeus
Friday, February 01, 2013 @ 11:46:31 AM
Reply

I don't know what to think of this. :/

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Alejandro562
Friday, February 01, 2013 @ 12:00:51 PM
Reply

It's good to focus on both, ps3 lacked in this department compared to xbox live, that does not mean xbox live is superior.

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Knightzane
Friday, February 01, 2013 @ 12:02:01 PM
Reply

I just watched this illuminati video on youtube. So many comments saying "My eyes are open!" And how sony is a devil worshipping company. Well, im kind of burnt out on facepalming for today so im just going to say this: No.

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Lord carlos
Friday, February 01, 2013 @ 12:06:15 PM
Reply

I hope beyond hope that this is just a press conference showing off new Sony prototypes patents ie.cold/hot grip for move or dual shock 3 or a blue tooth power glove or something other than the nightmare described in the above article.
I've got a friends list on ps3 thats all i need,when i play video games i want to escape the real world...& not be bombarded with social interaction rubbish.
Release a social interactive console if you like thats compatible with PS3 games.....but JUST DON'T CALL IT PS4.

Agree with this comment 3 up, 2 down Disagree with this comment

wackazoa
Friday, February 01, 2013 @ 12:16:53 PM
Reply

YAY!!!! I can now tweet out that I just beat the boss of a level 52 dungeon! Then spam my friends facebook page asking them to find me some gems! Then youtube myself talking trash while I rescue the princess!

Then everyone will think I have no life/am now gonna go on a violent rampage. This just keeps getting better all the time.

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Highlander
Friday, February 01, 2013 @ 12:18:21 PM
Reply

Oh, wait, what about this thing that was reported recently.

'BigFest'

It's a trademark Sony registered in 2012 and published in January of this year.

Here's how BigFest is described;
The trademark describes a service that involves “hosting on-line web facilities for interactive game play; hosting web sites of others for video and computer games or parts of video and computer games created by others on a computer server for a global computer network.” It also mentions “introduction and social networking services, namely, introducing video game players to each other for the purposes of playing multiplayer games online, participating in online games communities and competitions, and online player networking and social introduction.”

Could it be?

Agree with this comment 3 up, 2 down Disagree with this comment

Lord carlos
Friday, February 01, 2013 @ 12:25:10 PM

God i hope its just another feature for ps3!!
Ps4 needs to be a beast.

Agree with this comment 3 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

MyWorstNightmar
Friday, February 01, 2013 @ 4:02:43 PM

Man, I hope so. Whatever happened to Sony being content with waiting until Microsoft announced so they could make sure their system was superior in specs?

PS3 is king right now. Enjoy that and concentrate on Vita for Gods sake.

Agree with this comment 4 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Geobaldi
Friday, February 01, 2013 @ 12:19:32 PM
Reply

Doesn't really surprise me if it is true. Kinda been having the feeling that something like that would happen eventually in some capacity or another.

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jugheadjones
Friday, February 01, 2013 @ 12:41:58 PM
Reply

PS4 social gaming? The WiiU suddenly seems prettier to me.

Agree with this comment 4 up, 2 down Disagree with this comment

infamousgodV2_0
Friday, February 01, 2013 @ 12:58:51 PM

Wii-U or the next 360.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 8 down Disagree with this comment

wiley_kyotee
Friday, February 01, 2013 @ 6:01:42 PM

Rapture, do you mean the KinectXbox 720?

Last edited by wiley_kyotee on 2/1/2013 6:02:20 PM

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daus26
Friday, February 01, 2013 @ 12:42:50 PM
Reply

I'm not worried about this. Something like social features can easily be "focused" alongside a beast machine. The problem would be if Sony is planning to release a $200 or $300 console. This is why I want Sony to release AT LEAST a $400 console. I'd be fine with $500.

Some people just want things unrealistically. They'd want a super beast machine, but also want it cheap. Now that it might be cheap, they're worrying about weak specs? It's one or the other, and if we want both, expect a premium price.

If Sony does go this route, you can thank everyone who complained "deeply" about high prices. You want something cheap? Then this is the answer, a.k.a Nintendo.

Last edited by daus26 on 2/1/2013 12:44:14 PM

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josiahlo
Friday, February 01, 2013 @ 1:46:00 PM

The only reason the PS3 was $599 was due to the blu-ray and cell processor. Blu-ray component pricing is getting closer to dvd levels and they are using a standard x86 processor (some custom work I'm sure but nothing like the cell). They can have it priced at $399 and it would still be a pretty beastly machine just from the cost savings on blu-ray and the x86 processor.

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Beamboom
Friday, February 01, 2013 @ 12:49:50 PM
Reply

I don't believe it. I simply refuse to accept it.
Sony will not go all casual on us.

Agree with this comment 10 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

telly
Friday, February 01, 2013 @ 1:32:17 PM

Zero chance.

Agree with this comment 5 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

infamousgodV2_0
Friday, February 01, 2013 @ 12:57:50 PM
Reply

"Social Features" and no improved specs hummmm. I might pass on the Ps4 then. and if that's the case time for Microsoft to show me what they got if not MS then i'm quiting gsming all together. SMH

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CrusaderForever
Friday, February 01, 2013 @ 1:18:38 PM
Reply

I don't think anything of this. Sony will only add not subtract. We'll still get our hardcore gaming with the addition of social media options. We'll still have our DS controller configuration with maybe another option. There are over 75 million reasons Sony will not change how they do core gaming. I think everyone needs to relax and just wait until 2/20/13.

Agree with this comment 9 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

telly
Friday, February 01, 2013 @ 1:36:38 PM

100 percent agree. Social functions as bells and whistles for a console hardly suggests a sea change in their game design philosophy.

Agree with this comment 5 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

Beamboom
Friday, February 01, 2013 @ 3:28:28 PM

Yeah I agree too. Surely this is only a question of adding, not replacing anything.

Agree with this comment 3 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

cLoudou
Friday, February 01, 2013 @ 1:33:45 PM
Reply

Apparently the PS4 will be better than the next Xbox according to the rumored specs, that with 4gb of ram and Sony is pushing for 8gb to match Durango.

Agree with this comment 3 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

telly
Friday, February 01, 2013 @ 1:34:26 PM
Reply

I think people rushing to conclusions, especially negative ones, should chill for a minute. Edge is reporting the PS4 is going to dwarf the specs of Microsoft's next console, so I seriously doubt this is going to be some casual gamers-only kind of machine. I'd encourage everyone to keep an open mind with what sony announces and what's being reported prior to that. I for one think the gameplay sharing tool that will be part of the system sounds fun!

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PSTan
Friday, February 01, 2013 @ 1:43:07 PM
Reply

Please, please stop associating "social features" with an automatic negative connotation. I understand the demographics of this community aren't into these kinds of things, but that doesn't mean that other gamers (such as myself) aren't either. Like Crusader said, this will only add to the Playstation's repertoire, increasing usage of the system. Who says game consoles have to be solely for games? If people on here have a serious problem with that, then don't support the PS4! simple as that.

The only time anyone should complain is if we: lose our core experiences as a result of this new connectivity, or: it becomes a mandatory part of our experience (which I'm pretty sure it's not going to be).

Agree with this comment 13 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Deleted User
Friday, February 01, 2013 @ 2:21:40 PM
Reply

Hey, as long as the games are great and the software is plentiful I won't care about these "Social Features" they want to push. If the kids and Facebook addicts want it, fine. I know Microsoft wants to do the same thing.

It's all about letting the whole world know everything about you now. Ask Courtney Webb. Kudos to the people here who want nothing to do with it because it is silly and can be downright dangerous to your mental outlook, too.

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VampDeLeon
Friday, February 01, 2013 @ 2:23:15 PM
Reply

So basically we're getting cross-gaming chat and joining. No more having to send a message to a friend asking for them to send a invite if the game doesn't already allow you to join automatically (and more importantly, shorten the amount of invites spammed).

As long there's an option for people who like their game-playing hobby to remain private (like an invisible-mode option while online) so others can't interfere with their playing, there won't be a problem.

Last edited by VampDeLeon on 2/1/2013 2:25:23 PM

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The Real Deal
Friday, February 01, 2013 @ 2:32:22 PM
Reply

This is funny, i recently posted a comment on one of your articles about the PS4 it stated that the PS4 will not be the leap in technology that previous iterations have been, and that they will lean more on innovation to sell there product. I received replies to the article stating that i was wrong and that sony would never do such a thing. Well here it is in writing, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to predict these things; just a keen eye in the ever changing world of gaming. Being a fan boy of the playstation i have my own gripes about this direction myself. But understand the need to adapt and the fact the ps4 needs to launch with a price tag that is competitive.

Whats interesting and promising about this news is that if the design hasn't changed much, then all these developers will have an easier time transitioning; which should result in games releasing quicker then any other launch hardware effectively giving us an extension of the ps3 release windows. That is Awesome and hopefully that is there direction. If so be prepared to be amazed at the launch titles.

Long Live Sony!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Temjin001
Friday, February 01, 2013 @ 2:38:53 PM
Reply

I'm not worried. Sony knows they have a base that buys like 8+ million copies of Gran Turismo, near that with God of War, and near that with Uncharted. I'm sure LBP is way up there to. They also have a platform that provides a market for publishers like EA and Activision who produces products that sell by the 10's of millions on a platform made after the manner of past platforms. Their sales isn't just money in third party's pockets, but Sony's too.
The PS3 was also a MASSIVE leap in social networking in comparison to the PS2. PSN has meant for a more approachable entertainment device that has probably translated to more functional use for entertainment than any prior system of theirs. Sony needs the profits from healthy gaming products, that much won't change, but they, like every other company, are witnessing a change in the way consumers like to obtain and entertain their time. For them to not be proactive in adapting to the market, which includes social connectivity, (not the most appealing feature of the next-gen's design, but gamers are not all old stubborn hermits who hate change) can be of consequence. Sony hasn't done anything online-side that hasn't really moved faster than a snails pace so I'm really not worried. If this new controller has a 'share' button or something, whatever, some people will find it cool, others won't, but everyone will want to play great games. They'll be here for PS4 so stop the panicking.

Last edited by Temjin001 on 2/1/2013 2:39:21 PM

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Temjin001
Friday, February 01, 2013 @ 2:54:48 PM

..and another thing.
I actually own an OnLive console. It's not something I use anymore but it did have something pretty cool about it which I think this Gakai deal with Sony may provide. You can literally watch another person's game being played (of course if you don't want that you click the feature off). So lets say WorldEndsWithMe logs in and I see him playing DOA5. I could pull up his user and watch him play the game and kicking butt or using a zoom feature on a character where he SHOULDN'T! I can send him a live text or a built-in emot icon while he's playing in realtime. I could be seeing everything happen as it happens on his screen (or thereabouts)
I did something like that on OnLIVE with Batman AA. It felt cool having like 5 people watching me play through batman. They would rate how I did things as they happened... usually cheers of course ;)
Anyway this may sound terrible to some but pretty cool to others. You could also say post replays to your account for others to see. A person could watch you slay Omega in Final Fantasy and they could see the proof of it just by clicking the replay associated with you.

Anyway, I think this stuff may be pretty exciting and cool to many who find it interesting. Others, they can just not use those features and play the games how they like.

Last edited by Temjin001 on 2/1/2013 2:56:57 PM

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Knightzane
Friday, February 01, 2013 @ 2:54:27 PM
Reply

Sony's vaugeness has always made me laugh. "The future." Feb 20 2013 Bring the future on Sony, ill be waiting in line.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, February 01, 2013 @ 3:13:28 PM
Reply

Shiiiiiiiiiit...

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AcHiLLiA
Friday, February 01, 2013 @ 3:16:08 PM
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I'll wait for more info. Don't want to get all caught up in this.

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ethird1
Friday, February 01, 2013 @ 3:19:29 PM
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I'm not paying 400 dollars for a fraking social machine. Now, if I can play wih 100 people at one time instead of 4, then that type of 'SOCIAL' system I could handle.

If there is not a SIGNIFICANT raise in the graphics department and how many peeps can play online, Sony can stick it's ps4 up it's arse.

End of Line.

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BTNwarrior
Friday, February 01, 2013 @ 3:28:19 PM
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I really hope that this is just slander

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DarthNemesis
Friday, February 01, 2013 @ 3:37:04 PM
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Speculation and rumors sure are the most entertaining part of the eve of the reveal of a new console.
People are doubting Sony again I see, just like they doubted the PS3. This information only states apart of Sony's ideas for the integration of social features which is not the only focus obviously for the PS4/Orbis. The important thing is the games and Sony always delivers. They have the best line up of software this year easily across the PS3/Vita and that is including the third party games. There really are no non Sony games that I am excited for and that is a first. Until Star Wars 1313, Dragon Age 3 or MGS0 release. I am not even excited for GTA5 as and would rather play Sly Cooper. That is my personal taste though.

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xnonsuchx
Friday, February 01, 2013 @ 4:02:37 PM
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Special features they decide to disable w/ firmware updates? ;-)

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trumpetmon65
Friday, February 01, 2013 @ 4:14:14 PM
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I can understand why sony would focus on social features. Specs are pretty much no worries these days. Graphics are still awesome and there is no real need for stupid fast hardware anymore. So they might as well focus on integrating more kinds of features into the system. I just hope they remember to stream line it all and make it user friendly.

I think the kind of interaction they need to focus on is known friend interaction. That's what microsoft tends to do very well. If they could make it easier for me to play with the friends that I want to I say I'm all up for it.

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SayWord
Friday, February 01, 2013 @ 4:55:55 PM
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i really cannot believe how melodramatic people are being about optional features that in no way affects your gameplay. most of you should be smart enough to know that this stuff is just as important as having good games.

have any of you actually looked at the rumored specs? here they are:

 System Memory: 8GB (rumor using ddr5)
Video Memory: 2.2 GB 
CPU: 4x Dual-Core AMD64 "Bulldozer", 1.6GHz 
GPU: AMD R10xx (w/ Liverpool)
Ports: 4x USB 3.0, 2x Ethernet [extra for local sharing, dev. use] 

that seems like a pretty powerful console to me.

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Highlander
Friday, February 01, 2013 @ 5:08:47 PM

The cores will be Jaguar, not Bulldozer, No one is sure of the discrete video RAM yet.

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klown4twnt
Friday, February 01, 2013 @ 7:34:19 PM
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I personally think they aren't going to do anything with the hardware because when next box comes out we will really see what the ps3 can do. ps4 will be like a ps3.5. Sony the first to have hardware for 2 generations. just my opinion

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Helghast
Friday, February 01, 2013 @ 8:04:00 PM
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I think people are taking this the wrong way. This is the one area Sony is lacking this generation. I am not a fan of this social stuff, but I am a fan of anything that brings more people to PlayStation which in return brings more money to Sony. I think Sony is putting more focus on social features, not that they are going to take any focus away from the games. Sony is going to try to attract more casuals as well as hang on to their hardcore base. I think the lineup of games for the final year of the current gen just proves Sony is still dedicated to delivering top notch games. Just look at the competitions line up.... Sony is going to release a console that will show off the amazing talent of their studios. Sony has already stated that their focus is to make sure their console is more powerful than the competition and I would not expect anything less from Sony.

I believe Sony can continue their focus on great games and give more attention to social features. Everyone knows that the jump to next gen will be much smaller graphics wise than the jump from PS2 to this current gen. I think WSJ just means that there will be a bigger difference in social features than in gaming capabilities, which I don't think should be a shock to anyone.


Last edited by Helghast on 2/1/2013 8:09:01 PM

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RICHIECOQUI
Friday, February 01, 2013 @ 8:35:17 PM
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I love the comment on here "this could end sony" i swear i read those type of comment before the ps3 came out!! relax!!!

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CH1N00K
Friday, February 01, 2013 @ 10:10:50 PM
Reply

I'm not worried yet, sure they may focus some attention on social aspects of the system, but I'm sure they haven't ignored the technical side either. It's not like they are going to come out and say "we just re-packaged the PS3 but with WAY better access to facebook and twitter"

I wouldn't worry to much about this. I'm sure the PS4 will still be a beast..

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___________
Saturday, February 02, 2013 @ 5:42:14 AM
Reply

just goes to prove what ive been saying all along!
$ony DO NOT learn from their mistakes!
home a perfect example of $ony trying to bring a more social focous to the system, and that cost them a mega sh*t ton of money, had so many delays, and is really not half what it was made out to be.
eh, this is nothing new to me i knew this was going to happen.
i wont say i told you so!

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