This year the game is just the start, as Sony’s recent ad campaign is so keen to tell us. That means hardware advances, and big changes in the way we interact with Sony’s consoles. So what can we expect to see over the next year?
Above: The future is now
First off, we’re likely to see the first, full, triple-A blockbuster game distributed solely online via the PlayStation Network. Xbox 360 already has full games on demand, but so far PS3 has been lagging behind. However, whereas full games on PSN will undoubtedly be a good thing for us gamers, the development community is wary of the way Sony is running PSN for independent devs working on smaller titles, like Minis.
One leading dev, who wishes to remain anonymous, recently told us, “The key issue here is that, like the App store and Xbox Live, this is a closed system – developers will be competing against Sony’s own products that will be developed, marketed and streamed through the whole system without outside intervention, which is bad for competition.” He goes on to say, “A more open system would be better, as would something like Microsoft’s community games program, so it’ll be interesting to see if Sony blocks access to Internet flash-games or merely fails to keep the PS3’s Flash software up-to-date, which would have the same effect.”
PS3 will also embrace motion-control gaming this year, and developers are already impressed with the tech. Speaking in a recent interview, director at TT Games, Jon Burton commented that he thought Microsoft’s motion control rival, Natal, would suffer from lag. He went on to say “I was actually more impressed with Sony’s motion capture solution than Microsoft’s Natal”. Promising stuff.
Above: A thing of the past
There’s also a bunch of new ancillary tech that should really give PlayStation gaming a kick in 2010. Epic will release their Unreal Engine 4, Crytek will unleash their first Cry-Engine developed games on PS3, and it’s virtually certain Rockstar’s Agent will showcase a fresh version of their impressive RAGE engine. Finally, all the major tech manufacturers unveiled their latest 3D capable TVs at CES in Las Vegas. Although Avatar was a less than impressive start for 3D gaming, the tech was impressive, so we can expect to see more devs taking advantage of better, cheaper 3D-enabled TVs throughout the coming year.
What the future holds for PS3, according to some of the industry’s leading tech-experts
“I’m dreading the arrival of Sony’s motion controller in 2010. The last thing gaming needs is another console full of novelty willy-waving games you can’t play properly and have to stand up for. At least you know where you are with a D-pad and the X button.” - Gary Cutlack aka Commander Zorg of UK: Resistance
Above: Gary Cutlack
“If 2009 was all about the games, 2010 looks set to be about how we play them. Few would have realised when playing WishyWashy on their EyeToy that they were actually participating in essentially a tech-demo for 2010’s motion controller, whatever it proves to be called. Whilst the DualShocks will be around for a few more years to come, it’ll be interesting to see the steps taken towards proper gesture control. Hopefully it’ll be fully ironed out in time for Hot Coffee 2.” - Simon Byron, One Life Left
Above: Simon Byron