To PS4 or not to PS4?

On the surface of it this is a ridiculously simple question. I still enjoy video games, I still enjoy playing online with my friends, I’ve always loved what the next generation of each Playstation has brought to my entertainment life. So given that the new PS4 will be released in November, and for the specs, the price is remarkably reasonable, you’d expect me to be one of the masses on the pre-order list.

Why then am I so reluctant to move onto the next gen of gaming? Well, there are several things. One is that other than the social aspect of gaming with friends, or the default, it’s just what I do, I’m not sure why it is that I currently game. Sure it is fun to dominate the PS3 on FIFA, it would be fun online if the connections were more stable & if people couldn’t quit so easily. Other than that, I’ve not been enjoying games recently. It seems like a real slog to get through single player games these days. I recently finished Uncharted 3, the first 2 games in that series were incredible games, 3 though while being technically impressing just seemed so generic. They took a game that is supposed to feel like an Indiana Jones adventure & changed it into Rambo.

The thing I’ve most enjoyed about the PS3 has been online gaming. It has brought a wonderful social aspect to what used to be a solo hobby, other than drunken gatherings at friends houses. The clan I have been a part of for the last 5 years has done a wonderful job of filling an empty social void created when I left my homeland. Unfortunately that clan has been on life support for the best part of the last year. There is the hope that the PS4 will revitalize it, I truly hope it does. I have my doubts though, I don’t know about the rest of the folks but I know that at least for myself, I don’t at this moment have the heart or commitment to try & make what was once great, great again. That’s not saying anything about anyone in the clan, more just a reflection of the state of me right now. More than anything else it is the social aspect that would drive me towards getting a PS4. Much more so than the hope of profit being achieved through quality over quantity, but hey..

Maybe the next generation of games will have some fresh ideas, better co-op, more original themes that involve more than just killing wave after wave of bud guys. Don’t get me wrong, there is enough little boy in me to still enjoy playing war, but it just seems like there should be more to a game than that, especially with the technology available. Maybe the next gen of games will have online modes where the technical flaws in the game don’t make my lack of ability even more frustrating than it already is. Maybe what I see on my screen will match what I see on the replay. Maybe they will offer the ability to improve with practice rather than just struggling with fighting the connection or BS hit detection. Maybe online lobbies will be civilized places & talking to your friends will be possible in all games, not just a few. Maybe my expectations of games are too high for a $60 product?!

There is also the whole, hey we have a new PS4 so you have to buy it thing, the video game industry is obviously all about profit, but it seems that with the success of the Playstation & Xbox etc, it has become solely about profit. Unfinished products are rushed out with the intention of trying to fix the bugs later, new and inventive ideas are shelved in favor of more generic themes in order to sell the most units. I’m going to need to see more than some pretty video clips before I am convinced they can combine the notion of profitability & actually good games in the same package.

My final & probably biggest concern for the PS4, is not so much about the PS4 itself. Sure I could come up with the money to get one, I could come up with the money to buy some games, I could even come up with an hour or so a day to play them (most days). The question is not could I, but do I really want to? Do I want to commit another 10 years of my life to this form of digital entertainment? Time that could be spent reading, writing, making music or generally becoming a better person.  As my daughter grows & starts to go to bed later, there will be less time to play too (I don’t play while she is awake, other than the occasional fifa match).

Of course, it is hard to say if I would read or write etc with that time. More realistically I’d just watch mindless tv, because at 9pm I don’t really want to exercise my creative brain too much, I’m usually tired & want to switch off, which gaming does remarkably well for me.

We will see, I love to game, I’m just not sure I want to continue to game at this point in life (maybe I need a break from something I love to see if I like it anymore). I guess I have at least 4 months to decide, or be sold on the notion that the PS4 will be a good use of my increasingly infrequent recreation and relaxation time.

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