Hardware is Gimmicks

Yahtzee Croshaw

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Hardware is Gimmicks

The PS4 has a big thing in the middle of the controller that has the function of a track pad but which you can press in like a button. The Xbox One has a packed-in Kinect. It's the specter of hardware gimmicks in new consoles again.

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medv4380

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The only thing I can think of the touch screen being good at on the PS4 controller is sports games in the same way the VMU was good on the Dreamcast at keeping the other player in the dark about the play wanted picking. As nice as that is, I'd never use it since sports games aren't my thing, but it could work. Only in head to head local multiplayer does this feature make any sense, but for Sony they'd just have an online function, and that's far better at keeping your opponent in the dark about what choices you've made.

Is it a sign of the end times if I just compared the PS4 to the Dreamcast?
 

Adam Jensen_v1legacy

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You know what I don't get? Why do we only have four buttons on the right side? Why not at least one more in the middle? We've seen with last gen the ridiculous lengths some of the developers go to cram in all the controls on so few buttons. It's probably the reason that the console versions of Mass Effect and Assassin's Creed games can be played with one foot. Games started lacking crouch and jump functions because someone thought that iron sights/over the shoulder zoom and cover mode is essential to every freakin' shooter.
 

DataSnake

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I suppose the touchpad could be used to control the cursor if anyone ever made an RTS for the PS4. Or for precise sword slashes in a Revengeance-style slice-n-dice game. But those are the only things that spring to mind.
 

gorfias

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Yahtzee appears to be holding out for more functionality from the Wii U than the other 2 consoles, noting the multiplayer function. I agree. I bought one this month. ITMT: I'll stick to my PS3 for more standard console gaming. I'll likely get the Wii U version of Watchdogs.
 

Thanatos2k

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Every week he's harping on the next gen consoles. I really wonder if Yahtzee was around 20 years ago would he be using these same arguments about why no one should buy a Super Nintendo?

"Just better hardware and no backwards compatibility??? No thanks, I'll keep playing my NES!"
 

Steve the Pocket

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I feel like you're really reaching to find something worth hating about the PS4, and I say that as someone who's never owned a console that was still in production and has little interest in the console wars. Maybe you haven't played enough games on the PC to appreciate the convenience of mouse-driven menus (or perhaps have played enough PC exclusives to see how it can be taken too far; see System Shock 2), but I think that's where having a trackpad would really come in handy. As hardware gimmicks go, this is one of the few I'd consider forgivable at worst. As long as Sony's not doing the Wii thing where every title has to have some dumb gimmick that makes use of it during gameplay in order to be certified.
 

Deathlyphil

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Thanatos2k said:
Every week he's harping on the next gen consoles. I really wonder if Yahtzee was around 20 years ago would he be using these same arguments about why no one should buy a Super Nintendo?

"Just better hardware and no backwards compatibility??? No thanks, I'll keep playing my NES!"
Every previous generation has added something new. Most noticeably graphics, but also the ability for deeper, more complex games.

This generation is the first generation that doesn't appear to add anything new. Graphics are getting better, but nowhere near the jump they've had every other generation. The only "new" features to those that don't indulge heavily on sites like this are the trackpad on the PS4, and the better version of Kinect. Neither are that interesting.
 

Evonisia

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Jun 24, 2013
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So long as the gimmick doesn't have a mandatory presence in the gameplay I really don't mind if it's there, bad or good.

Example, the Kinect 2.0 is essentially mandatory to use in Ryse, as the "Fire Volley" thing is replaced by a 5 second button press otherwise. If your Kinect understands you this is a massive advantage.

In Dead Rising 3 you get the option to do an arm gesture to break Zombie grapples, and if you don't use the Kinect a quick-time event using either X, Y or B. Equally viable, and I don't hate the Kinect when playing it.

But why have these gimmicks? Why not just add more buttons to the pads? Of course Nintendo is the odd man out in this, the Wii U has four buttons but you only use two of them in the 'big' 3D Mario of the console.
 

Gethsemani_v1legacy

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Deathlyphil said:
Every previous generation has added something new. Most noticeably graphics, but also the ability for deeper, more complex games.

This generation is the first generation that doesn't appear to add anything new. Graphics are getting better, but nowhere near the jump they've had every other generation. The only "new" features to those that don't indulge heavily on sites like this are the trackpad on the PS4, and the better version of Kinect. Neither are that interesting.
And vastly improved abilities for online connectivity and experience sharing. The simple fact that the PS4 ships with integrated and fully supported tools for instant game streaming and uploading of in-game footage with added commentary is miles ahead of the arduous procedure this was for the PS3. It might not be everyone's cup of tea (I know it isn't mine, I haven't even tried the function), but we should at least be gracious enough to admit that it is a giant leap forward in terms of experience sharing.

Whatever or not these connectivity and sharing improvements will re-define how we play and interact with other gamers remains to be seen. Personally, I doubt it. But I also thought that Facebook would be a two year fad.
 

Darth_Payn

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So far, the only game I played with the PS4 is AC IV and the big black "thing" in the middle of the controller is the map button, ad the more efficient way to navigate it.
 

Lightknight

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I liked how the controller is being utilized so far.

I've used it in COD and in Killzone. In Killzone it actually plays a central role in which you change the type of support you're getting from whatever the hell that flying this is (sorry, only just started playing it). Let's be honest, it's a central D-pad that also serves as it's own button

In COD it is used more as an easy stat button.

While I haven't seen any immensely useful functions that can't be done by a sedond D-pad, I do appreciate what this can mean. They added a non-trivial number of buttons. One of the major limitations of consoles is hotkeys. I'm hoping this will help with that.

Things I don't like about the controller? I'd like to be able to modify its settings in such as way as to maximize its battery life. Sure, it still isn't as bad as the 360's battery life was, but this one is significantly worse than the ps3 which would last days. Maybe that giant glowing light isn't to blame, but if it is, I'd like to shut that damn thing off in games that don't really use it.
 

Agayek

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Gethsemani said:
And vastly improved abilities for online connectivity and experience sharing. The simple fact that the PS4 ships with integrated and fully supported tools for instant game streaming and uploading of in-game footage with added commentary is miles ahead of the arduous procedure this was for the PS3. It might not be everyone's cup of tea (I know it isn't mine, I haven't even tried the function), but we should at least be gracious enough to admit that it is a giant leap forward in terms of experience sharing.

Whatever or not these connectivity and sharing improvements will re-define how we play and interact with other gamers remains to be seen. Personally, I doubt it. But I also thought that Facebook would be a two year fad.
Well, to be fair, the streaming and experience sharing is completely useless for 95% of the population. It adds literally nothing to the gameplay experience.

It makes LPers jobs a bit easier, and that's it. For the average user, it has zero impact.
 

Neurotic Void Melody

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There is one use for the creepy kinect gimmick that has just sprung to mind. Obviously you can only press so many buttons in futility with your hands alone. But what if...just what if we could bring our legs into the equation too??
A specific example that i be masticating on alone is that of the condemned games, with their kick attack which is mapped so unnaturally to clicking in the thumbstick that i often forget it's there in the heat of defending myself against possessed football hooligans. It would feel much more natural to respond with a swift kick (not at all due to any past heroin habits) to the imaginative jubblies of hostility.
A plus to this is that any bastard friend who thinks they can just waltz in front of your gaming sesh, can recieve such a testicular wholloping with all blame being directed at such a silly new form of hardware!
 

mjc0961

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See, this is a repeat of the issue I have with the Wii U screen controller in single player gaming: you can't look at both screens at the same time, 'cos you do not have the eyes of a chameleon (at least I presume you don't), so you might as well just have one screen that switches back and forth between the views.
Read more at http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/columns/extra-punctuation/10925-Hardware-is-Gimmicks#4tScjGzAWPIFPf12.99
This so much. I like the Wii U as a console just fine when the games let me use the Pro Controller instead of that big, uncomfortable lump (yes, everyone is different, and no matter how comfortable you think the Gamepad is, I find it uncomfortable) they packaged in with the system. I played Wind Waker HD with a Pro Controller and whenever people hear that, the response is usually "OMG HOW COULD YOU NOT USE THE GAMEPAD??? YOU CAN SWITCH ITEMS WITHOUT PAUSING THE GAME!!!"

And my response to that is bullshit. Maybe it's not literally pausing the game as the game is still running, but when you look down from the TV to the screen in your hand, you can no longer see the TV. Thus you can no longer play the game in any meaningful way. You have stopped playing the game to look down and swap an item, just like I have stopped playing the game to bring up a menu and swap an item. We both just stopped playing the game for a few seconds, so tell me what it is that makes stopping the game by looking down so much more magical than stopping the game by pushing a button?

But we were really talking about the DS4, I suppose. I think it's funny that already not even Sony wants anything to do with it. Yeah, you can use it in Killzone's campaign, but in MP it's nothing more than a giant select button because the share button made the old select button go away. The other retail exclusive so far, Knack, doesn't use it for anything. Not to swipe for an input or not to push as a button. And then there's the PS4 itself. The touch pad basically being a trackpad for a laptop is funny, because when I first tried the internet browser on the PS4, that's EXACTLY what I tried to do: move the cursor using the touch pad. And it doesn't work. Here's the one thing the touch pad might actually be good at and you can't use it. Wow. Nice one Sony, not even you guys know what you put it there for.

However, I will give the touch pad credit for one thing: it being there finally forced Sony to elongate the controller a bit, and now the sticks aren't so close. No more bumping my thumbs together if games want me to push both sticks towards each other, which is something I definitely appreciate after Beyond Two Souls The Ellen Page Variety Hour came out not much sooner than the PS4 and asked me to push both sticks towards each other all the time. If only I had a DS4 for that game...

Agayek said:
Well, to be fair, the streaming and experience sharing is completely useless for 95% of the population. It adds literally nothing to the gameplay experience.

It makes LPers jobs a bit easier, and that's it. For the average user, it has zero impact.
Nah. Any serious LPers will spend the $40-$60 to buy the extra equipment to let them capture directly from the PS4 so they can have more control over quality and where the uploads go (aka they can easily upload them to YouTube without having to upload to facebook and download from facebook).

Streaming has probably actually been used more by the "average user", if the average user is some idiot getting drunk one night with his girlfriend or wife, starting a Playroom stream, and then just talking to the camera and exposing his lady to the stream when he gets bored. That and all the people who've probably tried making a stream, but they're even less nobodies than most of the people already on Twitch and/or YouTube, so nobody watched and they gave up on it.

But the streaming stuff really is more for the average user than LPers. LPers (along with guide creators and reviewers) are going to spend the little extra money to do it right rather than dick around with the limited tools Sony offered.

medv4380 said:
The only thing I can think of the touch screen being good at on the PS4 controller is sports games in the same way the VMU was good on the Dreamcast at keeping the other player in the dark about the play wanted picking. As nice as that is, I'd never use it since sports games aren't my thing, but it could work. Only in head to head local multiplayer does this feature make any sense, but for Sony they'd just have an online function, and that's far better at keeping your opponent in the dark about what choices you've made.

Is it a sign of the end times if I just compared the PS4 to the Dreamcast?
That wouldn't work because the PS4 controller doesn't have a screen.
 

Moloch Sacrifice

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I would totally play Interactive Truffle Snuffling. Who wouldn't want to live out their porcine fantasies of sticking their nose in some digital dirt and digging out a delicious, barely edible fungus ball?
 

RandV80

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From the article:

Except that the gaming controller was basically perfected with the Dual Shock.
Says who? Now I'll never excuse gimmicky implementations of new controls, but to me this seems like a generational thing. You make Nintendo seem like the outlier for not going along with the 'standard' implementation, but if you actually looked at their console lineup every control has had a significant change from the previous, with the intent of enabling greater gameplay. It's only Sony and Microsoft, who were late comers to the console market, who decided on one primary design and stuck with it, and now have fanbases that start frothing at the mouth if you try and tinker with it.

Read that quote above there. Could I play say... Starcraft 2 with a dualshock controller? Not bloody likely. You could say that's PC gaming and this is console gaming, but at the end of the day it's all just software, what separates them is the control input required. The dual shock is perfect for a specific subset of games, and that's it. It's not the perfect controller period.

Thankfully we have the fine folks at Valve who are showing us what actual creative innovation can do with their new Steam controller. It still may not be perfect for my Starcraft 2 example, but it should likely bring us much closer.
 

Deathlyphil

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Agayek said:
Gethsemani said:
And vastly improved abilities for online connectivity and experience sharing. The simple fact that the PS4 ships with integrated and fully supported tools for instant game streaming and uploading of in-game footage with added commentary is miles ahead of the arduous procedure this was for the PS3. It might not be everyone's cup of tea (I know it isn't mine, I haven't even tried the function), but we should at least be gracious enough to admit that it is a giant leap forward in terms of experience sharing.

Whatever or not these connectivity and sharing improvements will re-define how we play and interact with other gamers remains to be seen. Personally, I doubt it. But I also thought that Facebook would be a two year fad.
Well, to be fair, the streaming and experience sharing is completely useless for 95% of the population. It adds literally nothing to the gameplay experience.

It makes LPers jobs a bit easier, and that's it. For the average user, it has zero impact.
Exactly this. For new users, the immediate difference between generations is very slim. Even if you are invested, the difference is evolutionary, not revolutionary.
 

Thanatos2k

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Deathlyphil said:
Thanatos2k said:
Every week he's harping on the next gen consoles. I really wonder if Yahtzee was around 20 years ago would he be using these same arguments about why no one should buy a Super Nintendo?

"Just better hardware and no backwards compatibility??? No thanks, I'll keep playing my NES!"
Every previous generation has added something new. Most noticeably graphics, but also the ability for deeper, more complex games.

This generation is the first generation that doesn't appear to add anything new. Graphics are getting better, but nowhere near the jump they've had every other generation. The only "new" features to those that don't indulge heavily on sites like this are the trackpad on the PS4, and the better version of Kinect. Neither are that interesting.
NES to SNES added four buttons. "Deeper complex games" is just a function of what developers can do with the hardware. There is nothing inherent about the SNES that produces "deeper complex games."

And it had no backwards compatibility, which is now the most important thing ever!