Part Seven: In Conclusion
So now we come to the ultimate question: Should you, the consumer, be interested in buying a PlayStation 4 (assuming, of course, that you can find one in the months to come)?
As you might expect, it depends. It depends on what kind of gamer you are, and it depends on what you want and expect out of a gaming console. Casual gamers and those who primarily use their home consoles as multimedia hubs need not bother with the PS4 at present. The current-gen hardware likely does everything you want and need it to do, and support for those systems isn’t going anywhere in the immediate future. This is something even hardcore gamers should think about, because if you aren’t necessarily interested in any of the games the PS4 has within its launch window, it’s not like your current systems are going anywhere. The PS4 may signal a new era for gaming, but the current era isn’t over, and it isn’t necessarily obsolete just because new hardware has arrived.
Here’s the bottom line, to my mind: If you are someone who plays games frequently, who enjoys video games as one of their primary modes of entertainment and artistic consumption, and have any inkling of wanting a PlayStation 4, you should do your best to get one. This system was made for you. As I said in the beginning, the PS4 marks the ultimate evolution, as of now, of the basic promise of console gaming: power and usability, depth and fluidity, all rolled into one beautiful, intuitive, robust package. The PS4 makes gaming easier, it makes gaming more accessible, and it makes gaming more fun, because focus no longer has to be split with wrangling the user interface or expending extra energy on downloads, installs, and the like. And with a set of truly impressive, remarkably enjoyable features – sharing and Remote Play chief among them – the PS4 continues to innovate even as it perfects. The PS4 is so impressive in so many ways that what should theoretically be its biggest leap forward – the graphics, which are, indeed, unparalleled – seems in some way an afterthought after several days of use.
The system is not perfect – there are problems, both big and small, and I want to stress that until I know more about the noisy fan issue referenced earlier, any recommendation I give is qualified. This is not in the same league as the Red Ring of Death, but it is an unexplained flaw, not experienced by every user, that detracts from the gaming experience. Hopefully it can be resolved. If not, it’s not necessarily a dealbreaker, but it is a significant drawback.
But in the end, my overall feelings are positive, and glowingly so. The PlayStation 4 is the home gaming console I have always wanted, and one I suspect will only get better in the future. We are coming off the best and most creatively rich generation in video game history – whether the next one can match it has yet to be seen, but the PlayStation 4 is one hell of a start.