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American McGee: PlayStation 4 is "meh"

Alice developer believes that interfaces are where the excitement will happen

Outspoken developer American McGee has revealed he was unimpressed by the recent PlayStation 4 announcement, despite its developer friendly approach, and has suggested the future is on mobile.

"I was hoping for innovation in control input. Didn't see anything meaningful, so 'meh,'" he told Forbes.

"It's nice that they're moving towards what looks like more developer-friendly hardware and indie friendly distribution. Remains to be seen if the appearance matches reality. Overall, I think this generation of consoles will struggle painfully against the momentum of mobile/online games we're seeing globally."

He believes mobile is the place where the real excitement is to be found, and that the real revolution will come with new interfaces and devices like the Oculus Rift.

"Ultimately, people are going to choose based on power, size and convenience - and I think we're going to see devices emerging which change their form, function and interface depending on where or for what they're being used. More than anything it's interface that's going to drive the most significant change - things like Oculus Rift will radically change people's demands and expectations - that's where the real revolution is going to start."

"Nothing will be able to compete with full immersion and seamless interface being powered by a processor stack in your pocket."

McGee also defended the recent launches of Diablo III and SimCity, which were beset by connection issues related to their always online set up.

"Do gamers or the media think EA or Blizzard wanted things to go so badly at launch? Do they think all the screaming and gnashing of teeth actually helped resolve those issues more quickly?"

"There's got to be a balance to the relationship. Just because you've given a restaurant your business doesn't entitle you to throwing molten cheese fries in your waiter's face if your margarita comes out frozen instead of on the rocks. People need to relax a little and stop turning everything into World War III - Gamers vs. The Man. There are no winners in that scenario."

McGee's Spicy Horse studio recently completed a successful Kickstarter campaign for its free-to-play title Akaneiro, which will be available online and on mobile.

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Latest comments (17)

Jakub Mikyska CEO, Grip Digital8 years ago
Dear co-readers, please let me also make another prediction:

Gaming on mobile phones and tables will eventually struggle against the new wave of games for the upcoming watch-phones. Think of the immersion and new input methods that these devices will bring - you will no longer need to HOLD anything. The game will be attached to your wrist.

I also predict that GP2P (get paid to play) will eventually kill off F2P as the dominant business model.

Also, North Korea will become economic superpower and England is going to win the world football championship.
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Anthony Chan8 years ago
@Jakub ... I Like...

I love how developers who have put all their eggs in the mobile basket, toot their own horn and preach the demise of console. There will be no demise of console in this upcoming generation. Gaming on mobile is not at a state where we can comfortably do it. Technology like the Occulus Rift is way too "out there" to become main stream.

Yes it is nice to move forward, but at the end, for gaming to be successful, it must be accepted by the masses - not just the hardcore gamers.
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Ian Brown IT Developer / IT Infrastructure 8 years ago
Just because you've given a restaurant your business doesn't entitle you to throwing molten cheese fries in your waiter's face if your margarita comes out frozen instead of on the rocks. People need to relax a little and stop turning everything into World War III - Gamers vs. The Man. There are no winners in that scenario.
No you'd simply tell them to get you another one or demand a refund. Sadly games are so tied up with red tape that the defective games (ones that require patches on release day or in fact don't allow you to play a single player game when you paid for the item as they didn't have the infrastructure to cope) released now and you've paid up you're stuck and cannot return or get a refund it since you used the one off license key.

The only winners in these situations are the pirates and hackers who get to play the games DRM free and with out cost while paying customers get a sloppy bowl of porridge and told that its for their interests that its like this.
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Show all comments (17)
Sebastian Moss Editor -in- Chief, PlayStation LifeStyle8 years ago
"Do gamers or the media think EA or Blizzard wanted things to go so badly at launch? Do they think all the screaming and gnashing of teeth actually helped resolve those issues more quickly?"

It got them a free game.
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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 8 years ago
To be fair to him, 1) the PS4 tech is just some decent PC hardware, and 2) console control systems can be innovative. The thing is, it's almost always Nintendo who innovate, so expecting it from Sony is a bit... Unlikely.
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Andreia Quinta Photographer 8 years ago
Right on Morville, Nintendo innovates, Sony imitates, and has been for a long time now.

Also; "and England is going to win the world football championship." - And here I was taking your post seriously up to that point. :)

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Andreia Quinta on 25th March 2013 7:48pm

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Private Industry 8 years ago
At the great party of Games there is a big huge cake with different flavors, and there is so much that there are enough big pieces for everyone. Facebook gamers, mobile gamers, PC gamers and console gamers flavors, sometimes they taste pieces of the different flavors and like them, but that doesn`t make them not eating anymore of the flavor they had before.

Aka there are many people and they like different platforms to play games on, but that doesn`t make one form obsolete. All different platforms have their pros and cons and different games work on different platforms. If someone wants to focus on mobile, facebook, console or PC that makes sense, but that isn`t a reason to run around and spell the doom of all other platforms that you personally don`t want to make games for.

It is not a choice of "either" "or". Nobody is going to a shop with 300, 400 or 500 bucks and says to themselves "Let`s see what phone I will buy to play games". They go to the shop and buy a phone that lets them make phone calls, use internet, mail and so on. I`m sure the question "how good is that phone for gaming?" is of low priority when people pick a phone. So it doesn`t take disposable income away from them that they can spend on a console or PC because they get the mobile and they don`t go to the shop deciding if they should by a phone or a console for their gaming needs.

People like McGee see mobile as the end point of gaming where all gamers will converge in x years. I see it is a starting point to get people interested in games and possibly get them also to play PC or console games. During PS2 times based on vg chartz data there would have been 198 million consoles soled for PS2 GCN and Xbox if the data is accurate, 145 million the previous generation during the PS1, N64 and Saturn times, current gen with Wii, PS3 and X360 would be at 246 million. The console numbers are going up and that while a lot of people play Facebook and mobile games and PC is very good again for some years now. There is a lot more variety now than 8-15 years ago, and all that this variety does is bring more people to gaming and not like some people believe get all gamers converted to mobile gaming, Facebook gaming or any other one type of gaming.
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Adam Campbell Product Manager, Azoomee8 years ago
Said it before, the hardware is largely irrelevant.

This generation isn't the 'shader era' or the 'multi-core' era, its about ecosystems. Interfaces and interaction within the device and its software greatly feeds into that, making it unique and that bit more intuitive and innovative.

Personally, I can live without a ground-breaking new input device, touch pads are quite nice for navigation and I'll take that as a minor improvement to the DS4. What I'm more interested in (as a start that is) is the final OS interface, its speed, how dynamic and intuitive it is as well as how the system may tie into other platforms - physical or online that I may use too.

I don't necessarily think that consoles are a lost cause or somehow match up to what mobile offers, or that mobile - as exciting as it is should be the one and only - that I disagree with. After all, they're different experiences. A lot more could be done in terms of crossover though and I see signs of it already.
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Jack Nilssen Independent Game Developer, Dark Acre8 years ago
And if there's anyone out there who knows "meh", it's American McGee.
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Paul Jace Merchandiser 8 years ago
I thought the PS4 press conference reveal was "meh" but that has no real bearing on how the system is actually going to turn out. It all will depend on how much it cost and what games it gets. You know, like every other generation.
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Dan Howdle Head of Content, Existent8 years ago
Quite right, American, quite right. What on Earth is exciting about an enormous canvas of comparatively unlimited creative scope?
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Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game8 years ago
So a developer who is concentrating on mobile and F2P after his studio's last full price console release got a lukewarm reception thinks mobile is everything and new consoles are boring , eh?

Didn't see that coming.

Edit: Multi-touch capacitive touchscreens have been de rigour for a while now, what with iPhones being about 6 years old, and by 2009 everyone interested in them, and their dog owning a smartphone. Isn't it time we had a new phone interface for gaming? I vote nostril control.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Andrew Goodchild on 25th March 2013 9:35pm

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Gareth Eckley Commercial Analyst 8 years ago
I just wish people would quit being visionaries and just make games that didn't clearly suck.

The latter appears to be a lot harder than the former though.
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Simon Dotschuweit MD SE / CTO, Dorado Games8 years ago
@Gareth: Can't agree more, lets just make great games and focus less on which platform they run on. Seems that posts like these are more designed to poke the beehive than to deliver any meaning full news ;)
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Sandy Lobban Founder, Noise Me Up8 years ago
[man has opinion] and ?
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Craig Page El Presidente, Awesome Enterprises8 years ago
I predict the death of gaming on consoles, PCs, and phones. Board games are going to CRUSH them all in the next 5 years.

My company is currently working on a kickstarter campaign for a board game that combines Monopoly, Clue, and Snakes and Ladders.
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gi biz ;, 8 years ago
Troll alarm!
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