The unthinkable has happened. I dig the PS4. (AKA Valve can't make it to the couch)

Like many of us I have been patiently waiting for the Steam controller as the answer to my PC gaming on the couch prayer. Finally something that could replace my mouse and keyboard, and Steam Link for $99, hell yes, sign me up! I'll be streaming all my gaming goodness to the couch, my entire library, everything. The wait is finally over! PC gaming comfortably on the couch at last!

Then you buy it, try it for a few days, find out it is a complete let down and decide it isn't your job to beta test an unfinished product and return it. Valve didn't get it right. Years of development and everything about Steam link and their new controller is in my opinion a failure. It doesn't replace your keyboard and mouse in games that require it. It doesn't feel ergonomic in the hand. The face buttons are undersized and pad acceleration just feels weird. It's too custom, too flexible, not streamlined enough. It's almost as if they figured, okay, here is a toy community, you figure out how to make it work, and I suppose some people will revel in that. For me, my days of tinkering just to get a game to work are over. I don't have time for it. I want to press start and play. Let me also warn people if you haven't tried it yet, running a long HDMI cable from your GPU is actually going to be just as practical as anything the Steam Link can deliver because it's WiFi performance is garbage (defeating the entire point of having a mirroring device), and I'm a WiFi tweaking expert. I'm as good as anyone you will ever meet at getting WiFi to work optimally and no matter what I tried, switching bands and channels on the router, adjusting position for line of sight, despite only being 25 feet away with a clear line, despite having high end Wireless AC 1750 it lags, it sputters, it artifacts, it cuts out... Frustrating and artifacts are worse than cloud based streaming titles I have played. We waited years for this, and it's not only underwhelming... It all sucks.

So fast forward to the day of the return, my daughter and I decided to trade in the Wii U and get a PS4 because we both wanted to play the Uncharted games and we like the sports titles, Madden, MLB the show and such... and let me tell ya, best $350 entertainment value on earth. Everything about it has overshot my expectations. Sony's Playstation 4 has completely re shaped my perception about what gaming in the living room can be. Don't get me wrong, we enjoyed the Wii U, it's a fantastic gadget, but third party developers have abandoned it, it's utility beyond gaming is limited, and the number of peripherals we had amassed to play this game or that one had become silly. Balance boards and nun chucks and weird controllers with a screen built in that only three or four titles really take good advantage of... We grew tired of the set up routine for each game we wanted to play.

The PS4, I don't care if games are not mastered in pure 1080P, I don't care if some have to be optimized down to 30 FPS to play smooth, I don't care that there isn't anything particularly new or innovative about the controller design. That stuff just works, it's fun. Everything about it, the UI is much better than the Steam big picture mode, more complete, it's easier to find and sort your content. As a home entertainment platform it's unbelievable that $350 gets your a phenomenal piece of gaming hardware with a great networked blu ray and smart HDTV device... It does everything, and honestly it does it all well. I don't know what Sony is doing on their end to deliver streaming video, but WOW! I have experimented with some of the free HD video on their service and everything loads lightning fast in fantastic quality. I have yet to try Playstation Now but I can't wait to give it a go. Everything about my PS4 experience has been gold, including experiencing Naughty Dog's titles for the first time... I'm halfway into The Last of Us remastered and, and have had my first taste of Uncharted and I'm going to say, best game developer in the world right now. Better than Valve.

For me, PC gaming in the living room is dead. There isn't a compelling reason to put yourself through the torture and expense to set it up. PC gaming is PC gaming, mobile is mobile, and the living room is the living room. I had such high hopes that Valve would be brilliant enough to merge two of those spaces in a practical and cost effective way for everyone. I'm sorry to say they didn't make it there, and after trying the PS4, I can't imagine anything providing a better more complete piece of home entertainment hardware for the living room that comes at a fair price with minimal fuss to get it going.

Valve, if anyone is listening, stop wasting everyone's time and please, please, please work on a AAA game, preferably Half Life 3, but so long as it's a great game I don't care. Be great at something again. Steam feels like a dated crusty old platform, the controller is a flop, the link is worthless. Get back to your core competency, be a great game developer.

Ladies and gentlemen, Hell has frozen over, I'm into a traditional game console again. In fact I'm certain even if DX12 finally grows legs and hits the ground running hard in another year or so with broad software support, I don't know it it's going to be enough to make Steam Machines a practical platform vs. something as inexpensive and elegantly designed as the PS4. In fact, recent disappointments with Windows 10 drivers, crossfire abandonment by developers and other hardware costs to get the optimal experience (FreeSync monitor, replacement GPU, CPU so on so forth) I'm questioning the sanity of my most beloved hobby for the first time in many years. The PS4 is that good. Sony you made me question everything! It makes me feel kinda dirty inside, but I like it.



  • primesuspectprimesuspect Beepin n' Boopin Detroit, MI Icrontian

    All totally valid critiques. I always loved the PSx platform. My Playstation, PS2, PS3, and Vita have given me some fantastic gaming memories, including my all-time favorite game ever, Dragon Quest VIII. I can't wait to get a PS4. If only my damned dog would stop costing me a fortune.

  • IlriyasIlriyas The Syrupy Canadian Toronto, Ontario Icrontian

    I grabbed a PS4 a few months ago under peer pressure, at first I was considering taking it back because the only game I was playing was Bloodborne (Didn't want any other games at the time) and I didn't think I could foot the bill.

    Then I found out about the Uncharted games, (Literally one of my favourite series of all time at this point, the characterization and vistas are bloody amazing) and all the games my PC couldn't reliably run and I'm loving the decision.

    I've played nothing but Witcher 3 for like 2 weeks now and I've got the next Assassin's Creed lined up after that. (Then Fallout 4 in a week)

    Also there's that PS4 streaming thing for like $3.99 a month that lets you play as many old titles as you want as long as you have the bandwidth/speed for it.

    PS4 a best.

  • SonorousSonorous F@H Fanatic US Icrontian

    I thought the Xbox One would yield a similar success story for me. I have tried playing a few titles via Big Picture streaming from my main rig and it's usually acceptable, but not the greatest. I have a latency issue with Big Picture. I press jump and a second goes by and then the character jumps. I've tried Portal 2 and Skyrim. Both unplayable for me due to this issue. Enter the Xbox One. At first I was playing all sorts of games on the One. Madden, GTAV, Forza and Life is Strange. Sometime after I got back into FFXIV I fell out of love with the One for games. I didn't like the subpar graphics compared to what my 290x could churn out. I lost my ability to use the controller. I wasn't excited about gaming on it any more. So now it's just a media playback whore. That damned Xbox is turned on every single day, even to just watch TV, but gaming on it has gone by the wayside. I've always loved playing on a console. I've had pretty much every major one except the Gamecube and Wii/Wii-U. Maybe a PS4 will rekindle the embers for me. That may be a $350 pipe dream as well.

  • KarmaKarma Likes yoga Icrontian

    Were people really clamoring for the steam controller and streaming? Seemed like it was niche at best.

  • SonorousSonorous F@H Fanatic US Icrontian
    edited November 2015

    @Karma said:
    Were people really clamoring for the steam controller and streaming? Seemed like it was niche at best.

    I've known people to be excited about that stuff for a while now. Specifically I have seen fanboys in comments of Kotaku and Engadget articles.

  • primesuspectprimesuspect Beepin n' Boopin Detroit, MI Icrontian

    I pre-ordered the Steam Controller. We'll see how much I like it. I don't have super high hopes.

  • mertesnmertesn I am Bobby Miller Yukon, OK Icrontian

    @primesuspect said:
    I pre-ordered the Steam Controller. We'll see how much I like it. I don't have super high hopes.

    I have it. As a general HTPC controller it's good. As a gaming controller it's terrible.

  • CrazyJoeCrazyJoe Winter Springs, FL Icrontian

    The original Playstation was the first console I ever bought for myself and I loved it. Playing Metal Gear on that (I still remember the craziness of the Psycho Mantis battle) was fantastic as well as other games. Since then though I've had Xbox and Nintendo consoles. I purchased the Wii U and love it for the games that I play on it. (Mario, Zelda and Lego City) I have the Xbox One that I won at Epic a few years ago and it's fantastic. I use it every day, although I use the Media Center options much more than I game on it. I have been playing the shit out of Lego Dimensions though and that's a blast.

  • @primesuspect - I may have gotten more out of it if I maintained some patience, but even then I know without a doubt that it isn't going to replace the mouse and keyboard in games that play best that way, in fact, for shooters I think a dual stick with a little aim assist is a better experience. I tried it with multiple games, what really disappointed me was standard console games like racers and fighters, it doesn't feel right at all. I appreciate Valve's effort and lord knows with the push on Steam machines and this controller they really want their platform in the living room. Hell I wanted it in the living room badly, but reality has set in for me.... There is a reason why proprietary consoles still occupy that space. They still do the living room better and likely will for a few more years at least.

    That said, I hope you see some value in it that I didn't have the patience to find. I imagined it as something that it wasn't and I set my expectations very high, after about five days I was already finished fooling with it. I took it back. I might have been more patient with the controller but the Steam Link was a big part of my plan, and that I found to be entirely useless.

    I haven't owned a non Nintendo console since my fourth Xbox 360 red ring. I gave up on that platform right around 2007 or so and haven't even considered going back to one of the mainstream consoles until now. I have just been far too pleased with PC gaming but right now I see PC gaming in a rut. It isn't that it not better for many experiences, it still is and can be so much more when everything goes right. That said my crossfire experience in the last year or so has gone way down, less developers are supporting it. Mantle was actually really exciting then AMD said nevermind on that, now DX12 is a thing but it's developing so slowly. HSA was supposed to balance the load and give us better performance for less investment but it's looking like it's mostly dependent on how developers want to leverage it and with the competition in the space and the pissing match about how to implement, it's destroying the hobby for everyone except the most die hard heavy spenders. PC hardware vendors have developed some pretty exciting stuff, but it takes software developers, advanced API's and a solid OS to bring it all together, and it feels like the right really doesn't know what the left is doing. I feel like waiting for PC gaming to catch up with the quality of the hardware is a fools bet. About five years ago I could make an elegant argument for why PC gaming offered a better value investment vs. consoles. Right now.... I can't. Not after playing on the PS4. There is something to be said for cohesion. All the parts fitting together. Valve can't do it, the don't have enough control over a space that is far too open and variable.

    I'm having fun gaming again and it's on a console. I just don't understand how this happened.

Sign In or Register to comment.