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10 Days That May Have Changed Everything For PlayStation

10 Days That May Have Changed Everything For PlayStation

Within the space of only 10 days Sony has seen two huge announcements that could well change the way it handles its videogame business. First came the confirmation of Valve’s Steam support for Portal 2 and all the trappings that it would entail and then last week we saw the announcement and first details of a new handheld console, codenamed the Next Generation Portable. While the later announcement has clearly out-shadowed the former, in combination they could have a huge impact.

Let’s start at the beginning. Valve’s E3 announcement that Portal 2 would be coming to PS3 was pretty big, but what got a lot of us much more excited was the idea that Steam would be coming with it. Those of you not familiar with Valve’s Steam service may be wondering what the big deal is, but it has revolutionised the way PC gamers download, play and save their games. The most important features for PS3 owners will be cross-platform play and chat (with Mac and PC users) and Cloud saving (meaning your save game is held on the internet for you to pick up wherever you like, on another machine or on another platform).

Those features on one game is exciting. Those features on a whole bunch of games over the coming years would be extraordinary. Valve is taking a tentative approach to bringing Steam to the PS3. Portal 2 is its trojan horse, its way of testing the water and seeing how things feel. If it proves popular the sky could be the limit and when you add the NGP to that equation things get a lot more exciting.

Power has been the key focus of a lot of comment on the NGP so far. Functionality at the moment remains largely rumour and speculation. The touch screen and back panel could well be used in interesting and unforeseen ways. The addition of a second analogue stick will make genres that were once clunky on the PSP work much more smoothly (FPS games for example) and 3G support (assuming you get the model that features this function) would take multiplayer gaming in a new direction.

But what really got me thinking were comments regarding the transferring of games from PS3 to NGP, taking the game you were playing in your living room out with you on the road. Combine that with Cloud saving and cross platform support and the connectivity of the NGP with the rest of the world becomes astounding.

These two things combined could well change the way we think about our gaming experience, blurring the line between home and mobile gaming. What a future we have in store.

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