PS4 and Xbox One high volumes no problem for AMD

AMD’s Saeid Moshkelani on his company’s next-gen “clean sweep” and high-end PCs driving innovation

PS4 and Xbox One AMD

AMD owns the next-generation of consoles. In the past, game consoles were more custom and piecemeal: a little IBM here, some AMD there, a tiny bit of Nvidia. With the reveal of the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Wii U, it’s clear that AMD has put significant legwork into locking its PC competition out of the game console market. At E3 2013, GamesIndustry International spoke with AMD corporate vice president and general manager of Semi-Custom Business Saeid Moshkelani about the milestone and AMD’s place in the game industry.

“It is a very, very proud moment,” replied Moshkelani when asked about AMD’s position in the next generation. “They are very complex projects, very complex designs, and it doesn’t happen overnight. It has been a journey of over two years in development to get to today.”

The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One have semi-custom AMD Jaguar system-on-a-chips (SoC) at their core, while the Nintendo Wii U has an AMD Radeon graphics processor paired with an IBM PowerPC CPU. Moshkelani explained that all the chips we designed in concert with the platform holders, based on “very different visions and philosophies.”

“There were different teams that were dedicated to these projects, working with the customer and collaborating with them to develop these chips,” he said.

xboxoneMicrosoft’s Xbox One, open for all to see.

Microsoft’s Xbox One and Sony’s PlayStation 4 are expected to launch this holiday season. While Microsoft has had a rough time post-E3, Sony has raised sales estimates of the PlayStation 4 and GameTrailers recently reported that Sony has also allowed GameStop to take “unlimited” pre-orders on the PlayStation 4. We asked Moshkelani if AMD was prepared to handle the demand for both consoles on the manufacturing side.

“From a manufacturing perspective, in a year we ship tens of millions of units,” he replied. “So we have a very strong manufacturing base for our APUs and discrete graphics. We leverage the same manufacturing infrastructure to develop for game consoles. So the volumes were not something that actually raised an eyebrow for us, because we’re already in high-volume manufacturing.”

Having a hold on the graphics side of all three consoles puts AMD in a unique position as a bridge between PCs and consoles. Moshkelani and AMD Global Communications Travis Williams both agreed that game development and porting between both platforms can be smoother with AMD’s help.

“We are working with all of the major developers for PC games, as part of our strategy for PC products. It enables the developers to optimize their games on PCs by working with us. And then at some point, they can port those to consoles,” said Moshkalani. “Historically, the consoles were all different architecture. Porting from PC to PowerPC architecture was not as easy. AMD makes it much easier to port games back and forth.”

ps4Sony’s PlayStation 4 could be the primary driver of AMD SoC sales this holiday.

“You look at the PS4 and the Xbox One now being x86-based and you look at where gaming is in the PC industry. So now you have game developers coding for x86, working with the console vendors, working with AMD to optimize their solutions for x86. It helps speed time to market, lowers costs, and now they don’t have to worry about coding for different platforms across console and PC,” added Williams.

Despite the fact that many have repeatedly predicted the death of the PC market with the rise of tablet and smartphone gaming, Moshekelani said that AMD’s discrete GPU division is “thriving and growing.” He and Williams both believe that high-end PC gaming will continue on as a driver of future innovation.

“If you look at what drives innovation, it’s the investment and research in those high-end products,” explained Williams. “That’s what helps fuel products like the SoCs you see in consoles and notebooks. That’s going to continue to be a huge revenue stream for AMD. If you look at what we announced today, it’s a 5GHz CPU. That should answer your question about our commitment to high-end PC gaming.”

“Those are the technology drivers. In 2000 or 2001, we were the first one to announce the 1GHz CPU. Today, we’re the first ones to cross 5GHz,” added Moshkelani. “That trend is going to continue. The demand for more horsepower is always going to be there. What is added to it is battery life. Consumers want all of the horsepower, but they want it to have a 15-hour or 24-hour battery life. That changes the design target to something new, but that technology that you develop [at the high-end] is what gets taken to new markets.”

“If you look at what drives innovation, it’s the investment and research in high-end products”

AMD Global Communications Travis Williams

AMD’s semi-custom division is a way to help the company diversify its business, according to Moshkelani. During its Q3 2012 earnings release, AMD CEO Rory Read said that the company wanted 40 to 50 percent of its revenue to come from non-PC-related sources. Moshkelani agreed that semi-custom and embedded chips are “going to be a larger portion of the business than they traditionally have been.” He said the shift isn’t as drastic for AMD as many think, with mobile, gaming handhelds, and cloud gaming all being on the roadmap.

“Developing products that are suited for tablets or mobile computing is absolutely something that we are focusing on. It’s not something where we have to do something drastically different. We know how to implement low-power technology. It wasn’t a necessity for us before, but now that we are focusing on tablets and ultra-thin notebooks, absolutely,” he said.

“One of our goals is to be the dominant player in game consoles, handheld, and cloud gaming. The semi-custom initiative is not just about gaming. There are other markets that we’re going after. There are markets where AMD does not currently play. We are using the AMD intellectual property, the AMD know-how in engineering, and being able to provide unique solutions for market segments that are growing,” Moshekelani explained. “But gaming is our DNA. It’s not just this generation of consoles. We had a clean sweep with this generation, but we were in Xbox 360 and Gamecube. Gaming has always been a part of our business. We want to be the dominant player in gaming SoCs.”



Escaping the Cell: Are Developers Sold on PS4?

From indies to triple-A developers, we get the reaction to the PlayStation 4 from those making games

Are Developers Sold on PS4?

Sony’s initial pitch for the long-awaited PlayStation 4 is that it’s developer-centric hardware, designed with the intention of reducing financial, technical and administrative barriers to publishing on home consoles. The PlayStation 3 was famously obtuse, but according to new system architect Mark Cerny, Sony has built the PlayStation 4 as “a platform by game creators, for game creators.”

GamesIndustry International approached developers with real-world experience of creating games – from indie to triple-A, mobile to console – to gauge their initial reactions to the specifications, services and software from a company finally lifting the lid on its next-generation gaming ambitions.

Our panellists were:

  • Dominic Matthews, Ninja Theory
  • Matthew Seymour, Heavy Iron Games
  • Robert Troughton, Pitbull Studios
  • Will Luton, mobile and free-to-play games consultant
  • Simon Barratt, Four Door Lemon
  • James Brooksby, Born Ready Games
  • Mike Bithell, indie game developer
  • Simon Prytherch, Fluid Games
  • Martyn Brown, Insight for Hire

What were the standout features of the PlayStation 4 reveal for you?

Dominic Matthews: I think it got glossed over a little, but hearing Sony’s intended commitment to self-publishing on PlayStation 4 sounds very promising. The lower the barriers to entry the more diversity and creativity we’re going to see in video games. It was also very interesting to see Sony not only talk about the strong social aspect of future gaming but actually go as far as integrate a Share button into the control pad. A big step in recognising how players want to interact with each other outside of gameplay.

“Many of the past pledges that came from all the first-party manufacturers on their current generation systems look like they will now become realities”

Matthew Seymour

Matthew Seymour: The standout was the whole and very comprehensive PlayStation 4 package. Many of the past pledges that came from all the first-party manufacturers on their current generation systems look like they will now become realities with the release of the PS4. You’ll have the horsepower to create eye-popping games with amazing physics while offering up varied interface opportunities but also the robust connectivity to play what you want, when you want, on any Sony device you may have. It’s really all about the one-stop shop if you want to succeed these days, just ask the folks at Apple and Amazon.

Robert Troughton: I loved that it was gaming-centric. They’ve chosen components which should allow them to release an affordable console that is still a big leap from the last generation. For me, I think the standout feature is going to be the near-instant play where gamers won’t need to wait for lengthy installs – a huge problem on PS3 – or long downloads. There are still the gimmicks there – the touch control on Dual Shock, the PlayStation Eye stuff, I’ll be interested to see how those are brought into games – but those do still seem like unproven gimmicks to me.

Simon Barratt: It was great to see the specifications coming out from Sony, as exciting as the leak stories all are for people it does hurt a lot of small and medium developers as the platform holders for obvious reasons try to tighten up the people who ‘need to know’ ahead of announcements.

New PS4 ControllerThe Share button. A big step in recognizing how players want to interact with each other outside of gameplay.

On the technical side of things the 8GB of GDDR5 confirmation was really exciting, the number of parallel cores and the speed of the memory containing the data that those cores operate on is the most important thing for modern games, be it more ‘out there’ indie games, big all action first-person shooter games or somewhere in between. I think people quickly jump to the conclusion that somehow that doesn’t matter for certain innovative games but the quicker and easier it is to have a performant game running on a platform the more focus can go into the gameplay iteration, polish and overall feel.

Feature wise, I’m really excited about the Gaikai integration, / ustream and also YouTube channels covering Minecraft and such have become a massive part of a lot of gamers lives. I had a lot of fun even with the initial social gameplay aspects in OnLive and it’s great to see Sony make this a core part of their new offering. It was also good to see them acknowledge the need for gamers to get up and running quicker, while it’s great to be able to get content updates and patches all the time I see and hear a lot of frustration regarding updates from gamers on all major console platforms.

James Brooksby: As a developer, the standout feature is the ease of which we will be able to develop for this new system compared to the previous generations of console machines, that have slowed fast paced and iterative development; a wise move indeed. Secondly, the social aspects of the PS4 are going to be great; watching and interacting with others gameplay streams is going to make playing and sharing really fun.

Mike Bithell: I found myself getting far more excited about the service-side stuff than the games. The integration of Gaikai has been handled really smartly, and I think that video record/upload stuff is going to be something of a Trojan horse. I prattle on to anyone who’ll listen about how big a part I think YouTube plays in indie game success nowadays, and putting that element of performance and sharing front and center is a great statement of intent.

“I prattle on to anyone who’ll listen about how big a part YouTube plays in indie game success, and putting that element of performance and sharing front and center is a great statement of intent”

Mike Bithell

Will Luton: It was always going to be what David Perry had to say – I have a great deal of respect for him. Gaikai and the cloud are the best link Sony has to the future of games: moving away from expensive iterative hardware launches to make PlayStation a service. The money is always in access to content, expensive specialist hardware is a barrier.

Looking at the early technical specs and services, how does this change the type of games you’re able to create? Can we expect significantly better or alternative gaming experiences?

Jonathan Blow’s The Witness. ‘A pretty big statement,’ to indies like Mike Bithell.

Dominic Matthews: Aside for the more powerful hardware which will obviously allow us to make better looking, smoother experiences, it’s clear that the PlayStation 4 isn’t just about power. I think the PlayStation 4 will ask different questions of developers, such as “how do people play together,” “how do players engage with the game away from the main console,” “how are you going to take advantage of the streaming technology.” Ultimately, the aim is to make gaming more fun, which the answers to these questions have the potential to do.

Matthew Seymour: The types of games we can make for the PlayStation 4 go right back to the wide range of opportunities seemingly built into this new and accessible system, and Sony’s efforts in streamlining the publishing pipeline for the establishment and independents alike. From the looks of things right now, they’re building it and if the audience comes along for the ride, there is nothing stopping us from creating and publishing what we believe they’ll want to play and enjoy.

Robert Troughton: With the improved hardware, as well as improved tools offered by such as Unreal Engine 4, I believe we’re going to see another big leap in quality. Environments will undoubtedly become less static, characters and objects will be much more dynamic and reactive to player interactions. It’s going to be fantastic to see what developers do with all of this.

“The games on display were nothing that couldn’t be done on other hardware and indeed were, for the most part, the same old staples of AAA”

Will Luton

Simon Barratt: As much as I fondly think back to Vector Unit programming on the PlayStation 2, having a PC-like architecture is great news for everyone especially smaller teams who don’t have the time or resources to focus on lots of unique hardware designs. This means we can focus more on the gameplay and the player focused aspects of the game. Players don’t really care what is going on in between the game and the hardware only what they see and feel on the game-to-player part of the equation. This architecture removes that headache and lets us get on with spending our time where we want to be, which will bring more polished and interesting gaming experiences from studios of all sizes.

We’ve also seen some really great development tools from Sony both as the PS3 has developed and with the Vita which many developers say are some of the best tools we’ve worked with as an industry. Again, this is an important aspect in increasing the time we spend on the game rather than fiddly things that gamers just don’t see.

Will Luton: The games on display were nothing that couldn’t be done on other hardware and indeed were, for the most part, the same old staples of AAA. Even whatever it was that Media Molecule were demoing, used the Move. Hardware we already have. There’s possibly new gimmicks in having players jump in to your game via Gaikai, but the video sharing elements have been done software side for a long while. Screen sharing with Vita is neat, but again, it doesn’t make new experiences possible – it apes the Wii U and the other console-handheld link ups in history.

However, what is very heartening is the ostensible opening of the platform for smaller developers. Sony needs to drop the barriers and let small devs create what they wish. The mentality is to protect the platform from dross, yet open platforms with a content meritocracies have been producing the exciting outlier hits, like Minecraft and Angry Birds, amongst the crap which mostly gets little visibility. Consoles need this content first, not years down the line.

It’s still very much an unknown how this new openness will work. [The initial contact] for indies to register interest still goes to a page asking for NDAs, company information and tools loan agreements.

“Bigger games will take longer to make and with bigger teams, leading to more risk at publisher level. That just means publishers will have no other choice than mitigate those risks and play safe”

Martyn Brown

Martyn Brown: I’m still not sure people want alternative or new experiences. Dealing with the mass market tends to ensure everyone dials down to the lowest common denominator. I wouldn’t expect much more than similar successful genres and titles to any other generation, albeit more socially connected.

I’m not sure I really agree that more polygons and bigger worlds equal better games. Certainly bigger games will take longer to make (especially encompassing all the new features) and with bigger teams, leading to bigger budgets and more risk at publisher level. So I think that just means largely those publishers will have no other choice than mitigate those risks and play safe. Especially in a marketplace with serious questions being asked about the viability of the retail sector and a background given that broadband internet is not ubiquitous as yet. The mass market speed (up and down) will dictate if this works or not, I just hope it’s not too premature in what it’s trying to do.

Simon Prytherch: The exciting thing for us is the track pad for touch screen-like control mechanics of swipe, drag and draw. There is also mention of an iOS and Android app for second-screen and secondary controls. This combined with the integration with cloud and Vita should make for some great connected experiences and games with swipe and draw control mechanics.

Bungie’s Destiny. ‘It’s interesting to see that some of the old Xbox-exclusive developers are working on PS4 now,’ says Troughton.

The instant sharing will have a big impact on the social nature of how we play games. I’m interested to see how your friends will be able to interact with this feature and how it will help to market your game to a new audience.

Mike Bithell: There were some interesting tidbits there. Vita as a second screen, the 3D camera to detect room and controller precisely, there are definitely some possibilities there. I’m just crossing my fingers that the new layout hasn’t broken the DualShock magic. As for system spec, we’re seeing a smaller jump visually, but at my end of the scale, that just means less framerate headaches. I’ll not be making David Cage-beating visuals any time soon, it’ll serve my stuff nicely.

Did the PS4 presentation make you feel more or less excited about the future possibilities for PlayStation gaming? Do you personally see a new opportunity to develop on Sony platforms?

Robert Troughton: I felt much more confident about Sony going into the next generation after watching this. The Vita, for me, was a disappointment. So it’s great to see that they have their mojo back. It’s interesting to see that some of the old Xbox-exclusive developers are working on PS4 now too. I think with the Xbox 360/PS3, that was a big part of the war – more so than the hardware itself – so I’ll be looking forward to Microsoft’s announcements and follow ups from Sony about which developers each have coerced into complete or timed exclusives.

James Brooksby wants to see Sony ’embracing the gamers that got them to the top and not being distracted by non game opportunities’.

Matthew Seymour: I’m excited about the future and the new opportunities with Sony because it seems the truly accessible hardware and connectivity is in a place where all those promises we all made in the past to our gaming audience can finally be realized.

Mike Bithell: It’s a strong console, with a very impressive service attached. The appearance by Jonathan Blow is a pretty big statement to guys like me too. Sony are already doing a lot to get indies on to their hardware, I’m sure that’ll continue, and I’d love to be a part of it.

Dominic Matthews: I’m excited by the PlayStation 4, but at the same time I recognise the need for console gaming to change. Mobile gaming has overtaken console gaming in the way that it engages players, offers them experiences suited to their lives and allows them to connect with friends easily and without barriers. Aside from making large scale, spectacular power harnessing games for the PlayStation 4, I see the PlayStation 4 as an opportunity to change the types of games that we all make and think more about the player and not just the game.

“I would love to see Sony fully embrace digital and allow developers to set prices – the days of every console game costing $60 are surely coming to an end”

Dominic Matthews

James Brooksby: My family and friends and I have had some of the greatest gaming experiences on PlayStation platforms over the years. What I have seen and believe to be coming made me very excited about the future of PlayStation in all its guises. For us, it’s definitely opened up a new opportunity as PlayStation is a platform that we can publish our games directly on it will be much easier to develop for than previous consoles.

Will Luton: It’s hard to tell at this point. We got a bit of a sales pitch on lots of the things we’ve seen before – more teraflops, physics demos, slightly-closer-to-photorealism – it’s diminishing returns. That wasn’t exciting to me, but it is to some.

What else would you like to see Sony do in this new generation of video gaming?

Robert Troughton: Pricing is going to be very important. Will the consoles be subsidised by games, subscription to services or suchlike? Will they be released making a loss again? Consumers’ pockets are even tighter this time around so I do feel this is going to be a very important factor in the success of any of the new consoles.

Mike Bithell: Hunker down and serve the gamers. As it stands, and at the price at which it’s likely to be placed, the casual audience are unlikely to make the jump. For the next few years, Sony needs to keep on serving the kinds of people who stayed up to watch the video. This is a strong start, and I’m looking forward to standing in line for one this winter.

“Pricing is going to be very important. Will the consoles be subsidized by games, subscription to services or suchlike? Will they be released making a loss again?”

Robert Troughton

Matthew Seymour: Without going into more crazy things like VR helmets, the big thing I’d like to see to ensure the success of Sony and the gaming industry as a whole in the near future is to keep the price point reasonable for both software and hardware. And the better incorporation of broadcast TV viewing in the form of tightly and elegantly integrated electronic programming guides.

James Brooksby: I would like to see Sony embracing the gamers that got them to the top and not being too distracted by non videogame opportunities that may drag the PlayStation away from doing what it does best: play games. And I want to see Sony do well. Diversity is good, different ways for people to discover and enjoy games is good.

Will Luton: The problem with console gaming is that people who buy them are self-identifying “gamers” – they have to be. It’s a slowly growing demographic. The opportunity for games in the future is in platforms that, like social web or mobile, are in front of everyone and offer experiences that are wide appeal and cheap, if not free. People didn’t buy iPhones for Angry Birds or join Facebook for FarmVille, it’s something non-gamers found whilst they were there.

I’d like to see Sony abandon the hardware refresh mentality and transform PlayStation in to a service for games (also music, film and TV) included in every television or box they or anyone else sells, with new and interesting content that is long-form and narrative-driven but offering something other than Übermensch violence. There’s a great deal of talent in games and I’d like to see it put to use on something new, giving the cinematic experiences they make to everyone and letting games compete culturally with all the other media art forms.

Simon Prytherch wants to see ‘deeper integration of the PS4 with both mobile and Vita, so that players can take their game with them’.

Martyn Brown: They’ve made a lot of bold statements about how things will work, so I’d settle for seeing all that happen quickly. I got the impression that a lot of this stuff will be phased in over time, not out of the box, which was a problem for PS3 initially – especially for the PSN service. Developers used to complain about games being patched on day one, now it’s hardware.

Simon Prytherch: I’d like to see deeper integration of the PS4 with both mobile and Vita, so that players can take their game with them when they are not at home. Social network integration, Gaikai and the cloud services are just the first steps.

Dominic Matthews: I would love to see Sony fully embrace digital and allow developers to set prices – the days of every console game costing $60 are surely coming to an end.



Sony: PS4 will play used games

Sony Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida has confirmed that the PlayStation 4 will play pre-owned games, despite earlier reports.

Shuhei Yoshida

“That’s the general expectation by consumers,” he explained, before confirming the capability to Eurogamer.

“They purchase physical form, they want to use it everywhere, right? So that’s my expectation.”

Eurogamer later heard from a separate Sony source that the patent that started rumours of second-hand games being blocked didn’t in fact relate to PS4.

Yoshida was less transparent on the European release date however. While the date is set for Christmas for the US and Japan, Europe has traditionally seen a later release for consoles.

“Europe is an enormously important market,” he said.

“That’s no question. So I hope European consumers can play PS4 as soon as it’s available somewhere, but I’m not making promises.”

PlayStation 3 launched in Europe a full four months after the US and Japan, and fans will be keen to hear reassurance the same delays won’t happen again.

“For one thing the system has to be complete and we have to understand the manufacturing pace of it. Then we have to kind of look at the demand predictions and we have to decide whether we can go global or like [the rumour]. So it takes more time for us to know that.”



Why We Love Persona 4

Persona 4

Ask ten people why they play video games and you’ll get twenty different answers. Some will say they like taking out their anger on a military battlefield, shooting up friends and enemies for better ranks on a virtual scorecard. Others might want to go on surreal, dreamy adventures through deserts and mountains and rivers of fire. At least one or two people will say they just like to have fun.

But one of the more interesting answers is one that fewer people would like to admit: Video games are an escape. They let us forget about our troubles and inhabit other peoples’ brains and bodies. The problems in video games always have quantifiable, achievable solutions. Where life is messy, video games are neat.

Maybe that’s why everybody loves Persona 4.

Persona 4, in case you’re unfamiliar, is a Japanese role-playing game designed by a quirky company called Atlus. It’s a high school simulator, a murder mystery, and a hardcore dungeon crawler. You, a high school student, might spend a morning taking a history exam, lunchtime eating ramen on the roof with the girl you want to date, and the afternoon fighting shadow monsters in the fantasy world you access by walking into your television.

Yeah. It’s a weird game.

It’s also a beloved game, and over the past few weeks, I’ve spent a great deal of time playing the Vita remake, Persona 4 Golden (out Tuesday—our review should be up around then) and trying to figure out what makes it so special. This is my first time with the game; I’ve played Persona 3, but this is my maiden voyage through its sequel, which is considered by many to be the superior experience.

There are a lot of reasons to love Persona 4. For Americans, interacting with virtual characters in the sleepy city of Inaba, Japan is like peeking into the window of another world, a world where people sit on cushions to eat dinner, where they address each other with honorifics and go to school on Saturdays. It’s culture shock in a way that few other games have captured: Japan’s take on Japan is absolutely fascinating from an outsider’s perspective.

The real fantasy of Persona 4 is not the talking bear or the monsters that live inside your television. The real fantasy ofPersona 4 is the seductive lie of perfection.

The writing is also stellar: the translators over at Atlus have done a tremendous job bringing Persona 4 to English. Everything follows a certain rhythm: whether you’re taking a pop quiz in class or sitting out to lunch with some friends, the structure is so tight and punchy that it feels like a sitcom whose writing has been workshopped over and over to the point of perfection. Video games are usually much looser. Even when the game is barking orders at you—annoying lines like “You should go to sleep” or “You shouldn’t talk to him right now” must make some game designers want to take an Evoker to the head—it’s hard not to be charmed by the experience.

And the people, the characters inhabiting this world ofPersona 4, are appealing even when they’re one-note. These high school kids are also just like us—or at least like we were when we were in high school. The characters are confused, emotionally charged, jacked up on adolescent hormones. When they talk, they leave important things unsaid: one character, Kanji, spends a great deal of time dealing with sexual confusion, but never makes his sexuality quite clear, probably because he’s 15. He has no idea what he wants, how he feels, how he thinks.

But these people are also very much not like us, and we find solace escaping into their world because of that. Real humans are hypocritical, inconsistent, constantly questioning themselves and hurting each other. Each member of Persona 4‘s gang of Scooby-Doo-like misfits is driven and confident. They build up their stats and level up and grow more powerful in mechanical fashion. No matter how frustrating it might seem when they have no leads on their ongoing murder investigation, we all know they will find something. It’s a video game. There’s always an answer.

The real fantasy of Persona 4 is not the talking bear or the monsters that live inside your television. The real fantasy of Persona 4 is the seductive lie of perfection. This is a world where building friendship is a quantifiable activity, where you can start a relationship just by selecting the right bit of dialogue from a list of three options. Relationships are straightforward and concrete, even when the characters are ambiguous and confused.

To build relationships in Persona—an activity that is essential for improving your characters’ performances in combat—you simply have to talk to people. If you want to go on a date with a girl, you walk up to her and say “hey, let’s go on a date.” If you want to hang out with your goofy best friend, you call him up at the movie theater and say “get on over here, buddy, we’re watching Star Wars.” These people never say no to you. There is no rejection. They are always upset if you turn down their requests.

In the real world, people will betray you. Your friendships can be frustratingly ephemeral, and your relationships can be as torturous as they are blissful. You will never get everything you want. You will be rejected.

In Persona 4, your character is silent and suave, beloved by every girl he sees. He has a rolodex full of people to see and hang out with, and building up a connection with someone is as simple as going to band practice, or heading downstairs and talking to one of his many friends and girlfriends. They always want to talk to him. They don’t betray his trust or break his heart.

Developing relationships in Persona 4 is a mechanical activity, like piecing together a watch or solving a puzzle that always has a guaranteed, if not always obvious solution. You won’t regret leaving someone or missing an opportunity to find love, or friendship, or comfort. You rarely have to worry about losing someone forever; if you make the wrong choice today, all you have to do is come back tomorrow and start up another conversation. Keep on leveling up that relationship.

The world of Persona 4 is surreal and unusual and fascinating and, in many ways, despite its hardships, it is also ideal. Intangible qualities are measured by statistics. Want to be more manly? Go read a book called Forever Macho. Want to learn how to be more diligent? Sit at your desk and start folding envelopes. Need a quick burst of knowledge? Head to your room, pick up a book, and watch your stats go up.

You never fail at studying. You are never sent to remedial courses because you just can’t seem to keep pace with your classmates. You never have to deal with financial hardship or losing the spark in a relationship that seemed like it was going to last forever.

Even when it’s capturing real life, Persona 4 is absolutely nothing like real life. Maybe that’s why we like it so much.

The characters in Persona 4—fascinating, relatable characters whose internal dilemmas are as interesting as their awkward encounters—confront their demons as literal demons. To fight off her indecisiveness, Yukiko fights a shadow of herself. When dealing with his sexual ambiguity, Kanji has to confront a giant, sexually confused monster. Problems are solved with fights. Some of these boss battles are difficult, but they can always be overcome. They can always be confronted. There’s always an answer.

Don’t you wish real life was that easy?


Source: Kotaku

Persona 4 Golden: The Highest Rated PS Vita Game of All Time

Persona 4:Golden

Back before the PlayStation Vita launched in February, Persona 4 Golden was a distant dream in most gamers minds, with Uncharted: Golden Abyss,Assassin’s Creed III: LiberationResistance: Burning SkiesCall of Duty: Black Ops DeclassifiedGravity Rush, and more getting the most attention.

Fast-forward 9 months and Persona 4 Golden is now officially the highest rated PlayStation Vita title on both Metacritic (94/100) and Gamerankings (93.70%), most likely thanks to Ryan’s amazing review of the RPG.

In case you were curious, the next closest games to Persona 4 Golden on Metacritic are Rayman Origins and Little Big Planet PS Vita at 88/100, withTales From Space: Mutant Blobs Attack at 86/100. Gamerankings then has Rayman Origins at 89.59% and Little Big Planet PS Vita at 88.70%.

With our Game of the Year Awards being handed out soon, don’t be surprised if Persona 4 Golden gets some high honors from us.

How are you enjoying P4G? Let us know in the comments below.