It’s been another strange week in tech, with coronavirus lockdown keeping industry giants relatively quiet. However, there’s still plenty of attention on tech’s big stories, as millions of people are stuck at home and dependent on games, gizmos and gadgets to keep them sane.
This week that big news was the arrival of PS5’s DualSense controller, the first real look we’ve had at any physical aspect of the console. On the less fortunate side of things, streaming service Quibi launched but didn’t get the reception it had hoped for.
Winner: PS5 DualSense controller
‘So, we finally got to see the PS5 controller, what’s all the fuss about?’ – I may, or may not hear you cry, dependent on quite how excitedly you’re waiting for Sony’s next-gen console.
Well, the excitement is born out of the fact that this is the very first piece of physical equipment we’ve seen related to the PS5. We haven’t seen the console itself yet, or any other potential accessories. Sony released some specs in a dry online presentation, but haven’t shown us what anything looks like, until now.
And it looks pretty good, doesn’t it? Unexpectedly, the controller that hove into view on Tuesday wasn’t black. Shock horror. Instead, Sony departed from the usual colour scheme, offering a lighter colour palette and a new name – DualSense instead of the DualShock 5 everyone was expecting.
It’s not worlds apart from the DualShock 4, other than the colour. But it packs some interesting new features. The light bar now appears on the front of the controller, facing the player, and the new adaptive shoulder button set-up is constructed so that players “feel the tension of [their] actions, like when drawing a bow to shoot an arrow” according to Sony. Meanwhile, the addition of haptic feedback has the potential to add to many gaming experiences, driving through mud, climbing mountains and much more.
The reveal of this controller saw Sony dominate tech news this week, but we’re hoping to see some more of the actual console soon. Sadly, the likelihood is there’s still a long wait ahead before we see anything else.
Quibi (short for ‘Quick Bites’) launched this week, didn’t you know? It’s a streaming service that offers mobile-only episodes, all less than ten minutes long. Founder, Jeffrey Katzenberg, has piled circa $1.8bn into the enterprise – targeting the social media generation, Quibi offers quick-fire entertainment on on-trend topics. Unfortunately for its backers, launch week didn’t see it make a huge splash.
On launch day, despite offering a huge 90-day free trial, Quibi managed just 300,000 downloads. To put that into perspective, it’s about 7.5% of the amount of opening day sign-ups that Disney Plus managed, according to Sensor Tower’s figures (via Variety). Comparing Quibi to Disney might be harsh, but streaming has become a hugely competitive market over the last year.
The other tragedy of Quibi’s launch was its timing. Right now, most streaming platforms are seeing higher demand than ever, due to lockdown conditions leaving people across the globe stuck at home. However, Quibi is a different sort of streaming service; it’s mobile-only, with no TV app and intended to plug ten-minute gaps in your day. Part of your commute, for example, or waiting for that meeting, or your lunch break. For many people, days just aren’t the same at the moment and hence they don’t see the same need for that ten-minute time-filler.
So, it’s a good time to be a conventional streaming service, but a bad time to be Quibi. It’s worth noting too that we just weren’t very impressed with Quibi at launch – the content is hit and miss, and there is a grating, conspicuous effort to be cool. It’s worth trying out for a free trial though, as the existing 90-day trial offer is pretty generous.
There’s every chance the platform could improve too, we’ve seen others do so – the Netflix that you know and love now wasn’t quite so impressive at launch. Quibi has some hurdles to overcome, but it could get better. Watch this space.