It’s here: Sony’s rumoured PlayStation 4 was unveiled at a press briefing last night, but the company didn’t give too many details about its long-awaited next-generation console.
Sony has quelled rumours about its newest console – the first PlayStation to be released in seven years –but it offered no price, no release date and didn’t even show the console during the presentation.
The only proof of existence provided by Sony is the console’s new-but-not-so-new controller, an unexpected partnership with Blizzard and a number of titles announced for the upcoming console.
The PlayStation 4 Announcement.
According to the New York Times, Sony Computer Entertainment Chief Executive, Andrew House calls this a “moment of truth and a bold step forward for PlayStation.” House added that the new console “represents a significant shift of thinking of PlayStation as merely a box or console to thinking as a leading authority on play.”
Sony’s lead system architect, Mark Cerny says, “The architecture is like a PC in many ways, but supercharged to bring out its full potential as a gaming platform.” [url=http://live.theverge.com/sony-playstation-4-event-live-blog/]The Verge[url] described the PS4 as a developer-friendly, gamer-inspired platform, with Sony boasting that it talked to game developers and listened to them.
Sony’s big step forward into the connected-device world of next-generation console gaming is echoed by the console’s new tag line: “PlayStation is the best place to play.”
The PlayStation 4’s Specs
Sony didn’t really get to the details in the presentation last night, announcing just the bare minimum to pique our interest.
After the long-running reign of the PS3, it’s important for Sony to step it up and really wow gamers with its newest device. As Cerny explains, “All consoles have been single-purpose devices...insert your cartridge, CD, DVD, and that was it. At the time of PS3, that was all in flux. But as a console designed before this revolution hit, there were limitations to what the PS3 could do.”
Mark Cerny discussing the limitations of the PS3 and the capabilities of the PS4.
TIME reports that the PS4 is powered by an x86 AMD CPU and features a “highly advanced” graphics processor. The console will have a decent GDDR5 8GB memory and then the as-yet-unannounced size of the PS4 hard drive. Sony is claiming it will be the fastest gaming network in the world.
• CPU : x86-64 AMD "Jaguar", 8 cores • GPU : 1.84 TFLOPS, AMD next-generation Radeon™ based graphics engine • Memory: GDDR5 8GB • Hard Disk Drive • Built-in Optical Drive (read only) (BD 6xCAV and DVD 8xCAV) • Super-Speed USB (USB 3.0) • Ethernet (10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX, 1000BASE-T) • IEEE 802.11 b/g/n WiFi • Bluetooth® 2.1 (EDR) • AV output • HDMI • Analog-AV out • Digital Output (optical)
The Verge reports that the PS4 system “has a low-power state and auto saves games.” So, hit the power button and just carry on playing. That’s helpful.
Then, there’s “Gaming in the Cloud”. Aside from the games available on the PlayStation Network (PSN), PS4 users will have access to Sony Corporation’s Music Unlimited and Video Unlimited: premium music and video subscription services.
Sony's "Gaming in the Cloud": real-time streaming and unlimited music and viedo subscription services.
But the cloud-based gaming service adds a new feature too. Players interested in trying out a new game on the PSN will actually play a portion of the real title, instead of a stripped down demo version of the game.
The Next-Gen Console Controller
The DualShock 4 controller is the slightly cooler, techy older brother of the current PS3 controller. It features a touchpad and a share button, as part of Sony’s integrated-device focus with this next-gen console.
PlayStation fans will be happy that Sony has left the basic structure of the PlayStation controller untouched. Switching from the PS3 DualShock 3 to the next-gen controller should be seamless. Of course, its new features will undoubtedly catapult a current PS3 player into the future of gameplay. But the familiarity of the controller and its basic capabilities should convince the most hardcore PS3 players that the PlayStation 4 is worth a shot.
The DualShock 4 Controller: with touchpad and share button.
According to Siliconera, the DualShock 4 also features a stereo headset jack and built-in speakers for voice chat; similar to the Xbox 360 controllers.
So, what can you expect from the PlayStation 4?
The main focus, it seems, for the PlayStation 4 is social: social interaction, social gameplay and social sharing. Sony’s user interface has been completely overhauled and allows for gamers to effortlessly upload gameplay videos.
It’s going to introduce social gameplay and real-time interaction on a Sony platform – something that was sorely lacking in the final few years of the PS3’s life. As the world raced ahead and demanded instant interaction, the PS3 left players in an isolated bubble; unable to compete with the massive online multiplayer scene.
Upload your gameplay videos while playing your game and share with friends.
So, you’ll be able to stream games in real-time, broadcast your own games and activities immediately to friends and friends will be able to join your game at any time. And, it seems, if you’ll let them, your friends can take over your DualShock 4 controller and help you out in a tough situation.
The bad news: it seems like the PlayStation 4 won’t be backward compatible. The good news is that a new feature on the PlayStation Store will let you play a multitude of older PlayStation titles through the next-gen console’s streaming technology.
It’s also been reported that the PlayStation 4 will be able to stream games to Sony’s portable console device, the PS Vita.
The PS4 can multitask, too: you’ll be able to play digital titles while they are downloading. And the PS4 will download games even when the system is switched off. TIME explains that this is possible because of a chip designed to handle several background processes at once.
Sony is aiming for ultimate personalisation, calling it a “key design principle of the PS4 interface.” The system will get to know your interests and likes. Cerny says, “Long-term vision is to reduce download times to zero...if we know enough about you we know what game you’ll purchase next and download it in the background.” In other words, hit “purchase” and the game instantaneously appears on your PS4. A little creepy, but ultimately, it’ll be games-on-demand. Awesome.
Titles Announced for the PS4
A few developers stepped into the spotlight to proudly announce their association with Sony’s PS4. And here are some of the titles:
First up, “Killzone: Shadowfall” by Guerilla Games. According to Entertainment Weekly, it’s based in a metropolis with futuristic weaponry and that’s about all the demo explained. But, the graphics look insane.
Next, Sucker Punch’s “Infamous: Second Son” - a title that has been announced exclusively for the PlayStation 4. Sorry, not much detail given about this one.
Nine years ago, Evolution Studios trademarked “DriveClub”, a team-based racing game. And, it seems they were waiting for the PS4 graphics engine to make it a reality.
Capcom announced “Deep Down” – you play as a knight who kills dragons. So far, it’s just a working title, though. But, seriously... dragons.
Diablo III will also be coming to the PS4 and the PS3. So if you missed it on PC, or just really want to play it on your PlayStation, it will be ported soon.
And the big one: “Watch Dogs”. It’s what Entertainment Weekly called “Ubisoft’s open-world stunner”. Last night’s demo shows a player tracking someone on the street, who was attacked by a criminal and the player character chases the criminal and evades police, apparently while hacking into CCTV video feeds and bank accounts. It’s pretty much an open-world vigilante justice title with no superhero costume.
Even though Sony didn’t provide any details regarding the PlayStation 4’s recommended retail price or release date, it did hint that the console would be ready for the ‘holidays’. So, that means in time for Christmas this year. I know what I’m putting on my Christmas Wish List.