We all knew next-generation video game consoles were right around the corner, and first out of the gate is Sony with the announcement of PlayStation 4 this week. At an event held in New York City on February 20th, Sony told the world their new console will be coming Holiday 2013.
Here are the technical specs they announced:
- Supercharged PC Arichetecture
- X86 CPU
- 8 CPU Cores
- Enhanced PC GPU
- 8 GB Unified Memory
- Local HDD Storage
Lead Hardware Architect, Mark Cerny said this system is, “By game creators, for game creators.”
Though they didn’t show the unit, they did show the newly redesigned DualShock controller complete with Touchpad, Share Button, Headphone Jack, and an accompanying Light Bar to identify players.
Sony’s recent purchase of Gaikai, a cloud-based streaming service, will be put to use in the PS4. There will be many features including:
- Social integration with Facebook, Ustream where you can broadcast gameplay live
- Screen sharing where you can take over someone else’s game to help them with difficult sections
- Remote play of the PS4 with Vita, something introduced for PS3 but taken to the next level for PS4, possibly even working with smartphones and tablets.
- Goal is to make every PS4 title available on the PS Vita so you can game on the go
- Goal is to play any PS console game on the PS4 through the cloud, since they have announced there will be no backwards compatibility through discs
Sony said there will be a secondary processing chip to allow for processes to happen in the background while users are playing games. This means faster downloads, faster loading, and virtually no wait time at startup.
There will also be a completely redesigned User Interface that allow for more social integration and easier purchasing of digital items. Personally, I don’t need that much sharing while I’m gaming, but it is a great feature for those that do.
There was also a slew of software announcements including:
- Knack from Mark Cerny
- The Witness from Jonathan Blow (creator of Braid)
- Diablo III from Blizzard (on PS3 and PS4)
But those were just the appetizer, there were some big 1st party reveals that look very promising.
Killzone Shadow Fall
inFAMOUS: Second Son
Plus, there was a new gameplay walkthrough of Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs, one of the hottest titles to come out of E3 2012.
It was also revealed that Bungie’s new game Destiny will appear on the PS4. This ViDoc has new details about the story of the game, plus some really cool visuals:
Capcom’s Yoshinori Ono took the stage to show his newest engine, Panta Rhei, in action on a game with the working title “Deep Down.”
Square Enix also showed a tech demo, but this was previously shown the year before (a few times) so not much to report there except they will be unveiling the latest game in the Final Fantasy franchise at E3 this year.
Now that you have all the information, here are my thoughts:
- I was disappointed we didn’t get to even see a photo of the console.
- Killzone Shadow Fall was the best game Sony showed at this event, but I don’t think it is big enough to sell consoles for them. I hope they announced Uncharted 4 at E3!
- Though the tech demo they showed with the PlayStation Move controllers was neat, Move is still a novelty item much like Microsoft’s Kinect.
- The new DualShock controller has a tiny touchscreen on the front, and at that size why even bother? Most smartphones have bigger screens and Nintendo’s Gamepad blows it out of the water. It seems to me they want to incorporate some of the tech they created for the Vita, but this doesn’t seem like the right way.
- The new UI looks like a vast improvement over the current one of PS3, but I really need a chance to play around with it before seeing all of its bells and whistles.
- They didn’t announced how big the drive space would be, which I’m guessing will come with the price announcement. But with all the hype around Cloud services perhaps the days of having a 500 GB hard drive are over.
- It is an interesting idea to make every game on PS4 available on Vita, but my first thought was, why bother? The Vita had less-than-impressive sales numbers and this just seems like a shoe-horned idea to sell more units. The Vita really needs more software that is tailored to the device, not more ports.
- There was no mention of PlayStation Plus service, but I’m guessing we’ll hear about that at E3. Currently Sony offers great bonuses for being a Plus member, such as free game downloads, so I am interested to see what PS4 Plus offerings are.
- Having Mark Cerny overseeing hardware design is a great thing for developers. With a long history in the gaming industry, Cerny knows what developers look for in hardware design and hopefully more 3rd party game publishers will give better offerings on PS4 than the PS3 had.
- Lastly, while this was an interesting announcement, I am still not convinced that PS4 will best the next-gen Xbox. Even if only some of the rumors are true about “Xbox 720,” I don’t see where Sony’s advantage comes except from 1st party software offerings, which aren’t much right now. That said, this is only the tip of the iceberg and there is a lot more reveals to come.
It is going to be an exciting year to be a gamer! I am really looking forward to E3 this year and I’ll be sure to put as much coverage as I can on my blog.