It’s what many gamers have been speculating over ever since the PlayStation 3 debuted in 2006. With such a revolutionary machine, how could Sony top it? That question was answered during a press conference last week to officially announce the PlayStation 4. From social sharing to a considerable upgrade in hardware, the PS4 could have Microsoft and Nintendo shaking in their boots come this holiday season.
Sitting down to watch the press conference, I was a kid in a candy store; open minded to whatever Sony would throw at me – I was ready. There have been a copious amount of rumors circling the next-generation console. Would all games be only downloadable? Can the system play used games? Will it be 4K compatible? What will the controller look like? Many of these questions would be put to rest. Sony began with this statement:
“We didn’t build a box.”
Diving first into the discussion, Lead System Architect Mark Cerny took to the stage. Although Mr. Cerny looked like he hadn’t slept in over a year, the man gave a well-crafted introduction on specs and other capabilities. Business jargon aside, Sony wanted to give developers a more dynamic experience and free the limitations they came across with the PS3.
The technical specifications behind the system includes (Thanks to Kotaku):
But what does this mean? The PS4 system architecture is centered around a powerful custom chip that contains eight x86-64 cores and a state of the art graphics processor. This has been enabled to considerably enhance physics simulation. In other words, these graphics are going to be sicker than the Bird flu. With the 8 GB of unified system memory, the richness of content achievable will go beyond anything we’ve seen before.
Here’s a quick intro on what you can expect from the PS4 as far as graphics go:
Sony went all out in naming the next-gen controller, the DualShock 4, confirming imagery days before this announcement. They’ve added a touchpad for extra sensory input, a share button and headphone jack for social interactions, and a light bar to identify players – much like the colored balls at the end of the PS Move controllers. They have also overhauled the design for better comfort and response. The DualShock 4 was also designed with the ability to link to an external camera, which bears the functionality of the Xbox Kinect.
Simple, immediate, social, integrated, and personalized. These are the core principles kept in mind when developing the PS4 from a user standpoint. One of the best new features is the power to stop and play. No longer will gamers have to wait endlessly for the console to power up; they can now turn the power off when they’d like and turn it right back on and begin playing where they left off. It also has an option to download and play simultaneously. Enabling zero wait times is a huge leap forward and something players will truly be grateful for.
Building on the PlayStation Network, Sony looks to capitalize on the social media craze by integrating Facebook. With a whole new interface and look, PSN users can now be identified by name (so we can shame each other on a more personal level), add profile pictures (so we know who to target in public), show off trophies (because social media is all about bragging), and share videos (to brag visually). This new accessibility is just the building blocks to a whole new realm of possibilities for social gaming.
Going back to the DualShock 4 controller, the share button will enable in-depth video capabilities. Just press “Share” and users will be able to record or stream live video of what they’re playing. Friends can watch, comment, or even help during a difficult section of a game. This new sharing platform along with the integration of social connectivity is just a huge step forward for the gaming industry to connect with its audience.
And to get even more personal, the PS4 will be able to track your preferences and upload content to a main news feed. It will know your likes and dislikes. From understanding your basic habits, the PS4 will be completely consumer driven and eventually become self aware. Just wait until your asleep, it will smother you with your pillow.
Aside from the slew of new wave tech and fancy enhancements, the PS4 conference had an abundance of new games announced when it releases. Some of which included the likes of Killzone: Shadow Fall, Bungie’s Destiny, DriveClub, Watch Dogs, Diablo, Knack, and Infamous. Square Enix even came out to tease a new Final Fantasy game that would be revealed at E3 2013.
Watch the entire press conference below:
It was a great conference, but there are still many questions left unanswered. How much will it cost and what does the console look like? I’m sure the console design is still in development, while the cost is typically the bigger selling point when it comes to marketability. We can most likely expect these answers and more along with other previews of launch titles during E3 .
Again, the PS4 will be released this holiday season.