Sony goes “fourth” (get it?) with their next evolution of the PlayStation brand.
In New York City, Sony Computer Entertainment drew the attention of the world – both in audience and across the Internet – as it introduced its fourth console iteration, the PlayStation 4. And yup, it’s official – that’s its name.
Wednesday night’s event was filled with lots of developer talk (no doubt, too much for some), visual spectacle in form of some cool game demos (oh hey, a first person shooter!), and ambitious goals from executives (Sony? Making lofty promises? Why I never!) about what Sony hopes to accomplish with the PlayStation 4.
And while the consumer electronics company didn’t completely reveal all about the PS4, they did manage to answer these following questions:
What is it?
- It’s the PlayStation 4, of course! If you had “PlayStation Orbis” in the naming betting pool – so sorry.
What’s under the PlayStation 4’s hood?
- Described by PS4 lead system architect Mark Cerney, the console is running a x86 CPU, an enhanced PC GPU, and 8 gigabytes of onboard GDDR5 memory – some pretty powerful stuff that on paper should be of great use for developers.
- There will be a local hard drive, a rather large one reportedly.
- 6X Blu-ray drive, 8X for DVDs.
- Mark Cerny also confirmed a secondary chip that processes all downloading; one of its key features being that it allows PS4 titles to be playable as they’re being downloaded.
What about that controller?
- Those spotty pictures confirmed what was leaked before tonight’s PlayStation meeting: the DualShock 4, a controller that features both a built-in touch pad and a “light bar” that can be used to identify players.
- The DualShock 4 works in conjunction with a stereo camera peripheral (that’s included with every PS4), which can track the motion of the controller similar to how the PlayStation Move works.
- There’s also a built-in headphone jack and that all-too mysterious “share” button.
What can the PlayStation 4 do?
- As I mentioned beforehand, with a second CPU chip – whose primary concern is to handle downloads and secondary OS processing – the PlayStation 4 will allow users to play games as those very games are downloading.
- Gaikai technology is being integrated into the console through two key PS4 features: Try Anything & Instant Broadcast.
- Try Anything is the console feature I explained above in the first bullet point, while Instant Broadcast lets users broadcast and share gameplay videos using social networks, such as Ustream and Facebook, using the DualShock 4’s “share” button.
- PS4 is equipped with always-on, always available hardware for both video compression and decompression. Meaning that playing and recording video won’t take up the CPU during gameplay and players will be able to easily share that footage instantly to anyone on other PS4s, PS Vitas, or “companion apps” on tablets.
- Players will also be able to interact while watching a friend’s PS4 broadcast and take over their friend’s controller and play remotely with video streaming.
- PS4 will feature streaming content from Hulu Plus, Crunchyroll, Crackle, Netflix, Vudu, Epix, Facebook, Music Unlimited, Video Unlimited, and Amazon Instant.
What it can’t do?
- Backwards compatibility is out. Sucks, I know. You won’t be able to play PS3, PS2, or PSone disc media on the PS4, although through Gaikai the ability to stream past console games might become available in the near future.
What games will you play on it?
- Knack – first-party Sony game created by Mark Cerny – programmer and producer for Marble Madness and Crash Bandicoot – that’s about a robot built out of junk that fights goblins.
- Killzone: Shadow Fall – it looks darn pretty, that’s all I can say!
- Driveclub from Evolution Studios (Motorstorm series) – team-based racing game that allows players to compete asynchronously or in real-time between other driving clubs.
- Infamous: Second Son – Sucker Punch’s next game in the Infamous universe.
- The Witness – from Braid creator Jonathon Blow, it’s a first-person exploration puzzle game that contains 25 hours of unique puzzles.
- Deep Down – Capcom’s newest medieval fantasy RPG that uses their latest gaming engine “Panta Rheiv.”
- A new Final Fantasy game from Square Enix that’s currently in development (make your “in the year 2015” jokes here).
- Watch Dogs – the privacy-invading thriller from publisher Ubisoft.
- Diablo 3 – developed by a partnership between Sony and Blizzard.
- Destiny – the Bungie developed futuristic, constantly-living shooter.
- Support from every “major” third-party – from Activision to Square Enix. No duh.
When is it coming?
- The PlayStation 4 is scheduled to launch Holiday 2013.
- No further details explaining price point, SKUs, or heck, a picture of the console was addressed during the event.
- It’s likely more info will come at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo
Many questions answered, but as usual still tons of items purposely unknown about the PlayStation 4, which is somehow the case with these next-gen console reveals; I’m looking at you Microsoft and your upcoming console, whenever that decides to make its existence know.
Images courtesy of Engadget