Sony took the first shot in the next generation of consoles with the announcement of the PlayStation 4 in Wednesday’s press conference in New York City.
The PS4 was unveiled over the course of a two-hour extravaganza, paving the way and setting the bar for Microsoft to compete with. While no price point, release date (though there are indications that Sony is shooting for holiday season 2013), or specific tech details were announced, Sony spent the entire two hours putting on a showcase for the power of its latest console. With game demos, technology demonstrations, the unveiling of a new controller, and so much more, the meeting that many assumed would only be a short press conference turned into a full blown event.
The conference began with a bang, not hiding the fact that they were announcing a new console. Sony said the PlayStation 4 was designed with “supercharged PC architecture”, using X86 CPU technology to rival today’s gaming PCs. It will include an ADR5 enhanced graphics processor (usually reserved for high-end graphics cards), along with eight gigabytes of GDDR5 unified system memory. The hope with the technology is that it will help produce some of the highest quality visual effects and avoid issues with third party software running into compatibility issues. If the demos shown during the event are any indication of what gamers should be able to expect with every PS4 game, the technology is certainly appears to be good enough to rival MOST gaming PCs today.
Sony also unveiled the new DualShock4 controller. While it looks similar to the DualShock3, several key design features have been added, including a share button and touch pad. You can read more about Sony’s new controller here.
Sony also detailed how its new cloud gaming service (Gaikai) will enable players to not only play all of their PS4 games on a PS Vita, but stream PlayStation’s entire back catalog as well. It will take a few phases of implementation to get the service completely up and running, but eventually gamers will have access to every PlayStation game ever made. The service will work not only for PS4, PS3, and Vita, but possibly for smart phones and tablets as well.
Sony also discussed the five pillars the new console was designed around: Simple, Immediate, Social, Integrated, and Personalized. They want the console to be easy to use, quick to boot up (and resume previous game sessions), connected to your friends and social networks, ingrained in your daily life through the use of second screens, smart phone apps, and tablet interfaces, and customized to YOU, by learning what you like and don’t like (for example, in the PlayStation Store). The console will feature an ability to play games even while downloading them (thanks to Gaikai) and upload gameplay videos while never leaving the game. Also featured was the ability to not only watch your friends’ screens to see how they’re faring in-game, but your friends can even hand over control of their game when you insist that you know a better way to complete a certain task. This core principle of social gaming, whether it’s WITH friends or ON DISPLAY for friends, was one of the most important and repeated messages of the day.
Other than the controller, no other hardware was unveiled in person, and as a matter of fact, the actual PS4 console itself was never shown, but the rest of the event was an onslaught of games and demonstrations showcasing the power of the PS4. Sony showed demos of:
- Killzone: Shadow Fall (see above)
- Infamous: Second Son
- Deep Down (working title)
- The Witness
- Watch Dogs
- And a small PR clip of the recently announced Destiny.
The Bungie team also announced there would be exclusive PS4 content for Destiny. A new Final Fantasy game was also confirmed (and we’ll learn more about it at E3), as well as an out-of-the-blue partnership with Blizzard to get Diablo 3 on both PS4 and PS3. The games displayed (for the most part) graphically intense sequences with exceptional lighting and realistic physics. Games appeared to play smoothly and at a nice frame rate.
Among the tech demos was an illustration of how Move would be incorporated into PS4 by Media Molecule. David Cage from Quantum Dreams talked about high textures and polygon counts that will make the games more realistic than ever. There was also an elemental tech demo shown using the Unreal 4 engine.
There was a brief mention of the future of the PS Vita early in the event saying it would play an important role in the future of PlayStation, and they would be going into more detail about that in the coming months. Sony will be relying heavily on the use of a second screen and taking the console experience with you wherever you go, and the Vita figures to be a huge part of that.
This was a beast of a press conference, and personally four times as long as I expected. With not only more games announced, but WAY more footage than I expected, Sony came out guns blazing and has set the bar extremely high for Microsoft. The new Killzone and Infamous games, along with Watch Dogs and DriveClub have me completely stoked and ready to throw my money at Sony. I hope the Vita integration (and support) is implented in a way that makes owning a Vita in addition to a PS4 a huge benefit, enticing more gamers to pick up both consoles. We also need to see more Vita games, and Sony needs to cater to the gamer, not the family. They hinted a few times that this was their priority, but the Move demonstration contradicted everything we had heard up to that point.
The Blizzard partnership surprised me, but I’m excited for it. Diablo 3 is a great game on PC, and if Sony can open the doors to a great multiplayer/co-operative experience I’m all for it. I’m also excited to see exactly how the streaming service will work, and the instant on/off feature as well. If all of this comes out as they described it today, and they focus on GAMES and GAMERS, then Sony will really have something going here.
- PS4 logo courtest of nosplay.com
- Informed System Architecture image courtesy of technobuffalo.com
- Chris Metzen photo courtesy of Engadget
- Killzone: Shadow Fall trailer footage courtesy of Game Trailers Tv
[author] [author_image timthumb='on']http://mymiddleearth.com/wp-content/uploads/avatars/2330/209800074bd5c82316e83f77e0d73de4-bpfull.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Brian covers The ElderScrolls and PlayStation news for The Quest Gaming Network. You can see all his work for QGN @SilentFury007 and follow him on Twitter at silentfury007.[/author_info] [/author]