After weeks of speculation, Sony officially revealed its next-generation console tonight in New York City. The PlayStation 4 is faster, more powerful, and will feature a slew of social gaming capabilities. It will also be available this holiday season. Here’s what we know so far.
We never got to see the actual console. but Sony Lead Architect Mark Cerny said that the PS4 will have an X86 processor, a “highly enhanced PC GPU”, 8GB GDDR RAM, and a hard drive for local storage.
Its RAM will offer 176GBps of bandwidth and there will be eight CPU cores and a “state-of-the-art GPU on a single die, offering 2 teraflops of performance,” says Cerny. Its speeds will allow game updates and downloads to happen in the background, never interrupting someone’s gameplay session again.
The PlayStation Vita will also be more integrated into PS4 games, giving players more Cross Play choices. Gaikai technology is also being implemented, allowing the PS4 to become a server for the Vita to hook up to, potentially making all PS4 games playable on the handheld.
Its new controller, the DualShock 4, looks just like the PlayStation 3’s current controller, but features a microphone jack, better rumble features, a front touch pad, and a light sensor for tracking by the console’s new 3D camera.
The controller also features a Share button that instantly uploads videos or screenshots for friends to watch and can also broadcast live gameplay sessions for your friends to watch or comment. Players will even be able to hook up to their friends games to help them out. Sony will also grant developers “director-like status” and allow them to alter their games at will to allow for a more interactive and fluid consumer-developer experience. This will create what Gaikai CEO David Perry calls “the first social gaming network with meaning.”
Sony’s recent collaboration with Gaikai means users can easily browse games on the PlayStation Store and stream them right away without needing to purchase or download content they don’t want to buy.
This service will also work with PlayStation’s own Cloud services that will eventually allow players to download entire libraries of PlayStation games from past generations. Unfortunately, the PS4 will not be backwards compatible with PS3 games.
Heavy Rain and Beyond creator David Cage went on stage to talk about what possibilities the PS4’s new hardware essentially opens up. Being able to surpass the 30,000 polygon count of past hardware, the new console will let developers tell stories through the emotions of their characters. For emphasis, Cage showed a real-time face model of an old man and examined how we could read his face through his emotions more easily now. Developers “are now only limited by [their] imagination.”
Media Molecule’s Alex Evans also touched on the PS4’s improved processing power, but he focused on how PlayStation Move will be better implemented to work in real-time with the console. He showed off a sculpting software his team had implemented that lets the PS4 track your moves and essentially allow to sculpt your own creations and then direct your own puppet shows. Not all games need to be polygon-heavy, he said, and the PS4 “is being used for creative journeys.”
Among all the tech specs and demos, some developers did go on stage to announce new games they were working on. No release dates for any of these games were announced nor do we know if they will be ready for launch, but here’s hoping they are.
Knack – Mark Cerny’s cartoony-looking game featuring many objects on-screen and ogres.
Killzone: Shadowfall – Gorilla Games’ latest Killzone entry, featuring lots of shiny helicopters, smooth graphics, and heavy shrapnel.
Driveclub – a team racing game by Evolutions Studios featuring real-time and asynchronous multiplayer. Cars come with real-world details, both inside and out.
inFamous: Second Son – Sucker Punch’s next game in the franchise.
The Witness – Jonathon Blow’s new open-world puzzle game featuring lush environments that look amazing.
Deep Down – Capcom’s latest IP using its new Panta Rhei engine. The game looks like a mix between Skyrim and Dragon’s Dogma and features realistic facial animations.
Final Fantasy – a new game is coming, promised Brand Director Shinji Hashimoto, but it will be shown next year.
Watch Dogs – Ubisoft’s latest game will be coming to PS4.
Diablo III – Coming both to PS4 and PS3.
Destiny – Bungie’s latest game will break new ground on Sony’s new console, using the system’s new social components to bring players closer to its world.
There’s no doubt Sony will unveil more about its new machine as we get closer to its release. What has you excited for the PS4?