Sony said that they would make a big announcement on February 20, and they did—they announced their next console, the PlayStation 4 (PS4). Although the console itself nor even photos of the console were revealed at the event—that’s something that will probably be done at May’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3)—we had enough information to at least form some expectations for Sony’s console.
Despite not seeing the console itself, the PS4’s specs were revealed. The specs seem closer to that of a gaming PC, as consoles seek to close a widening gap between them and custom-built gaming PCs. According to Engadget, the PS4 will have an 8-core 64-bit x86 AMD “Jaguar” CPU and a Radeon GPU that can process 1.84 teraflops for quality graphics and gameplay processing. The PS4 will also come with 8 GB of GDDR5 RAM capable of processing up to 176 GB/sec of bandwidth. The console will also come with a Blu-ray drive, 802.11n Wi-Fi capabilities, USB 3.0, Bluetooth 2.1, HDMI, optical out, and even legacy outputs such as an analog AV output. It is still unknown how much storage space will be on the PS4, although you can expect between 500 GB to 1 TB of storage space.
Social gaming focus
The PS4 will take social gaming to new levels: the PlayStation will even allow you to help a friend having trouble with a game over the network by taking control of their character. You will be able to interact your tablets and smartphones with the PS4, although it was not clear whether the PS4 would support Sony-branded tablets and smartphones only or if other smartphones and tablets would be compatible with the console. Sony said it would also start relying more on the cloud, even though the console will come with a Blu-ray drive. “Our long-term vision is to reduce download times of digital titles to zero,” said Mark Cerny, Sony’s lead system architect on the PS4.
One thing that was shown, however, was the new PS4 controller. The DualShock 4 has a new touchscreen added on to the controller, and another feature—a “Share” button. “The share button on the Playstation 4 controller will mean gamers can broadcast games 100% in real time to your friends. Your friends will be able to look over your shoulder and interact with you virtually while you play,” said Dave Perry, founder of Gaikai, Inc. Gaikai is a cloud gaming service that will be integrated with the PS4. Sony bought Gaikai in July 2012. Another feature that was included was a light bar, which can do advanced tracking of the movements of the controller.
The PS4 event also revealed some games. The first game, Knack, is a platformer. “It’s a little bit like Crash Bandicoot, and a little bit like Katamari Damacy…with a touch of God of War in there,” Cerny said. A short video of another game, Killzone: Shadowfall was revealed as well. Sucker Punch, a game developer that is known for producing the Sly Cooper and Infamous series of video games on PlayStation 2 (PS2) and PlayStation 3 (PS3), also revealed Infamous: Second Son, a PS4-exclusive title. Other titles included Driving Club, which seemed to be a very realistic racing game with a heavy focus on multiplayer; Media Molecule, which will use the PlayStation Move controller to help you sculpt 3D objects and characters in a virtual world; and Beyond: Two Souls, which was initially in development for the PS3, but has now moved to the PS4. Indie developers also got some significant airtime. Jonathan Blow’s (who also made Braid) The Witness is a puzzle game that is starting to draw many comparisons to one of the most popular puzzle games of all time, Myst. Other third party developers were also starting to chat up what they wanted to do with the PS4. For a full list of developers who are planning on making games for the PS4, you can click here. One of the more interesting tidbits of the conference was an announcement that Blizzard Entertainment’s Diablo III was being ported to both the PS3 and the PS4.
There were still some unanswered questions about the PS4, such as the price or an exact release date, but we’re bound to know more information leading up to E3 in May and its predicted launch date, which will most likely be during the 2013 holiday season.