Last night, Feb. 20, 2013, Sony held a three hour live stream press event that unveiled their long awaited next generation console the Playstation 4 (PS4). Sony took the time to go over some of the key features and games that will be included in the PS4 where they highlighted that the key components they looked for in this console were "simple, immediate, social, integrated, and personalized."
Last year Sony purchased Gaikai, a cloud gaming service designed to allow gamers to play high end titles on their web browsers, and not much has been said on what Sony planned to do with the service until now. The PS4 motto hits all five points with this service after hearing how Gaikai will be integrated into the Playstation Network (PSN) service. The Gaikai service will allow players to purchase games through PSN and once the first few bits have been downloaded they will be able to start playing the game while the rest of it downloads in the background. On top of that, if you wanted to try a game before you buy it, PSN will also allow live demos that don't include a narrowed down version of the game that you have to download first to play that follows the same format as buying a game through PSN. More features are provided from Gaikai in the share options that PS4 is providing as well. With the PS4 you will be able to upload screenshots and gameplay with a push of a button on the controller then continue your game or stream your gameplay so others can watch it. While others are watching you play, your friends can provide input to what you're playing as well if you allow it. One step further Gaikai mentioned even allowing another player to take over your game to help you while your playing it.
After seeing the features that Sony has for the PS4, it's easy to see that they understand that gaming is no longer just about graphics and the console needs to be an every device that can keep the player connected with their friends no matter where they are. Sony wants to make thePS4 and PSN cross platform to allow people to interact with Playstation on the web, on the Ipad, on the Vita, and more. One of the big changes that is allowing this is the CPU choice which is no longer their cell processor which was a great performing processor, but it left Sony in a proprietary state closing it off from the rest of the world. Sony wants to open that up to the world and let as many people use the PSN as they can which is a good thing for gamers.
The big question is with games becoming more online with some requiring a internet connection to even play ("Destiny") and the fact that the PSN is a free service compared to Xbox Live, which costs $60 a year, provide a benefit to Sony? The factor comes down to the games that will be available for the PS4 and how easy developers are willing to adopt to the new console. Sony claims they actually went to developers and asked them what they would want to see in a next gen console and if that claim is true then there shouldn't be any reason why developers wouldn't want to create games for it. Developers also have to support the features that the PS4 is offering and as we have seen with Nintendo's Wii U some of the features that the console offers don't always get used. A lot of the presentation were developers showing off their games that they are making for the PS4 so they are giving the world the idea that developers are behind this new platform.
Now that the first next-gen console has been announced (I do not count the Wii U because it only caught up with the current-gen hardware) everyone will be waiting to see how Microsoft responds.
Playstation 4 is set to be released Holiday season 2013 and currently does not have a price set but we should expect more information later in the year.