After weeks of rumors, leaks, and media hype, Sony officially announced the Playstation 4 at yesterday’s highly advertised press conference. However, the actual system was missing in action. In its place was the reveal of the Dualshock 4 controller, which features a D-Pad and touchpad similar to the Playstation Vita and integrated motion controls from the Playstation Move. Another PS4 feature mentioned is the stereoscopic camera peripheral that senses the controller’s direction and using the PS Vita as a secondary controller.
One key part of the Dualshock 4 that highlights Sony’s new strategy for the PS4 is its share button, which will allow players to share gameplay footage with their friends online. In addition to video sharing on Facebook or USteam, players can watch others play or aide them by taking over the controls online. For those fearing the strong online social focus Sony is displaying with the PS4, Eurogamer reports the system will be playable offline.
Despite the PS4 console being absent, Sony did reveal the hardware specifications regarding their new game console. Video game designer and PS4 architecture, Mark Cerny, promised a "supercharged PC architecture," an x86 AMD processor and 8 GB of GDDR5 unified system memory. While the new x86 CPU makes it difficult for the PS4 the play PS3 games, the PC-like hardware makes it easier for developers to design games on the system. As Cerny noted in the conference, the PS4 is "a platform by game creators, for game creators." Polygon has the rundown on the PS4’s tech specs:
Single-chip custom processor
CPU: x86-64 AMD "Jaguar," 8 cores
GPU: 1.84 TFLOPS, AMD next-generation Radeon based graphics engine
GDDR5 8 GB
Hard Disk Drive
Optical Drive (read-only)
Super-Speed USB (USB 3.0) AUX
Communication Ethernet (10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX, 1000BASE-T)
Bluetooth 2.1 (EDR)
Digital Output (optical)
While its unclear if Sony’s video game streaming service will go by the Playstation Cloud name that was registered by Gaikai Inc., they did make their intentions for the cloud-gaming system clear at the conference. According to the CEO and founder of Gaikai, David Perry, the new Playstation Network will be the "fastest gaming network in the world." Demos for new games will be available instantly on the Playstation Store and new titles will be recommended to their players based on past purchases. A “director mode” will also allow players to provide useful items like health or power-ups for those in need.
Unfortunately, the subject of backwards compatibility of past Playstation games through the PS4’s streaming service was rarely touched upon and Sony Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida confirmed to Endgadget that current PSN purchases won’t transfer to the PS4. However, Playstation Europe tweeted on their official account that PS1, PS2, and PS3 games will be playable on the PS4 through the cloud service. Yoshida also told Eurogamer that the PS4 will not block used games, like some have rumored.
A number of first and third-party developers were also touted during the Playstation Meeting, with a video reel from top designers offering their praises for the PS4. Here are the games showcased for the PS4:
- Knack: an action-adventure title with cartoony visuals by Japan Studio.
- Killzone: Shadow Fall: the fourth first-person shooter game in the official series by Guerrilla Games.
Drive Club: a racing game by Motorstorm developer, Evolution Studios.
- The Witness: a timed-exclusive adventure game for the PS4 by Jonathan Blow, the indie developer behind Braid.
InFAMOUS: Second Son: the third installment in the open-world action game by Sucker Punch.
- Watch Dogs: Ubisoft’s techno-manipulative multiplatform game that stole the show from E3 2012.
Deep Down (working title): An action title from Capcom that looks similar to Dark Souls. It’s produced by Yoshinori Ono (Street Fighter IV) and uses a new graphical engine called Panta Rhe.
- New Final Fantasy game (tech demo): Square Enix didn’t talk much about the unannounced title, but they promised more info come E3.
Diablo 3: A Playstation 3 and 4 version of last year’s PC role-playing game by Blizzard Entertainment.
- Destiny: Bungie’s highly anticipated massively multiplayer online shooter for next-gen consoles.
The PS4 will be available during the holiday season of 2013. A price tag has yet to be announce for the system.