Earlier this evening, Sony Computer Entertainment announced the name of its upcoming, next-gen console; it is the PlayStation 4. In a surprisingly lengthy press conference, Sony Computer Entertainment, along with partners from different game development studios and their distributors, showed off much of the technical and visual capabilities of the long-awaited follow-up to the PlayStation 3.
Touting a GDDR5 GPU and an x86 CPU, along with 8GB of onboard memory, the PlayStation 4 seems to desire the title of “Most Powerful Gaming Console” among current and next-gen systems. However, it was not said how much hard drive memory would be available with the PlayStation 4, at launch.
The controller has been bumped up, as well. The DualShock 4, as the controller is named, sports a similar look to its predecessors; dual joysticks, the four famous action buttons, shoulder buttons, directional pad, and the quintessential ‘Start’ and ‘Select’ buttons. Yet, it’s the new additions that make the gamepad more intriguing, not to mention the PlayStation 4 itself more intriguing.
Included, for the first time, on a DualShock controller, is a headphone/headset jack that can be utilized for online gameplay. Along with the jack is a brand new ‘Share’ button. This button allows gamers to instantly share their gaming session with their friends and the world. With a simple press, a personal gaming session can be streamed through uStream, or a screenshot can be captured. Both can be instantly uploaded, without worry, nor the time or work, to the web for viewing.
This demonstrates the frequently mentioned function of the PlayStation 4, social. Through the PlayStation 4, not only can players connect their audiences and friends with their games, they can further connect their gaming to their life via GaiKai networking technology designed specifically for the PlayStation 4. With the technology that GaiKai has created, players can communicate with, watch with and even assist friends during their gameplay sessions. For instance, if a player is having difficulty with a certain part of a game, they can ask a friend who has beaten the game for assistance; via co-op play or even an item drop – granted certain features may depend on the game itself.
The PlayStation 4 also grants players the ability to utilize hardware they may already own.
Anyone with a PS Vita is capable of having some of the PlayStation 4 titles transferred over to their handheld for continuous play. So, PlayStation 4 titles such as Knack – an in-development title about a magnetic warrior – can be played on the PS Vita should the player be unable to continue playing on the PlayStation 4 itself. While this may seem a direct copy of the gamepad for the WiiU, it seems a step further since it utilizes hardware that many gamers are currently using.
As for the games demonstrated, viewers were shown snip-its from Killzone: Shadow Fall, InFAMOUS: Second Son, the new puzzle-based IP The Witness, a fresh driving sim in Driveclub, a vague showing of Capcom’s working title deep down and the currently long-awaited Watchdogs. A surprise entrance was made by Destiny, the recently unveiled work from Halo creator Bungie. This showed the very first in-game graphics for the title. While some of the games shown were extensions of already established PlayStation series, it was nice to see some new ones.
On the topic of game titles, David Perry – CEO of GaiKai – said that PlayStation 3 titles would not be “native” to the PlayStation 4. This would suggest that the PlayStation 4 will not be backwards compatible with older generation PlayStation games. However, Perry did mention that with the way the technology of the PlayStation 4 works, there is hope that – in time – all previous, as well as future, PlayStation games could be playable on all systems. This could lead to the idea that these titles could just wind up on the PlayStation Network as downloadable games for the PlayStation 4 and the PS Vita.
After two hours, numerous demonstrations, and discussions from many well-known developers, viewers were not actually shown the PlayStation 4 system. The DualShock 4 and the lightbar – which acts similar to the Wii’s remote receiver – were the only parts of the system that were displayed. This omission could have left many to feel a bit disappointed with the overall show having not seen the full product.