It can't be said that Sony didn't perform astonishingly well during tonight's unveiling of their upcoming console. Well, an unveiling of the specs of the new console, at least.
While it is a little perplexing that Sony didn't proudly beat their chests while holding their newest technological wonder-baby to the sky, it didn't stop them from putting on one helluva presentation, which in reality started last week when they began the first leg of their hype journey by nostalgically reviewing Playstation's history, from humble beginnings all the way up to today's super-powered monolith.
But after all that was said tonight and everything that was shown off, was there really anything worthwhile here? Here's what you should know:
The launch titles (may) rock
Sony left viewers' jaws planted firmly into the floorboards with Guerilla's salivatingly gorgeous show of Killzone: Shadow Fall, which viewers were told was running in real-time on the new system. The demo opened with a breathtaking view of a vast and meticulously detailed city as the player was being flown in to the shortest TSA checkpoint known to man. From here, it's obvious character animations are fluid and realistic, and beyond that, lighting effects are legendary. The serenity quickly turns to chaos as the Helghast attack, which shows that the same technology that delivered scenes of hope and optimism could also deliver hauntingly realistic depictions of the dread majesty of battle.
Not to be outdone, former Halo developer Bungie came out swinging with a first glimpse into gameplay footage from their upcoming epic FPS, Destiny. Like Killzone, Destiny showcased the console's ability to long draw immense levels with startling levels of realism. Bungie also took a page from Sony's book and held an announcement event several days ago, showing that the Bungie hype-machine didn't gather any rust in its time off.
The hardware is insane
Such insanity was already proven simply by how disturbingly awe-inspiring the graphics were in the reveals, but Sony did let viewers know what's what with an official look at the hardware specs their new system will boast, and it's nothing to sneeze at. The PS4 features an x86 CPU with eight-- yes, eight-- cores, as well as super-fast 8GB GDDR5 RAM, putting it just slightly ahead of the rumored specs of the Xbox 720. Combine that with an integrated architecture more resembling a high-end gaming PC and a GPU that can handle 2 teraflops (which Sony was sure to tout with a demo showing how the system handles rendering 1 million individual blue boxes realistically falling onto a wonderfully rendered scene) and you've got one slick piece of machinery.
Blizzard is coming to PS4
World of Warcraft creator and unfathomably rich uber-developer Blizzard has entered into "a strategic partnership through which we will take over the world", or so says company vice-president Chris Metzen, who also unveiled that the Playstation 4 system would be getting the full, un-watered-down version of Diablo III this holiday. It can be postulated that such a partnership would include future releases of other Blizzard titles like World of Warcraft and Starcraft, so don't take his "taking over the world" thing too lightly, he probably means it.
They haven't forgotten about the Vita
Oh, how the Vita has suffered. Abysmal sales and an utter lack of substantial titles have put it so close to the chopping block within only a year of being available. Fear not, Vita lovers (all 9 of you), Sony has revealed that yes, the Vita will play nicely with the Playstation 4. One such feature is one they lifted from the failed Wii U, that being the nifty feature where you can play full console games on your handheld if other people in the house want to watch TV. Unlike Nintendo's mega-flop, however, the Vita will be able to go on the road and play games like Killzone: Mercenary and Uncharted: Golden Abyss.
Besides that, they're looking to take a little of the wind out of Xbox's SmartGlass sails by applying more focus to the Vita being used for a second screen experience during many PS4 games, and it can be assumed that Cross-Play and Cross-Buy will still apply to future titles, although that has yet to be confirmed.
Sony chose wisely in holding a separate event to discuss the technical details of the Playstation 4, since time is extremely limited at E3 and there would have been way too little time to answer way too many questions. But despite all the questions they did answer, Sony still left a few big ones out. There was no mention of pricing, which will be pivotal to success this holiday season as shoppers frantically try to figure out which console they'll spring for, and no mention of whether the PS4 will be backwards compatible to play all of the PS3 games, or if it will suffer the same crippling flaw of its predecessor. And, probably most of all, what the bloody thing looks like. Looks like gamers will have to wait till June to get the full scoop.