Sony Announces PlayStation 4, Coming Holiday 2013

Tonight, Sony did what we all expected. Yes, they finally started a press conference on time. That, and they announced the PlayStation 4, many of its anticipated hardware capabilities, and a slew of first and third party games. And as anticipated, it’s arriving by this holiday season, 2013.

So let’s cut the cute chat and get cranking on this news. Fortunately, it’s all been divided into titled sections to maximize comprehension and minimize frustrated hair-pulling. You can thank the Lords of Literacy later, we’ve got a console to tell you about!

The Console

Sony opened tonight’s reveal event with a brief discussion on the PS4 hardware architecture, which has been reduced substantially in its complexity. In fact, they gave four design facets that were important when crafting the hardware – to make it Simple, Immediate, Social and Personalized.

Simple, quite simply, refers to the simplification of the system’s base architecture, which is an x86 CPU. This is the most common architecture system (and most familiar to most game developers), one that’s far less complex than the cell processor in the PlayStation 3 (which brought much sorrow to developers).

Here’s the spec breakdown:

  • X86 CPU
  • “Enhanced” PC GPU (for additional processing)
  • CPU/GPU on the same die
  • 8GB unified GDDR5 RAM, 176GB
  • On-board hard drive (no size announced)

And we have no idea what it looks like because Sony decided that tonight was neither the time nor the place. What a silly idea, right? Revealing the PlayStation 4 on the night of the PlayStation 4 reveal. Perish the thought really. So PSHAW.

The Controller

Do you remember those prototype photos that surfaced online last week of the new Dualshock PS4 controller? No, not the one with the Wii U taped to the top, the one that looked somewhat believable and was “confirmed” by numerous sources to numerous publications?

Well, it’s the real thing, as Sony showed it off tonight after wrapping up the architecture discussion. Similar to what the rumor mills speculated, this new controller combines the functionality of the PS3 Dualshock 3 controller, a PlayStation Move, and the Vita’s rear touchpad (except it’s on the front).

It has rumble support, better wireless communication with the console to reduce/prevent latency, a ‘Share’ button, a headphone jack (neat!) and what they’re calling a “lightbar” for motion control a’la the PlayStation Move functionality mentioned a second ago.

The thumbsticks are also noticeably no longer convex in design, instead opting for the “oh man this is way easier on my thumbs” concave approach.

Take another look at that touchpad – thing is… interesting-looking to say the least.

sony gaikai partnership slider

Cloud/Gaikai Support

If your memory serves you well, you might recall that Sony (the guys cranking out this budding new console) acquired (read: bought) Gaikai, a cloud service company that offered services much in line with those of the now stuck-in-limbo/bought out OnLive (a cloud gaming service that didn’t work extremely well nor had many customers).

Well, Sony is making good use of that purchase, as it’s indicated its strides forward in the networking/Internet functionality department of the PS4. In fact, Gaikai is working on the ability to stream PS1, PS2 and PS3 titles to the PS4 (and other supported devices) with their newest streaming technology. This advancement has just been “green-lit by Sony” and is still quite a ways out from seeing the light of day – but hey, it’s something that’s being worked on, so that’s worth something.

The other announcement was that gamers will be able to start playing digitally-downloadable games the moment they’re purchased, as opposed to having to wait until it’s fully downloaded and installed. It’s not yet been detailed exactly how this system will work, but it’s evident that we’ll know more by or at E3 2013.

Overall though, let’s hope that, among all this new Internet-based tomfoolery, the PSN can manage to, you know, not be taken over by hackers rendering customer information unprotected.

social

Social Features & Customization

Since the PS4 will be a console you’ll want connected to the Internet, what with services like Gaikai backing up the back end, what sort of online and social features should you expect? In that same vein, how will you be able to tailor your experience to your liking?

Truth be told, Sony seems to have that covered – almost to the point that it’s disturbing. First, thanks to the controller’s built-in ‘Share’ button, you can livestream your gameplay to Ustream whenever you like, upload a few minutes of video to social networks at your leisure  and peep in on other friend’s streaming play sessions. Also, if your friends are willing, the PS4 will allow you to take over their game to help them beat a hard level or boss or something. Bonkers, right?

They claim that the PS4 is “very much aware of the player and what is going on in the room.” One example they gave is that, once you start playing games and downloading content of your preference, the PS4 will start to understand you and pre-download content that it thinks you might enjoy. It’s sort of like Tivo and DVRs in general.

So, in theory, once you start playing the newly announced Killzone: Shadow Fall, it should have three seasons of Top Gear already preloaded on your hard drive. Oh wait, I haven’t covered that whole “new games” part yet. Let’s do that!

Announced Games

Deep Down (working title)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d9UmHm9HA3c

Besides being an easy porno nickname, this newest tech demo from Capcom has many speculating that it’s actually Dragon’s Dogma 2 in disguise. It’s running on the “Panta Rhei” engine, which many have speculated is pronounced “panty raid.” Makes sense to me.

Knack

Mark Cerny of Japan Studio was up early in the conference to show off this little fella, which is a game about a robot that’s out to save mankind. It’s like that really-quite-cleverly-written Nickeolodean cartoon My Life as a Teenage Robot, except… we know less about it. And this thing might not be a teenager.

Killzone: Shadow Fall

It’s got almost as many pew pews as it has shiny particles, and you can’t fault it for either. This newest Killzone is all about the unavoidable Helghast invasion, cloaking abilities, and… well, the rest doesn’t matter, because look at those graphics! Gorgeous!

The Witness

Remember that indie game Braid that dominated early sales charts on Xbox Live Arcade? Remember that guy who made it, Jonathan Blow? Well, his iOS/PC title The Witness is now launching as a PS4 exclusive (for a limited time), and includes gorgeous, Proteus-esque visuals and puzzles galore.

Let’s just hope its narrative is more fulfilling than that of Braid.

Infamous: Second Son

It’s a CGI trailer that proves that Sucker Punch still enjoys making Infamous games.

DriveClub

It’s as if Grand Turismo had a baby with the first 30 seconds of gameplay found in Aliens: Colonial Marines – you know, the part where you stare at your character dicking around with a gun and its many prep animations. That first 30 seconds.

Jokes aside, it’s a hyper-realistic vehicle simulator, and it’s pretty gosh dang bananas in motion.

Diablo III

diablo 3

Somehow this is going to work. Features include four player, full-screen co-op and releases on both the PS3 and PS4.

Watch Dogs

The Ubisoft-published Watch Dogs was shown in a more fulfilling capacity this evening (as above), and certainly tapped our hearts similar to the way it tapped into that one dude’s bank account in the demo. And that girl’s cell phone. And that one security camera. Okay, just watch it already.

Destiny

To make up for last week’s not-so-revealing press event, the dudes at Bungie released substantially more seconds of gameplay of Destiny, their hugely-anticipated “shared world shooter” that’s launching on Xbox 360, PS3, and as of tonight, PS4 in the near future.

Vita Integration

Much like the Wii U does with its GamePad controller, the PS4 will be able to easily stream its games to the PS Vita so long as it’s within wireless range. This can already be done with Remote Play on the PS3, but it’s, you know, cooler this time, and with more… graphics. GORGEOUS GRAPHICS.

Is it Backwards Compatible?

Well, we’re not sure. Dave Perry, CEO of Gaiki, did mention (in what might have been in accidental slip) that the PS4 wouldn’t play PS3 games out of the box. This goes back to the somewhat distant system Gaiki is working on to stream older PlayStation games to the new system, and how it might be the solution. Then again, the system could end up with PS3 support by year’s end, who knows?

What do you think, folks?

  1. “Deep Down” trailer and went crazy. Seems like a cross between Dark Souls and .Hack//sign. Everything else in the announcement was kinda meh…

    P.S. – Anyone notice we didn’t actually SEE the PS4 at the PS4 announcement?

    • It’s more of a “Yeah we are working on it” than a “Here it is” we’ll either see at E3 or TGS.

      • Funny how they showed the controller off though eh?

        They didn’t mention anything about optical media. That could be a reason; they might be deciding whether or not it’ll have an optical media slot.

      • I’d love to ponder a future without physical game discs being here and now, but then rational me slaps ambitious me in the face. Sony, now, isn’t that dumb. Sure, they tried something a little experimental and similar with the PS Go, but that hardware was already established with other previous units and wouldn’t doom the overall hardware.

        There’s no way Sony would chop off its own limbs by releasing a home console with no physical media drive.

        And if I’m wrong I owe you one heckofa steak dinner. With potatoes.

    • As a matter of fact, it seemed to be the only thing that most people did notice

  2. Sooo that makes my laptop a faster PS4 with a monitor, rather than a way faster PS3 with a monitor.

    No surprise.

    • A console doesn’t need to be on par with the highest hardcore pc specs, consoles are dedicated, it serves no other function, so they can play games with a fraction of hardware that would be needed for the same game on a PC.

      As for the media driver, they said something about game installation or something other on the conference, so you can bet there will be BD’s.

      • Right.

        But one has to wonder how far you can go with a low-power APU made for netbooks, and most likely a mobile GPU that is not the HD 7970M as Eurogamer suggests, seeing as that alone costs upwards of 300-400USD.

        Also, seeing that the parts are more translatable to the PC thanks to the x86 processor, it should be easier to port games – meaning less junk code, and better performance.

      • Well, take an extremely low budget but top of the line pc, it will cost you around 1000 dollars and you’ll be able to play games on the default settings for at least 3 years before having to fidgety with the settings, console works around the same thinking, a console can realistically with ultra low specs be better or at least on par with high end pc’s for at least 4 years after launch, until technology jumps again and console games start looking outdated.

        There is also 2 other things to take into consideration, the first being that a console price is not equal to the sum of it’s parts, you can build a PC that will cost you 1000 dollars, but Sony can build that same PC as a console for 500 dollars (because they buy direct from the manufacturer by the thousands, so they get a discount) and they can, realistically, re-sell that to you for 350 dollars and recoup their losses with the licensing of games, this has been the model since the SNES I think, so you can’t judge a console’s specs by their end user retail price.

        The second being that games can be better adapted to work at dedicated low power environments, there are several games out there that can run at a steady, crispy, 720p, 30 frames per second and look incredible, take Forza Horizon for instance, it was released in 2012 and it is gorgeous looking, it runs on an 8 years old extremely outdated piece of hardware, so you just need to imagine what can they do (Game developing wise) with at least double that specs, and if the specs running around are to be taken seriously, PS4 might be 3 to 4 times better than it’s predecessor, same with the next Xbox, so it’s going to be impressive, regardless of how low end the specs might look.

  3. D3 for ps4 it’s something that’s possible!
    We just gotta wait another 10 years!

  4. I wasn’t terribly excited about the PS4 during the portion of the press conference I watched, but reading about all the goodies in one place (rather than having to hear executives and game designers talk about ecosystems and synergies and whatnot) is much more interesting. Now I’m intrigued.

  5. I wonder if Deep Down is going to be like .Hack at all because it does seem like it a bit… Interesting…. ^^

  6. I don’t care what those pc addicts say ps4 will rock if this is nothing big to the pc gamers then why are you checking this out

    • Because I need a new Blue-Ray player, so why not get one that can play new and old Play-Station games?

    • Not everyone just plays on one platform.. lots of people play on multiple platforms. I for example play games on consoles as well as PC. ( Though I never bought a PS3. Wanted to, just never have.. some of its exclusives I would have loved to play for sure. )

      However some people, like the other one who replied to you’re comment. Buys some consoles simply due to the fact that it can play the movies on the media they want as well as have the capability of playing games. That is not a bad thing either really.

  7. Interesting.. well glad they decided to drop some of the things that they where thinking of doing at least. However I am really hoping for backwards compatibility. I am one of the few gamers who, when they buy games.. actually keep their games. I still play my PS1 games every so often. ( Hell even NES/SNES/SEGA games as well. Yes They are old but I sometimes want to play my old games since I like them soo much. ) It is a pain to switch consoles at times so it was a feature that the PS2, Xbox360, and the original PS3 had that I loved. So something like that would be a huge thing for me.

    I knew eventually D3 was going to hit consoles due to what Blizzard had talked about prier to the PC release of D3. Even though it is much later than they originally hoped. However I have it on PC so it is not something I am excited about.

  8. In all honesty this became a fantastic indepth write-up even so as with all wonderful writers there are many factors that could be worked well upon. However never ever the actual much less it was stimulating.

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