Many moons of waiting have come to an end, as today Sony Computer Entertainment took the stage and broadcast to the world their announcement of the PlayStation 4. It’s exactly what you think: Sony’s next generation home console, spearheading a new generation of graphics processing, video games, and consumer services.
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During the event Sony provided coverage of the bits and pieces under the hood, the graphics and physics processing potential, numerous upcoming games from both first and third parties, and talked about their expanded focus on social networking and content sharing. With the exception of the Dual Shock 4, the actual console was not shown, nor was a specific release date and price given. However, Sony is promising the PlayStation 4 will launch by the end of 2013, so there’s that.
If you missed the event, here’s a handy recap of everything shown.
Packing plenty of grunt under the hood, and matching up almost identically with lingering rumours, the PlayStation 4 CPU and graphics processing hardware has been confirmed to include:
– x86-64 8-core AMD Jaguar CPU
– Specially customised PC-like GPU
– 8 GDDR5 RAM
– Built in hard disk drive (storage capacity unknown)
– 6xCAV Blu-ray / 8xCAV DVD drive
– USB 3.0, Ethernet, IEEE 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1 EDR
But what’s a new console without a controller? Nothing. And so, Sony revealed the DualShock 4, successor to their DualShock controller line that has been a staple to the PlayStation brand. Both familiar and new, the Dual Shock 4 includes:
– Analogue sticks, shoulder buttons/triggers, face buttons, d-pad, and other traditional elements
– 2-point capacitive touch pad
– Six-axis motion sensing
– Stereo headset jack
– Light bar
– PS Share button
– Rechargable battery, vibration, Bluetooth system connectivity, etc
– Total weight: ~210g
More information on the PS Share button can be found below under “Services”. The light bar combines technology similar to PlayStation Move with the controller. Using the new PlayStation 4 Eye, a dual lens 1280×800@60fps camera, players can track depth and movement of the Dual Shock 4 just as they would the Move. The new touch panel works exactly as you’d expect, allowing touch-based interactivity for certain games.
During the press event five technology demos were shown. The first aimed to show off the PlayStation 4 GPU’s compute capabilities, rendering one million physics objects in a game world, accurately falling and colliding with the environment. The second was Epic’s well known Unreal Engine 4 “Elemental” tech demo, the same one shown mid last year, this time running in real time on the PlayStation 4.
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Like Unreal Engine 4, Square-Enix showed off the “Agni’s Philosophy” tech demo too, running in real time. It was stated that Square-Enix is aiming for this level of graphical fidelity for their next generation games, and Final Fantasy fans had best look forward to E3 2013 since Square have a Final Fantasy game to show there on the PS4. Lastly, David Cage of Quantic Dream displayed a real time “old man” graphics demo, showing the level of realistic human rendering and facial animations achievable on the PlayStation 4, meanwhile Media Molecule (of LittleBigPlanet fame) demonstrated the 3D “sculpting” technology possibilities when using PlayStation Move in conjunction with the new hardware.
First up was Knack, a new internally developed brawler set to demonstrate the physics processing capabilities of the PlayStation 4 compute heavy GPU.
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Once again showcasing the graphical potential of hardware, Guerilla Games were on-hand to show off Killzone: Shadow Fall, their latest entry in the Killzone saga. Official trailer below.
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Sucker Punch Productions also made an appearance, and like Guerilla revealed the continuation of a popular PlayStation 3 franchise: inFamous. Coming to PlayStation 4 is inFamous: Second Son.
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Appealing to fans of things that go “vroom”, Evolution Studios announced their first next generation game: Drive Club. The first person racing title is aiming to provide the most realistic and detailed driving and car experience for auto enthusiasts.
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Following their recent game specific press coverage, Bungie announced that their collaborative project with Activision, titled Destiny, would also be heading to the PlayStation 4. They’ve provided a short development diary, showing off Destiny running on the PlayStation 4 hardware.
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Jonathan Blow, of Braid fame, took the stage to finally reveal gameplay footage of his next project: The Witness. Though likely aiming for a multi-platform release, The Witness will be exclusive to PlayStation 4 during the launch window. So, a timed exclusive.
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Street Fighter IV producer and resident Capcom troll Yoshinori Ono was there to show off Capcom’s evolution of the MT Framework engine, now titled Panta Rhei. Developed alongside Panta Rhei is Capcom’s new intellectual property, a Demon’s Souls / Dragon’s Dogma looking game temporarily titled Deep Down.
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And following their impressive E3 2012 demonstration, Ubisoft took their next generation Watch_Dogs for another spin. The game was confirmed as coming to the PlayStation 4.
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Lastly, Blizzard confirmed long standing rumours that one of their games would be heading to consoles, and that game is none other than Diablo III. Set to release on both PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4, the console version of Diablo 3 will retain the core gameplay, enhanced for controller use, and both online and local multiplayer modes.
Finally, like any good publisher, Sony showed off a list of developers pledging support for the PlayStation 4. The list includes the likes of Atlus, From Software, Grasshopper Manufacture, Platinum Games, LucasArts, Rockstar, and more.
For Sony, the PlayStation 4 is not just about hardware and games. It’s about social connectivity, and integrating gaming into our daily lives. Making full use of the Gaikai cloud service (which Sony purchased mid last year), gamers can expect a fully social network integrated experience with their PlayStation 4 profiles. Not only will players be able to use their real name to form relationships and connections with friends and family, but will also have access to numerous upload and content sharing services.
At the forefront of this is the PS Share button. By tapping the button on the Dual Shock 4, the PlayStation 4 will upload video gameplay to the social networking services, having seamlessly recorded said gameplay in the background of general play. The PlayStation 4 user menu, and PlayStation Network service, will also be tailored and customised based on your social networking profile. You’ll only see the games and services that interest you and appeal to your tastes. Other players will also be able to spectate your game sessions, watching as you play, and leaving comments. They’ll even be able to take control of the game (with your permission), and help get you through any parts that you’re having trouble with.
In addition to this, Gaikai’s cloud services hope to offer two other functionalities. First is fragmented game downloads, similar to how some mobile games where, wherein digital titles download essential data first and late-game data last. This allows gamers to begin playing their digital titles before the game has fully downloaded. Secondly is game content streaming. The PlayStation 4 will not be backwards compatible with the PlayStation 3, or any other PlayStation console. Instead, Gaikai hopes to introduce real time game streaming and play as an online service, giving gamers access to the full library of past PlayStation console titles on a single system.
Gaikai did note that these cloud services will roll out in waves, and so folk should not expect all features available at launch.
Hardware connectivity and “always on” like features also appear to be a staple. Sony is promising connectivity to the PlayStation Vita as well as mobile devices, aiming for all PlayStation 4 games to have PlayStation Vita remote play. Making full use of the beefy system RAM, a suspend feature will let gamers stop a game at any point and continue about their day, only to boot up again later and continue from exactly where they left off.
And that’s a wrap! There’s still plenty more to show, and Sony is sure to do so at E3 2013. Stay tuned, because Rocket Chainsaw will keep you up to date on all of Sony’s PlayStation 4 announcements, including hands-on footage and coverage right from the E3 2013 show floor.