Introducing the PlayStation 4 - Arrives Holiday 2013
After a solid year of rumors on Sony's next PlayStation, the console has finally been announced. Sony announced the PlayStation 4 a little while ago, and while details are still pouring in, what's known so far is pretty impressive. For starters, the PS4 has been in development for five years, uses an AMD x86 CPU with eight cores, an "enhanced PC GPU", an indeterminate amount of internal hard drive storage, and 8GB of GDDR5 unified memory. The exact AMD processor isn't mentioned, though it'll be a "Jaguar" APU with a combined CPU and GPU on the same die. There's a new controller too, the DualShock 4. It's similar in shape to the past models, but on the front is a small touchpad, the top has a light bar to better ID players, the grips are rubberized, and there's a headphone jack. There's also Share and Options buttons on either side of the touchpad, which I'll discuss in a moment.
Sony wants the PlayStation 4 to be a seamless experience with minimal lag between you and the content. The PS4 allows games to be paused and resumed right where you left off with just a button press. It allows for a great deal more multi-tasking, which is always good to see. Internally, the console has a second chip dedicated solely to uploads and downloads. Games (and other content I imagine) can be download in the background (no firmware update necessary) or when the PS4 is turned off, plus you can begin playing a game as it's downloading. How's that for console innovation?
Now, back to that DualShock 4 and its new features. The light bar works in tandem with a new stereo camera to track position and identify the players. Sounds like an upgraded and built-in PS Move, although the current PS Move controllers are still supported. The touchpad is of the capacitive variety and can be clicked like a giant button, plus it should allow for easier ports of touch-enabled games at the least. That Share button is something else though, as it allows gamers to record and share gameplay clips with friends via Ustream and Facebook. Plus, thanks to Sony's acquisition of Gaikai, gamers can broadcast gameplay to their friends and if they get stuck, a friend can jump in and help out.
The PS4 is heavily consumer focused and can learn your likes and dislikes over time. It can even begin to download content based on previous purchases, though I imagine there'll be some kind of user-defined restriction on that. You can even see what your friends download so you no longer have to ask if they've tried out a certain game/demo. As for demos, well, Gaikai is offering another new feature, which lets you download any game and start playing right away. It's an impressive try before you buy feature, but it isn't just a demo or "lite" version of a game; it's the actual game that you can purchase later.
Remote Play gets an even bigger focus than ever before, as it's built directly into the PS4's architecture. Games can be streamed to a PS Vita, with the PS4 acting as a server and the Vita as a client. It should allow for decreased transmission time, plus you can immediately switch the game to the Vita if the TV is needed for something else. Provided you have a Vita, that is, but it's hinted at that other devices like smartphones and tablets could get the feature too. If you're wondering about backwards compatibility, well, there's some good news and some bad news. The bad news is there's no native backwards compatibility, but the good news is PS1, PS2, PS3, and even PS Mobile games can be streamed from the cloud. No word on how that'll be determined, but hopefully there's some way to scan in your current catalog of games (possibly via account registration) instead of rebuying everything.
Several games were announced for the PS4 as well, with plenty of others on the way. Some of the titles shown tonight include inFamous: Second Son from Sucker Punch, Killzone: Shadow Fall from Guerilla Games, Knack from Japan Studio, DriveClub from Evolution Studios, The Witness from Jonathon Blow (creator of Braid), and others. Blizzard is bringing Diablo III to both the PS4 and PS3, while Bungie is bringing its newly revealed Destiny to the console. A new Final Fantasy is also on the way, though Square Enix didn't reveal a name, Capcom showed off its new Panta Rhei game engine and Deep Down (working title), and Ubisoft revealed Watch Dogs will come to the PS4.
Sony didn't mention a price for the PlayStation 4, but we do know it's arriving this year. A holiday 2013 launch is planned for the PS4, though an exact date wasn't listed. The PS4 does have a Blu-ray drive, 802.11b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 2.1, HDMI out, Analog-AV, and optical out. USB 3.0 ports are also available, as well as an AUX port, though its exact use is unknown. Below are some pictures of the DualShock 4 from various angles, plus the new Eye camera for the system. It's listed as having a 1280x800 sensor capable of 60fps video capture.