The Future of Gaming Is Coming
Nintendo and the Wii U may have ushered in the next generation of console gaming, but Sony just brought it crashing through the walls. Tonight, at a lengthy presentation in New York, the storied game company introduced us to the next big leap in home consoles with the announcement of the PlayStation 4. The company discussed some of the intricate hardware details of the new platform, explained the goals they hope it will achieve, and unveiled some exciting new gameplay experiences.
Sony started its show by revealing some of what we can expect from the PlayStation 4’s hardware. The company expressed a desire for their new architecture to be somewhat analogous to a more traditional computer setup, and much of that design paradigm is evident in the system specs. The PlayStation 4 will sport an 8-core CPU based on the x86 chipset. It will also include an enhanced PC GPU and 8 gigabytes of RAM, with the latter of which becoming extremely important when all of the console’s sharing and media features are brought to the table. While no physical console design was shown, Sony did reveal its new DualShock 4 controller, which closely matched its leaked images and descriptions. It features a new touchpad in the center of the controller, along with a “lightbar” that faces the TV and tracks the controller in 3D space, enhanced rumble capability, and a “share” button.
This share button exists to take full advantage of the PlayStation 4’s rich functionality in the realms of connectivity and social interaction. A single press of that button allows players to share video of their gameplay with others across both the PlayStation Network and more traditional social media platforms like Facebook and uStream. The PlayStation Network itself will also see a major upgrade; for example, it will now include a “try it now” option for nearly every game available on the PlayStation Store. Additionally, thanks to the PS4’s powerful hardware, players can begin playing a downloadable title immediately; the console will download enough data to launch the game, and said game will continue to download and install itself in the background. Sony is also considering adding titles from each of their past PlayStation consoles to the Network in downloadable, on-demand form. The PlayStation Network will also be fully integrated with Sony’s Music and Video Unlimited services as well as content from providers like Netflix and Amazon. The connectivity aspects of the PlayStation 4 extend even farther with new ways to interact with others as you play. Players will now have the opportunity to stream their gameplay live to their friends; those friends can freely spectate and comment on that video stream. Additionally, at the player’s discretion, friends can take direct control of a player’s character to help them get through a tough spot or provide them with extra resources. In addition, the PlayStation 4 will support an enhanced version of Remote Play. Remote Play will allow players to stream and play PS4 games right on their PlayStation Vita wherever they are as long as that Vita has an internet connection.
Of course, all these specs and features will barely matter if the system lacks quality games, but Sony seems to have its bases covered there as well. Almost all of the back half of their presentation was dedicated to publishers and developers showing off new and previously-announced titles for the PlayStation 4. Sony themselves showed off Killzone: Shadow Fall, and Jonathan Blow (the creator of Braid) showed additional footage for his game The Witness, a title that will initially be exclusive to the PlayStation 4. There were many major third-party publishers and developers on hand as well. Capcom debuted a new next-generation engine and teased a new IP tentatively called Deep Down. Square Enix also debuted a next-gen engine and teased the announcement of a new Final Fantasy game for the platform. Mark Cerny, formerly of Naughty Dog, debuted his next project, a cartoony action game called Knack. Ubisoft showed off a brand-new next-gen demo of the hotly-anticipated Watch Dogs, and Activision gave gamers another glimpse of Bungie’s newly-announced project Destiny.
As one might expect, no firm release dates or prices were announced, with Sony only revealing a holiday 2013 launch window for the console. The company also teased new plans to expand the capabilities of the Vita, although no specifics were discussed. There will, of course, be more news on the PlayStation 4 in the coming months, so stay tuned for that. In the meantime, what did you think of Sony’s big announcement? Leave your feedback and thoughts in the comments section below.