Yesterday Sony finally unveiled their PS4 console at a two hour long press event in NYC, and many details were released about it. Curiously two of the biggest details were left mysteries. Sony strategically forgot to give a price point for the PS4, and they also forgot to show us the actual hardware. Outside of the redesigned DualShock 4 controller Sony was shy on what the PS4 will actually look like.
Those omissions concern me, but all of the other features that were discussed definitely have me intrigued in the system. Continue on to read up on some of the more innovative features that will be available when the PS4 releases during the Holiday 2013 shopping season.
Like I mentioned we didn’t get to see the actual PS4 console, but Sony did open up on what the guts will contain. The PS4 will sport a x86 APU that combines the CPU and GPU on a single chip. Sony made a point to mention that many of the graphical processes will be handled on the GPU rather than the CPU, which allows for faster rendering and the overall high graphical fidelity of the system’s games.
It’ll feature 8GB of high speed RAM, and a large HDD. There will also be a secondary chip to strictly handle downloads and console software updates. The inclusion of this chip will allow for near instant software downloads, and the ability to have your console in a near “always-on” state to allow for patching and other update services.
I’m not sure if this chip also manages the PS4’s ability to be suspended mid-gameplay, but the console will feature the PC-like ability of suspending active sessions and hibernating, which will eliminate the boot time of the console. With the PS4 you’ll be able to suspend your gameplay from your controller, walk away for as long as you like, and when you’re ready to get back to the action you can jump right back into the game you were playing without having to wait for the PS4 to boot up.
Controller and Cameras
The PS4 will feature a redesigned controller dubbed the DualShock 4. The controller itself is still similar in design to the DualShock 3, but it adds a host of new functionality. Most notably is the touchpad and the all-in-one share button. The controller also has some sort of camera sensor present to accommodate some of the system’s new features.
The share button may seem lame, but it really seems like a powerful little bump on the DualShock 4. Sony said this button will allow you to instantly share live gameplay, screenshots, and pretty much any function you think a share button would handle on a next-gen video game console.[nggallery id=124]
The PS4 also features a camera system that is eerily similar to the Xbox 360’s Kinect. This device will work in tandem with the new controller and the Move peripheral to enable motion controls. Sony also mentioned that both the camera and controller will be used in the PS4’s impressive network capabilities to enable game broadcasting and other means of sharing your gaming experiences.[nggallery id=125]
I’ll be honest with you. I walked away from Sony’s PS4 event most impressed by its robust sounding network features. You could really tell that Sony took all of the PSN criticism to heart, because they’ve dumped all sorts of cash into creating what could be the most advance video game network on the planet (only time will tell though). They’ve definitely put a priority on the socialization of gaming, and if they pull it off Microsoft may finally have some competition in the network department.
To me the most notable networking features are the ability to stream live gameplay, and the ability to remote into a friend’s console to help them play through a difficult section of a game. The latter impressed me most, and I foresee a whole new market popping up for business minded gamers. I’m talking about Trophy farming like you’ve never seen before. I can almost promise that PS4 trophy fiends will take advantage of this feature to pad their pockets, or at least to pad their trophy collection. If you don’t feel like collecting hundreds of in-game items you could essentially “pay”, or ask someone to come in and do it for you. I like it, but need to see it in action before I can gush over the feature.
Streaming live gameplay without the need of a 3rd party device is pretty awesome as well, and it will only help to further the cyberathlete movement. Sony also mentioned that you could invite your friends into your living room to watch you play spectator style. I’m not entirely sure how that will happen, but they described it as if your friends would have an over-the-shoulder view of your play space. Again, until I see it in action I’m not going to get super excited about it.
Sony also showed off the new remote play capabilities of the PS Vita working in tandem with the PS4. For all intents and purposes the PS4 will enable the Vita to become a Wii U GamePad. Sony claimed that all PS4 games will be streamable to the handheld, so you don’t have to tie up the family TV with gameplay. Again, this sounds awesome, but I want to see it work in real life. Remote play is nothing new for Sony, but in its current state it isn’t very robust.
The last major piece of the PS4’s networking features is its Gaikai capabilities. Gaikai is a gaming centric cloud based service that Sony bought up last year, and they’ve put it to good use in the PS4. With this partnership gamers will be able to instantly start playing brand new digital titles just moments after hitting the buy button. You will no longer have to wait on downloads! The service will also allow you to demo any game in the store. From what Sony claimed it sounds like you can instantly play a game before you buy, and it’ll be the full experience, and not some watered down demo.
This cloud support will also enable you to play every PS1, PS2, PS3, and PS4 game on the go on the Vita (and the PS4 itself), and they even showed off other mobile devices. I’m not sure how a smartphone, or tablet will interface with the system, but they did mention that PS4 gaming will have a presence on these types of devices.
The PS4’s proposed network features sound amazing, but with all the functionality they bring I can’t see the PSN remaining a free service. Sony has to implement some sort of subscription model to fund all of the awesome features they promised. If they don’t they’ve already won the next-next-gen race, because their discussed network features will be innovative and top-notch beyond anything we’ve seen in this generation.
Sony only showed a glimpse of the PS4’s operating system, and to be honest with you it’s a 360 clone. It looked tiled and very similar to Microsoft’s current dashboard, which may or may not be a good thing depending on your view of the 360’s OS. I’m assuming you’ll be able to interact with it via the DualShock 4’s touchpad, but that functionality wasn’t discussed, because most of the time spent on PS4 software revolved around its game lineup.
It is evident that Sony took all of the developer criticism over the PS3 to heart, because they marched all sorts of big time studios in front of the NYC audience to gush over the PS4’s capabilities. Killzone: Shadow Fall was shown off by Guerrilla Games, Infamous was shown off by Sucker Punch, Watch Dogs was shown off by Ubisoft, and Epic prepared an Unreal 4 demo for the console. Other companies like Quantic Dream, Capcom, and Square-Enix also showed off their works in progress and new game engines.
Unreal Engine 4
Without a doubt the PS4’s graphical capabilities were put on display with all of these new games, and as expected the visuals are stunning. Any game that had a cartoon feel looked just like a PIXAR movie in terms of quality, and the grittier games looked similar to the early 2000’s CG movie Final Fantasy: Spirits Within. I’m impressed, but need to see the games running with my own two eyes. I’m not saying Sony tried to trick us with CG laden demos, but I want to see how these games look in the real world, and not in a controlled environment.
Overall, I would be lying if I said that I’m not excited about the PS4. If Sony can pay off on all of their huge promises, especially in regards to the game’s networking features, then MS best step up their game with the Xbox 720. Only time will tell if all of the PS4 features will translate to our gaming caves, but I feel like Sony did a great job revealing the new console. I found it odd that they didn’t give us a price, nor did they show us the console, so I hope that doesn’t point to shipping delays. For now the PS4 is set to release sometime during the Holiday 2013 shopping season, and if I were a betting man I’d say the release will happen in mid-November.
Let us know what you think about the PS4 by leaving some comments after the break. If you want to read our live blog of the event head on over to this link. We also have posted some of the PS4 game trailers on our YouTube page here. You’ve been liking what you saw in regards to the PS4…
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