On Wednesday, Feb. 20, Sony held a PlayStation event in New York City, which served as an announcement for the company’s long-rumored next generation home console.
Officially and most creatively titled, the PlayStation 4 will be released during the 2013 holiday season.
Even though the system was not being shown, Sony revealed the new controller, detailed the console’s internal specs and showed video and live demos of a few freshly-announced games.
The new DualShock 4 controller is reminiscent of the DualShock 3 of yesteryear with a few new additions. The biggest of which is a capacitive touch pad that will replace the start and select buttons on the top part of the controller’s front side — the specific use of which was not particularly covered. The analog sticks have been redesigned, the D-pad is slightly larger and altered L2 and R2 triggers are more akin to the Xbox 360 and Wii U’s pro controllers.
Rounding out the new features are a “Light Bar” to differentiate players’ Dualshocks, a headphone jack and a share button that will allow users to easily upload videos of play sessions.
Without getting too technical, the hardware breaks down as such: a custom 8-core AMD “Jaguar” x86-64 with integrated graphics APU and “next-generation” AMD Radeon graphics processor boasting capabilities to produce 1.84 teraflops. The system will also pack 8 GB of dedicated GDDR5 memory (RAM). Basically, this machine will be a beast when it comes to graphics, as was shown from some early gameplay.
PlayStation 4 will include a local hard drive, although capacity was not mentioned yet, nor were multiple SKUs, as seen with most console launches since the Xbox 360 in 2005. Sony’s handheld console, the PS Vita, will also serve functionality with some games offering the option to be played on the smaller screen, similar to the Wii U’s tablet controller.
Backward compatibility with prior consoles, as of right now, will be unavailable, but media streaming from apps such as Netflix, Hulu Plus, Crackle and Amazon Instant will be. Sony’s paid online service, PlayStation Plus, will continue as well. After the press conference, Sony Computer Entertainment America President and CEO Jack Tretton clarified that normal retail-released games will remain at the price point of $60.
So after all this blabbering similar to the press conference, here comes what should be cared about — the games.
Shown or announced on stage were entries in the “Killzone,” “Infamous” and “Final Fantasy” series, along with “Halo” developer Bungie’s new shooter, “Destiny” and a new racing IP called “DriveClub,” among others. “Watch Dogs,” from Ubisoft Montreal, and “Diablo III,” developed by Blizzard Entertainment, were revealed for the new system, with PS3 versions in the pipeline, too.
The games all looked fantastic from a graphics standpoint with excellent detail on character models and environments, complemented by some truly astounding lighting and particle effects, like the fire during the “Killzone: Shadow Fall” demo. Although the games look great, the jump in quality isn’t quite as jolting as it was going from the PS2 to PS3.
Overall, it was a good press conference, minus some creepy and/or awkward presenters, and the occasional video of certain “big names” of the industry professing their “love” for Sony and explaining why their console is so great. Sony did exactly what was expected, and outside of showing the PS4 itself, gave a good representation of what to look forward to this fall. More about the console, including what it actually looks like, will undoubtedly be revealed this June during Sony’s press conference at the biggest gaming event of the year, E3.