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Sony's PlayStation 4 revealed!

And the big reveal is, yep you guessed it, it's called the PlayStation 4. I guess my prediction about it being called PlayStation Orbis was way off.

Core specs

Announced live from New York City in the wee hours of this (South African) morning, Sony's PlayStation 4 will be a monstrously powerful piece of modern electronica. The core specs are:

  • 8GB of unified memory
  • CPU: 8-core, 64 bit x 86 "Jaguar" CPU built by AMD
  • GPU: 1.84 teraflops, AMD next-generation Radeon based graphics engine
  • 2 teraflops computational performance
  • Blu-ray drive
  • Built-in 80.211 b/g/n Wi-FiBluetooth 2.1, as well as HDMI, Analog-AV, and optical digital output
  • USB 3.0 ports as well as an "AUX" port
  • Mono headset
All coming together in what the Japanese company is describing as "Supercharged PC architecture." Effectively the company is claiming to have built a modern game console that will feature an "easy conversion path from the PC world" to create a machine that is "by game creators, for game creators". As proof of the new machine credentials they showed of a real time demo of the Unreal Engine 4.

Social gaming's next level

Sony was been keen to emphasize the consoles social media features. The PS4 will allow your friends to watch live video of your play sessions, but it goes beyond just spectating. If you're stuck in a particular section, your buddies can remotely take control of your game and give you a hand. There will also be integration with social networks by way of smart phones, tablets and web apps, with Sony making sure to emphasize the PlayStation Vita's role in that experience.

The intent is for the PS4 to transcend the living room.


The Dualshock 4

Along with the new console, the company also showed off the new Dualshock 4. The controller matches up pretty well with the recently leaked photos. It's not too much of a departure from the previous three Dualshocks, but the design has been tweeked a bit. The rumoured touchscreen does exists and the front of the controller shows off a "light bar" which will work with a camera accessory, the Dualshock 4 basically mimicking the capability of the PS Move. Other features include a "Share" button and a built-in headphone jack.

Data-mining your habits with Gaikai

As suspected, the Sony's purchase of video game cloud service Gaikai, was to integrate the service into the new console. With the PlayStation 4, you will actually be able to play PlayStation Network games while they are downloading. The intent is to, "reduce download times of digital titles to zero." Even better, games will be ready to play before you even decide to buy them, the Gaikai algorithm data-mining your habits and those of your friends to learn your likes and dislikes in order to predict what games you may want. The console will also allow for updates to download in the background. Hallelujah. 


Next-gen games

But the real highlight of the whole affair was the wealth of quality looking games that were shown off. First up was a new piece of IP called Knack. Knack looks like a bit of throwback of game, with the player controlling the the titular hero, a robot designed to battle a goblin menace. The look and feel of the game has a very 90s 16-bit mascot vibe going to it.


Also on show was a new chapter in the Killzone franchise, titles Killzone: Shadow Fall. A pretty lengthy gameplay demo was shown - I assume it was a gameplay demo, Killzone having pulled an Aliens once before - that looked absolutely phenomenal, but not particularly innovative. FPS is FPS.

Then the team rolled out spectacular looking racing title that isn't a new Gran Turismo, surprisingly. Drive Club looks to contain lavishly detailed models of the worlds most lustworthy super cars, right down to their interiors. How this game is trying differentiate itself from other racing games, is it emphasis on team racing. The idea is, that players will form clubs with the friends and then race against other clubs as a team. So you can look forward to 3x3 race events, as an example.

A fairly lengthy trailer for inFamous: Second Son was shown, in development by Sucker Punch. The trailer showed off a presumably new protagonist with fire and ash based powers. The new game appears to take place in Orwellian dystopia, with a militarised and surveillance heavy society. Cole McGrath was nowhere to be seen.

A number of other developers also appeared on stage to announce various game that will appear on the system, including Bungie (Destiny, with PS4 exclusive content), Ubisoft (Watch Dogs), Square Enix (a new Final Fantasy title) and Capcom (Deep Down). An unexpected attendee was Blizzard, who appeared on stage to reveal that Diablo III would be coming to the PS4, as well as the PS3.

What was very surprising about nearly all the games on show or announced was the distinct lack of brown in the games' colour palettes. Even Killzone featured tons of colour, so hopefully the age of the monotone game has come to an end.

Closing thoughts

All this points to Sony really making an effort to fix all the niggling issues of PlayStation 3, the bothersome updates and the cumbersome interface. It looks like Sony is looking to make a console that just works and which makes the users experience as painless as possible. If it all comes out as Sony's saying, then it looks like they may have a winner on their hands.

All in all, good show, with some great reveals on hand. Their were just three things missing from the event.

  • No price was given for the console.
  • There was nary a whiff of the actual console.

And Kaz Hirai didn't show up either, nevermind screaming: Ridge Racer.

What's your take on the PlayStation 4? Do you think it will take console gaming to the next level?

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