In what was sort of like a mini half day at E3, Sony has officially announced the Playstation 4. I’ll save my opinions for the end but first lets get a recap of what was shown (and what wasn’t).
What’s Under the Hood
One of the things Sony clearly wanted to highlight was the engine running under the PS4. I must of heard the term “computational power” enough to last a lifetime. However Sony did have a point, with 8GB of unified DDR5 RAM, eight AMD x86-64 cores and a GPU that generate 1.84 teraflops the PS4 may not be able to send you back in time to save Twinkies but it should have no problem with multitasking. Which brings us to….
These two buzz words have been flung around tech announcements like beads at Mardi Gras and Sony has continued the trend. The PS4 will allow players to record and upload recent gameplay directly from the PS4. The new DualShock 4 controller even comes with a dedicated ”share” button. You can also eavesdrop on what your friends are playing with a new feature that will allow you to watch another players gameplay in real time. The feature will allow you to take over the other players controller to help them through a difficult part of the game.
Sony also announced that new apps for iOS and Android devices will allow you to connect to the PS4 in new ways.
Games on Demand
As a member of the Playstation Plus program I love getting free games to play every month, however one thing I’m not a fan of is waiting around for those games to finally download…. and install…. and update. Compared to the Xbox 360 this has been one of the downsides to the PS3. But now Sony assures us those days are over. With the PS4 when players purchase a digital version of a game the system will download a small portion and allow you to almost instantly play while the rest of the game downloads in the background. This will also be true of game demos. Of course all of this is because of Sony’s purchase of Gaikai last year.
As we reported a few days ago the leaked photos of the new DualShock 4 controller were pretty spot on. The new controller comes with a center touch screen, a share button and finally, after all these years, a microphone head jack. The back of the DualShock 4 also is equipped with a glowing light meant to identify players but more than likely its main function will be some type of motion control. The trigger buttons have also been redesigned. Check out the photos below.
Sony announced several new games we can expect to see along with stressing the strong partnership with several 3rd party developers. One game that really caught my attention was Bungie’s Destiny. Revealed earlier this week as a “shared world shooter” this game has a lot of promise coming from the makers of the Halo franchise.
Some other notable games to look forward to are:
Ubisoft: Watch Dogs: From the demo this new IP could be something truly impressive with its open world format and AI.
Capcom: Deep Down (working title): A fantasy game that will at least have some dragons to fight.
Sucker Punch: Infamous Second Son: It looks like this will be a separate game taking place in the infamous universe.
Gorilla Games: Killzone: Shadow Fall: Another entry into the well established FPS series.
A couple other things to note was that Square Enix teased a new Final Fantasy game. While no demo or trailer was shown we were told to look forward to this years E3.
How Did Sony Do?
Sony hit on a lot of notes that we all expected from a new console. Better graphics, improved hardware, social integration and games, however they seem to have intentionally held back in some key areas. The main one of course is we didn’t actually get to see the new PS4. After all this was supposed to be Sony’s moment in the spotlight. This was not E3. There was no other press conference from their competitors. They had the sole attention of gamers and the industry as a whole, yet the only hardware we got to see was the new DualShock 4 controller. I can’t help but feel Sony made this decision because they didn’t want to show Microsoft all their cards and I can understand that. Sony was first out of the gate, lifting a curtain on their new child before they knew what the neighbors kid looks like, but it still feels like a missed opportunity to me.
My other disappointment with the new PS4 came when it was announced that there would be no backwards compatibility with PS3 game discs. Yes I know that PS3 games will be available on the PS4 as digital downloads but come on, backwards compatibility has been around forever and when Sony just spent an hour talking about how powerful this new console is only to tell me its unable to read a disc from the PS3 it just feels like a way for them to try and get me to buy the games I already own. To make matters worse this morning Shuhei Yoshida, Sony’s Worldwide Studios president, announced that PSN games and PS3 saves will not transfer to the PS4. This is a bit of a kick in the teeth for PSN Plus Subscribers, like myself, who will lose all their games and saves if they upgrade to the new console.
As we get closer to E3 this summer no doubt more information will become available regarding the PS4. A console that shows a lot of promise and hopefully developers will put all that ‘computational power’ to good use. While no pricing was announced we did get a release window of Holiday 2013 which I would guess sometime early to mid November.
Be sure to leave you comment and let use know what are your thoughts on the PS4. Are you pre-ordering yours now or are you waiting to see what Microsoft has in store?