Today Sony announced the next generation PlayStation at an event in New York. While they didn’t show the console’s body, they had plenty of things to unveil during the event: a brand new controller, new games and an awesome vision for the future of gaming.
New console announcements are usually reserved for events like E3 in June, but Sony made the right choice by bucking the trend and choosing to go with their own event for the PlayStation 4. Research firm EEDAR (Electronic Entertainment Design and Research) called the company’s decision “perfect” and “wise.” “By announcing early and at an isolated event, it allows Sony to capture 100 percent of the attention of gamers, technology enthusiasts, and industry insiders,” they said. And I’d have to agree — Ustream and other video streaming sites saw unprecedented numbers of viewers, even bringing some sites down in the process. Also, worldwide trends on Twitter were dominated by gaming topics and the new PlayStation.
The company has also released a full spec sheet for the new console:
- Single-chip custom processor, with eight x86-64 AMD Jaguar CPU cores and 1.84 TFLOPS next-gen AMD Radeon based graphics engine
- 8GB GDDR5 memory
- Built-in hard drive
- 6x Blu-Ray and 8x DVD drive
- USB 3.0 and auxiliary ports
- Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 2.1
- HDMI, analog AV-out, and optical S/PDIF audio output
- DualShock 4 controller, with two-point capacitive touchpad, three-axis gyroscope, three-axis accelerometer, vibration, light bar with three color LEDs, mono speaker, micro USB port, stereo headset port, extension port, 1000mAh battery
- PlayStation 4 Eye camera, with two 1280 x 800 cameras, f/2.0 fixed focus lenses, 85-degree field of view, 30cm minimum focusing distance, four-channel microphone array
Some people have pointed out that they have built PCs with similar specs — they’re missing the point. The closed architecture of a console allows for some pretty amazing visuals, which are guaranteed to be absent from most if not all PC games for awhile. Speaking of visuals, the games that Sony showed were just jaw-dropping. Sure, there was a racing game and an action game which people have come to expect, but they looked orders of magnitude better than anything we’ve seen to date, console or PC. One of the most impressive showings was by Killzone Shadow Fall, a first-person shooter developed by Sony first party studio Guerilla Games:
Also shown at the event was the DUALSHOCK 4, the PlayStation 4’s redesigned controller. While the previous generations of the PlayStation went for minor improvements when it came to updating the console, the DUALSHOCK 4 is making a pretty big leap in terms of functionality. The device retains a similar shape to the previous generation, but it adds a whole slew of new features: A 2-point touchpad in the middle face, an LED light bar at the top and a new “Share” button that will allow you to instantly upload or stream videos of your gameplay to multiple social networks. The controller will also work in tandem with a dual-camera device that will most likely be talked about more during E3.
Sony also announced that the PlaySation 4 will be capable of a low-powered “sleep” state that will allow you to resume gaming in an instant. The company emphasized the importance of immediacy, and in today’s world, that looks to be a very good idea. The console will also be able to stream games from the cloud ala Netflix, and should later on support streaming of the entire PlayStation catalog dating back to the first console. Taking a page out of Nintendo’s plans for this generation, the PS4 can also act as a sort of server to stream full PS4 games to the PS Vita, Sony’s handheld gaming device.
The PlayStation 4 also some social features, including the ability to see when your friends have bought a new game, watch them play their games, and even let them give you control of their gameplay if they ask for help in difficult situations.
Here’s a quick look at what Sony showed during their event:
At the end of the event, Sony announced that the PS4 would be making its way to gamers this holiday season. No exact date or price were announced. For that, we’ll have to wait for E3. Or who knows, maybe Sony can do their own event again — sure seems like they know how to pull it off.
As a gamer and a fan of what Sony has brought to my favorite hobby, I just have to say that they did not disappoint. All the hype could have backfired on them, but instead they delivered an amazing vision for what’s next in gaming. The next generation of gaming has officially arrived with the announcement of the PlayStation 4. And it looks glorious.
Update: The entire press conference has been posted online and can be viewed here.