On Feb. 20, Sony held a press conference announcing the successor of the PlayStation 3, the PlayStation 4. Although the console was not physically displayed, gameplay, demonstrations and the controller were shown, allowing Sony to tell the world what the PS4 can bring to the table.
First, the hardware specs were displayed. The PlayStation 4 sports an X86 CPU, GDDR5 RAM, 8
GB Unified Memory and an internal hard drive. Some aspects of the new console, specifically the
supercharged PC architecture and the enhanced PC GPU, gives the PS4 the power of a gaming PC with
the PlayStation brand. Also, this architecture makes games easier to develop for than the PS3, which could mean more games for the console.
Although Sony told and showed what the hardware could do, the physical console was not shown,
mostly because Sony wanted to focus on what the PS4 could do rather than what it is. The new
controller, however, was shown. Sony learned from their mistakes from the early DualShock controller
and the prototype Boomerang controller before it before it came out with the DualShock 4.
This controller shows enhanced vibration, a headphone jack, concave sticks and triggers that look
more like the Xbox 360’s controller. Additionally, the two central buttons, the start and select, have been removed in favor of a touchpad, much like the back of Sony’s PlayStation Vita handheld. Also,
the top of the controller has three new features, a blue bar that will enhance controller detection, an
options button and a share button.
This share button shows how the PS4 will integrate social media into the gaming experience. After
Sony bought Gaikai, an internet streaming service for PC’s, Gaikai went to work making it easy for
gamers to interact with each other via almost any social platform. With the share button, anyone can
share at most the last fifteen minutes of gameplay straight from the PS4 to Facebook, UStream or other
media, although YouTube and Twitter integration was not shown or confirmed. Other players can also
watch from their PS4 one of their friends playing a game live in a universal spectator mode.
Although integration with social media is big, it would all be for naught if the games that come out for
the console do not deliver. Fortunately, Sony has first- and third-party support for this console already,
with developers from companies such as Sucker Punch, Evolution, Capcom and Activision taking the
stage to show off demos of what the PS4 is capable of or announce games that would appear on the
console, like Capcom’s “Deep Down,” Evolution’s “Drive Club” and Bungie’s “Destiny.” Even an architect of the PS4 is developing an exclusive game for the PS4 called “Knack.” In fact, it has been revealed that all twelve of Sony’s own studios are developing games for the PS4.
The many games for the PS4 are needed, too. One of the low points of the PS4 is the lack of
backwards compatibility with the PS3, even the downloadable titles. The console will only support
games from a PS4 disc or a digital download. All PS4 games on disc can also be downloaded digitally, and all games can be played through the PlayStation Vita, freeing the television for other purposes. The PS4 will also support used games, despite rumors that the next-gen consoles would not allow this.
With this announcement and the already released Wii U, people are looking toward Microsoft, which
is looking to announce a next generation console in April. The possibility shows that 2013 is the year
of new consoles and the beginning of a new “console war.” The PS4 will be released during the holiday
season this year at an unknown price, although Sony has announced that it has tried to keep the PS4
affordable and it has been rumored that the price range would be from $400 to $529.