Sony has announced the PlayStation 4. The design remains a secret so far but Sony has revealed that it will use more powerful hardware, a new DualShock4 controller, a new user interface, game streaming (cloud gaming) and much more. PlayStation will be available by the end of 2013.
PlayStation 4 announced
Sony was not willing to reveal all the details about the upcoming PlayStation4 at the big PS4 event but there is still plenty to report. PlayStation 4 will obviously be faster, better and more powerful. It boots up much quicker and the entire user interface will be revamped. The Xross interface is dead.
PlayStation 4 has been announced and will be available by the end of 2013
PlayStation 4 will have a range of new features but the main focus is obviously the gaming experience that will become more beautiful than ever but also a lot more social. Sony greatly expands the online features so you can share your game experience with friends and acquaintances. You can also use a smartphones as a “second screen” for games. One of the most important new features of PlayStation 4 is game streaming (also referred to as Cloud gaming). This is Sony’s first major push into the new territory and we already heard about the plans at the event.
The new DualShock 4
Sony talked a lot about the new powerful hardware that enables developers to create graphics that far exceed that of the PS3. One of the games that was announced and demonstrated was Killzone: Shadow Fall that you can see in the video below.
Diablo III will also come to PS3 and PS3. In addition, Sony announced Watch Dogs, Infamous: Second Son, Drive Club, Destiny (see the video below) and The Witness. The introduction of Diablo is without doubt the most exciting announcement as it includes a “strategic partnership” with Blizzard which can only mean that Blizzard has plans to port more games for the PlayStation.
Stream demos - more coming
Sony acquired Gaikai last summer. Gaikai specializes in streaming of games via the internet (similar to streaming of movies on for example Netflix). Gaikai’s technology will be implemented in the PlayStation 4 so you can stream games. One of the new features is the ability to start every game demo instantly. Just press play and game. This is done via streaming. If you buy a full game you can also start downloading and immediately start playing; a combination of downloading and streaming. Additionally, be clicking the “Share” button on the controller you can broadcast your game experience to friends and acquaintances via online video.
Blizzard will release games for PlayStation 4. The first one is Diablo 3
PlayStation 4 will not have native support for PS3 games on the hardware level – Sony has a different plan. Sony did not provide details but says that they are working on making PS3 games available on different devices. But that’s not all. PS2 and PS1 games will also be available. How? Streaming – or cloud gaming. From what we understood this is not necessarily a feature that will be available at launch but Sony has already committed to it by communicating it not only on the press conference but also in press releases. By streaming games the lack of native hardware compatibility for older games becomes irrelevant. It is a smart move and a major push into a new internet game era. Also, Sony says that PS4 games can be enjoyed on the PlayStation Vita handheld via "Remote Play". Again; a form of streaming.
Play all game demos via streaming. Sony will also make PS3, PS2 & PS1 games available via streaming
Games can obviously also be downloaded onto the hard disc inside PS4. A new app for iOS and Android (no support for Microsoft’s Windows Phone) will even enable you to use the device as a second screen; for example as a map in game. The app will also allow you to see what your friends are playing and stream video from within their game (if they allow it). You can even buy games from the app and tell you PlayStation 4 at home to start downloading the game so you can start enjoying it the minute you enter your living room.
Lastly, Sony announced the PlayStation4 Eye, a device similar to Microsoft’s Kinect. It can detect people in front of the TV and enable motion based game controls. It also supports more than two people, Sony says.
The hardware inside PlayStation 4
You can still buy games on a Blu-ray disc but Internet distribution gets a much more important role
PlayStation 4 will be powered by what is best described as PC hardware. Sony no longer relies on the Cell processor. Instead they have chosen to integrate a graphic card from AMD and processors from AMD called Jaguar.
The processor has eight CPU cores and Sony also highlights the 8GB of RAM. It is difficult to predict how big a performance boost this will offer but a good guess is that PlayStation 4 is somewhere between the most powerful gaming PCs and the mid-end gaming PCs. Especially the 8GB of RAM (versus 256MB on PS3) should allow game developers to create breathtaking games. Nothing mentioned about 4K at all.
In addition to the streaming & downloading game services, PlayStation 4 will also implement a Blu-ray slot that is faster than the one in PS3, so expect faster game installation. The PS4 also has a built-in hard drive and USB ports. You can output the picture via HDMI and connect the internet via either cable (gigabit) or WiFi.
Sony’s PlayStation 4 will be available on the market by the end of 2013. Sony did not announce a price and we still have some unanswered questions. Expect to hear much more over the coming months. Now all you need is patience.