Video Games, Playstation 3, Xbox 360, nintendo, wii, ds, sony, microsoft, PSN, XBLA, Onlive, Playstation Vita, Wii U,
Posted by Liam on Feb 24, 2013
The PlayStation 4 – The next-gen is here!

The PlayStation 4 – The next-gen is here!

After weeks of rumours and a few leaks, Sony unveiled its latest gaming console, the PlayStation 4. The event, held in New York, introduced us to new games, the new Eye camera, the latest version of the PlayStation controller, the user interface of the PS4’s software and much more; Sony just forgot one thing… the console itself. After all the hype from Sony, “See the future of PlayStation” they said, we ironically didn’t actually see the thing. Does that matter? Not really; we now know everything the console will do and the powerful internals within the console, besides, does it matter what the console will look like once it’s sat under your TV?

The Specs

A lot of time at the event was spent telling us what the console was capable of and how they had made it “developer friendly”. First up, there’s been a big change in the processor and architecture of the system; the PS4 will use an 8-core 64-bit x86 AMD CPU named the ‘Jaguar’, similar to that of high-quality gaming PC’s. Accompanying that will be a Radeon GPU capable of data speeds at 1.84 TFLOPS, basically its fast… very fast. killzone_shadowfall_7A Blu-Ray player running at x6 and an 8 speed DVD. 8GB of unified GDDR5 RAM, USB 3.0 ports, Bluetooth 2.1 and 802.11n Wi-Fi capability. Connections wise we of course have an HDMI port and joining that are ports for optical audio out and even analogue AV. If all that means nothing to you, well here’s a summary; it’s fast and powerful, and a huge improvement over the PlayStation 3.

The PlayStation Network

With the new console, we expected there to be huge improvements to the PSN and we haven’t been let down. The big news, which wasn’t exactly a huge surprise, the PlayStation cloud; powered by Gaikai, an online video game streaming service which Sony purchased last year. On the PlayStation 4, gamers will be able to stream the latest PlayStation 4 games, as well as download them or buy them on Blu-Ray disk. That brings one very cool feature; want to demo a game? You can do that instantly, you don’t even need to download it first and when you decide to purchase the game, it will download in the background whilst you continue to play. One slightly annoying point of the PlayStation 4 is it lacks backwards compatibility with PlayStation 3 games; however Sony will make previous PS1, PS2 and PS3 games available on its cloud service so you can access them anytime. Sony is also betting big it seems on its new ‘Share’ feature, the button placed on its new Dualshock 4 controller. Hitting that button will instantly give you the option to record your gameplay, going back as far as the last 15 minutes you’ve played; you can then send that footage to YouTube or Facebook. There will be an ability to take screenshots too. A growing feature in the gaming community is streaming your game online, and Sony has done well to cater for those select few too, you can stream your game to online service ‘UStream’ and to your PSN friends. Finally party chat has come to the PlayStation and combine that with the online streaming; you shall get something very cool. Quite possibly my favourite standout feature on this next generation console is the ability for your friends to view you playing a game and chat to you whilst you do so. It goes further than that though, not only can your friend give you tips whilst you play and help you get past that specific level, they will be able to take over your game and complete that level for you.

 

camera_07PlayStation Vita, Eye and Move

If playing your PlayStation with just the standard controller isn’t enough, Sony once again with the PS4 has you covered. With the PlayStation Vita you will be able to remote play games from the console, and don’t worry, this time around it is far more advanced than the PS3 and PSP’s remote play. Similar to what we’ve seen on the Nintendo Wii U, the PS4 can send your game to the Vita, you can carry on from where you left off on the console and your game saves through the cloud. Lots of potential there for Sony and developers could easily do what they are doing with the Wii U on the PS4 too. Moving on to the Move (Excuse the pun); the controller hasn’t changed at all, so as far as we know, the minority of us who own the Move controller can continue to use (or not use them as the case may be) with the new system. However, looks like we’ll need that new Eye camera. The new Eye camera has clearly been inspired by the Kinect camera from Microsoft; it features two high-sensitive cameras with wide angle lens (good news for those of us with not much space in front of the telly) at a HD resolution and has four integrated microphones. Microsoft here is at real benefit though, if developers get on board with Sony and its Eye camera, it could mean we see more motion control games multi-platform.

The Dualshock 4

I won’t speak much of the Dualshock 4 controller as we have a more in-depth article herebut I will say it is quite an improvement over the Dualshock 3, keeping the familiar look and layout whilst adding a touchpad, microphone connection and that ‘Share’ button we spoke of earlier.

The Games

What would an announcement of a console be without any games… thankfully Sony did show us what its studios have been working on and brief tech demos showed off the potential of this thing. Killzone: Shadowfall, InFamous: Second Sun and Driveclub were 3 first-party titles revealed. Infamous_second_sun_2Killzone continuing the franchise on to this next-gen console whilst InFamous returns but with an entirely new character and story. Driveclub is the first next generation racing game to be seen, it comes from Evolution Studios, the developers behind the popular PlayStation exclusive series Motorstorm. Square Enix were there with a tech demo showing what they were capable of doing and teased a new Final Fantasy game will be revealed at E3 in June. Capcom had a working title to show called Deep Down which looked very impressive. Knack is another first-party title from Sony Japan Studios and its being directed by Mark Cerny, a guy who also worked on Rachet & Clank and Crash Bandicoot. Media Molecule, famous for the LittleBigPlanet games, showed a slightly weird concept game about bringing your dreams to life; using the PlayStation Move controls you can sculpt objects and interact with them. A big shock to a lot of gaming fans; Bungie, the creator of the Xbox’s Halo series were there to present their new game Destiny, which will not only be available on the PS3 and PS4 but will also feature PlayStation exclusive content. The developers of popular indie game Braid revealed a new title called The Witness, which once again shall be a very unique puzzle game. Lastly, and quite possibly most importantly, David Cage from Quantic Dream turned up to talk about how the PlayStation system has evolved from its first iteration. Quantic Dream has become a bigger name in the industry since releasing Heavy Rain a couple of years ago and are currently at work on their next PS3 title Beyond: Two Souls to be released later this year. David didn’t have a new game to reveal unfortunately but did give us a tech demo of an old man’s face; the emotion and detail on the character was unbelievable, I would go as far as saying it is better than any CGI characters we have seen in the film industry and if this is what is in store for the future of gaming, well consider me very excited.

Summary

So in summary of the packed event, I can say the future does look bright for Sony and its certainly all eyes on Microsoft now to see what they can offer. The games visually impressed and the future does look very bright; it may not look like a huge improvement over the PS3’s graphics but thanks to the PS4’s new specs there doesn’t seem to be any limits here in what the developers can do. No graphical limits and a console designed with developers in mind means we could see some real innovation this generation in terms of storyline and characters. There are still a lot of questions to be answered about the PlayStation 4 and I’m sure we’ll hear more about it at E3, Gamescon and the Tokyo Game Show later this year.

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