For some time now there has been no single greater news story in the gaming community than the PlayStation 4; what the console will look like, it’s features, the games we can expect, and it’s price. On February 20th at 2pm PST, Sony finally unveiled the next-gen console, hopefully putting an end to all of the speculation and conjecture surrounding this most anticipated of systems.
Sony went into some depth about what the PlayStation 4 could do, but never once through the entire 2-hour presentation did the console ever make an actual appearance. Presenters did play some of the next-gen games that were prominently projected on screens inside the converted opera house, but the PlayStation consoles were all nicely tucked away backstage.
Jack Tretton, CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment of America had this to say:
“I don’t know that the box is going to be something that’s going to have a dramatic impact on people’s feelings about the game. It will be a color and a size fairly comparable to previous consoles. There’s a big story to tell here, and it’s going to take between now and the holiday season to get all the details out there.”
There’s something to start… the PlayStation 4 has been confirmed to be released for the holiday season 2013, just as Nintendo did with it’s next-gen Wii U this past holiday 2012. Unfortunately, a finalized price hasn’t been settled on yet, but it was stated that the PS4 wouldn’t be as high as the PS3 when it first came to market which averaged around $500 to $600. With that being said and comparing prices of other related consoles, I’d expect to see the price fall around the high $300s, if not in the $400 range, which is still a nick chunk of change, but a price many gamers will gladly pay to get their hands on the new system.
If you missed the Live Stream Unveil on February 20th, here is a full replay of that same 2-hour unveil I found posted on YouTube by the Sony PlayStation company:
(Video courtesy of PlayStation, YouTube)
(Warning: Some content may not be appropriate for all users. Viewer discretion is advised.)
What Sony did reveal were a few details of the inner workings of the PS4, which they said would essentially be a “supercharged PC,” mush like Microsoft’s Xbox. Sony, departing from PlayStation designs of old, are incorporating processing chips made by Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. Unfortunately, incorporating these chips will come with a cost that may leave a sour taste in the mouths of some gamers: that the new console won’t be able to play games created for any of the three previous PlayStation models. Essentially, no backwards compatibility. Instead, gamers will have to stream older games to the PS4 through the Internet.
Other new features focused on social networking and remote access. With the press of a button, players can broadcast video of their game play so friends can “look over your shoulder virtually.” With the remote play feature, players can have a game running on the PS4 and steam it over the Internet to the PS Vita, Sony’s latest mobile gaming device. One of the goals is to make the new PS4 good at determining what games & other content you want and download it on it’s own so you’ll have it before you even know you want it.
According to Mark Cerny, Sony’s lead system architect for the PS4:
“Our long-term vision is to reduce download times of digital titles to zero.”
Sony did show us an updated controller, the DualShock 4, and a decent in-depth look at the features it boasts, including:
- Bluetooth 2.1+EDR-equipped.
- A new light bar containing 3 color LEDs, corresponding to the PlayStation Move motion capture interface. The LED array changes colors to match the color of a character in a video game, or alert players to important situations (ex. a flashing pattern when nearing death).
- No ‘Start’ or ‘Select’ buttons.
- A new ‘Share’ button; giving players the ability to stream live game play to UStream, upload recorded game play videos to Facebook and other social media.
- A two-point capacitive touch pad (similar to the rear touchpad on the PS Vita) located above the analog sticks.
- A sensitive 6-axis accelerometer/gyroscope.
- An integrated small mono speaker and a stereo jack enabling players to speak into a headset and simultaneously hear game audio from the controller.
- Improved analog sticks and trigger buttons.
- An option to charge the controller even when the console isn’t powered on.
- Weighs only 0.6 ounces more than the PS3′s DualShock 3 controller and only a few centimeters difference in overall width, height and depth.
However, the bulk of Wednesday’s unveil was primarily devoted to demos of games to be released for the PS4, including a realistic team racing simulator, Drive Club, the super-powered action sequel Infamous: Second Son, an artsy puzzler The Witness and several first-person shooter games, including Killzone: Shadow Fall. Not only that, but it was also announced the PS4 will let people create animations in 3-D using a Move motion controller, all in real time.
And with the trending age of social networking and the rising surge of smartphones and tablets, the PlayStation Online Network will have access to Sony’s video and music services, as well as paid subscriptions to such services as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon. Users will also still be able to access Facebook.
The final conclusion… we did get some questions answered, but there is still more questions hanging out there left in the open. I’m still rather disappointed that we didn’t even get a sneak peak glimpse what the PS4 console even looked like. Over the upcoming months, as we get closer to the 2013 holiday season, more and more details surrounding the PS4 will come forth, and I’ll be sure to pass them along as I learn about them. But it looks so far that the next-gen PlayStation isn’t designed to revolutionize game play as many would have hoped, but simply seems to improve upon what already exists with updates to pre-existing games, but with more improved graphics.
I’m still going to buy it.
by J. Minton