Everything About the PlayStation 4 Announcement (That Matters)
The PlayStation 4 is here and we are here to tell you everything about it. During a PlayStation meeting yesterday in New York the details about the future of the PlayStation brand were announced, including the PlayStation 4, games, hardware specs and much more. Before we get ahead of ourselves and start throwing rose petals at Shuhei Yoshida feet, let’s break down exactly what we know from the conference and what is still left to be known about the new home console. If you want to watch the conference again the announcements are all being played on a loop on the USTREAM I have posted here.
Biggest Announcements from the PlayStation 4 Meeting:
- Release Date: Holiday 2013
- Controller: Dual Shock 4
- Processor: Custom 8-core AMD x86-64 with powerful AMD Enhanced GPU
- Ram: 8GB of GDDR5 memory
- New Infamous Game – InFAMOUS: Second Son
- New Killzone Game – Killzone: Shadow fall
- Bungie Announcement – Destiny Will Come to PlayStation 4
- Ubisoft Announcement – Watch Dogs Will Come to PlayStation 4
|PlayStation 4 Specs|
The maker of Marble Madness, Lead System Architect Mark Cerny, came out on stage to talk about what the PlayStation 4 is going to be about tech wise. He constantly iterated that the PlayStation 4 is supposed to be a love letter to developers. We have heard rumors in the past, but it is now confirmed, the PS4 will be on a x86 architecture processor. This is huge news because of all of the problems the PS3 has had in the past with ported games. No more should there be any Skyrim DLC like problems for the next Sony home console.
We were able to create, in PlayStation 4, a platform by game creators, for game creators. – Mark Cerny
The processor is not the only thing that will open up the PS4 to developers. Mark Cerny has been a part of the development process for almost 30 years, so he sought out other developers to find out what they wanted to see from the next generation. The new powerful GPU is another example of what developers wanted, according to the presentation. The new APU will be able to handle calculations that normally a CPU would be responsible for. They showed a small demo where a million particles were able to move fluidly in an environment, all on a GPU. That is some powerful stuff.
The last bit of surprising news about the specs is the amount of RAM. The PlayStation 4 will have 8 GB of GDDR5 RAM. Now for those of you who don’t know, or really care, about the different types of RAM, GDDR5 RAM is a specific type that is able to transfer data faster than normal DDR4 RAM that you find in most PC’s. This means that not only will the home console have a lot of RAM, it will have a lot of efficient RAM and that is a good sign for PlayStation lovers.
|The New Dual Shock 4|
The controller has been talked to death in the past month leading up to the conference. All of the questions were answered when finally, the PlayStation 4 controller was revealed. The rightfully named Dual Shock 4 looks like a more modern version of the Dual Shock. The analog sticks seem to dimple inward, instead of outward on the PlayStation 3 controller, the triggers are finally getting an upgrade, there is a front touch pad and a brand new “share” button featured predominantly on the top of the controller.
The share button is what I’m most interested in. This button will allow players to share, in real time, their gaming experience with their friends and the internet. This means live streaming, capturing screenshots and chatting with your friends is going to be much easier on the PlayStation 4. They also announced cross game chat for the new console, which was a major oversight in the chat system that is in place for the PlayStation 3. At the end of this section, they mentioned that someone may even be able to “share” the experience they are having. The example they give is, let’s say, you are stuck on some part in a game. You may be able to share your screen with a friend who has beaten the game and have them take over to get you through a tough patch.
One part I haven’t mentioned yet, because I really could care less, is that there is some kind of light sensor on the top of the controller. This sensor will be picked up by a Kinect like PlayStation Eye. A stereoscopic camera will be able to sense your position from the tv with this eye. Not much was really talked about on the subject of this piece of hardware. It is known that the eye can capture images at 60 FPS at a much higher resolution than the Kinect that is currently on the Xbox 360.
So, at the end of the day, most of the rumors were true. The one thing that is for sure is that the PlayStation controller is more than just a regular dual shock. The games of the next generation will probably involve the PlayStation eye and some touch pad tomfoolery. At least the analog sticks, buttons, d-pad and triggers are still available for a game experience that I will want in the future and should be a little more comfortable than other PlayStation controllers in the past.
|Remote Play, Streaming & Gaikai|
The PlayStation meeting talked a lot about how they were going to use the technology that came in the purchase of Gaikai. New features are going to be added to the PlayStation Store. Supposedly, the new technology will be able to track your game purchases and actually start preloading likely games that you will buy. It also will be able to start a game while it is still downloading. A couple of developers mentioned that one push of a button will take you directly into a game.
What they are talking about is the ability to play a game while it’s downloading. Supposedly, all of the digital content that will be available on the PS4 will be able to handle game playing and downloading at the same time. There will be a second chip that is dedicated to downloading programs, updates and other content in the background freeing up the CPU and GPU to do the heavy lifting.
This could be an awesome thing for PlayStation. The PlayStation store is absolutely horrendous in it’s current form. From what the conference showed it seemed like the new store will be more intuitive and be much easier to navigate. This means I will actually be able to find the games that I want when firing up the PS4. On the other hand this could just be a sly way of justifying directional ads for each user. If the PlayStation store is able to track your games and track your likely purchases, that means that Sony will be able to advertise more effectively to players. The notion of Sony doing this to sell more games, instead of being about making my experience better, makes me feel kind of dirty on the inside.
Another thing that makes me feel dirty (perfect transition) is the talk of remote play that happened in the conference. I only have one thing to say on the subject of remote play. PPPppfffffttttt. We have all heard PlayStation for YEARS talk about how remote play was going to change gaming and be a reality and blah, blah, blah. Some people may call me a fanboy of other consoles but this is something I’m not so sure about. The way that they announced cloud features and how they will be rolling them out incrementally along makes me think that even with the new technology this system is going to be touch and go. I hope that I’m wrong. I hope that I have a PlayStation 4 and Vita in the next year that work together perfectly. But I am not going to be disappointing if it doesn’t work either because hey, they have told it to us all before.
The ONLY hope for remote play is Gaikai. According to the conference there is specific hardware pieces in the PlayStation 4 that will act as a game server. This server then will then be able to transmit the gameplay to the Vita. I thought I should say it just for the sake of being said but I still think the burden of proof is on PlayStation for this one. They have said all of this nonsense in the past about remote play and the only new technology this time around is… a 400 million dollar company, new hardware and everything else. Ok MAYBE it will work this time but I am still not going to hold my breath until I see it in action.
|Games Announced for PlayStation 4|
The real news, the news that anyone really cares about, is the games. I like to think, in my head like most people do, that someone over at PlayStation finally heard us and are listening because there was host of awesome looking games in the conference. There was a host of full playable demos that where being played live on stage on PlayStation 4 hardware with a controller in hand. This really showed a commitment from Sony to give us gamers exactly what we are looking for. Now let’s break down some of these games.
The first game showed was a game that is being produced by the system architect himself, Mark Cerny. This game featured some kind of creature that can suck up and expel what looked like different objects in his/her environment. The game looks like a mixture of puzzle and action. No release date was given, but the trailer is worth a peek.
The one thing of real note in this game is the art style. It looks almost like a Pixar movie. However, the art style is a lot better in the cut scene then in the actual gameplay shown later in the conference. The creator has worked on games like Ratchet & Clank and Crash Bandicoot so he comes from a good background in game development. Look more for this game on Gamers Heroes soon!
|Killzone: Shadow Fall|
The first game showed, early in the show, was the new Killzone title. This new title will take place in the future. Years after the events of Killzone 1,2 and 3 this new title will be almost like a civil war. The Helgast and the Vectas will fight over planets. There is almost a wall dividing these two factions and that is the conflict that is shown in the trailer below.
The gameplay looks absolutely fantastic in the trailer. You can see the GPU working overtime with the particles and the city that it is rendering around the character. After seeing the explosion my jaw practically dropped. Then when it seamlessly went into first person shooting gameplay it actually did. I have never been much of a Killzone fan but I am willing to give it another go.
I did notice some weird AI interactions in the background of the demo. Specifically there is an enemy in the demo that the player just walks right past. Instead of shooting or engaging the player, they stay crouched in the corner. This gameplay is obviously early in development though. Even if there were to be slated for launch day, there is still quite a lot of time left. Hopefully these are just little hiccups that don’t represent the final product.
|InFAMOUS: Second Son|
The new InFAMOUS title had probably the most dramatic introduction before the trailer was revealed. One of the creators went on and on about how the police are bad people and how he got tear gassed once. None of that really matters though. What matters is there is a new InFAMOUS coming and the trailer looks good.
There was no actual gameplay in this video which is kind of a bummer. It is good to know that Sucker Punch is working on something though. The game seems to take place well after the events of InFAMOUS 2. I’m just glad that it is not a direct squeal in the series. The last thing the PS4 needs is rehashed IP’s.
This one was actually quite a shock to me. I may have had my head in the clouds, but for some reason I still associate the Bungie name with Xbox even though I know they are not owned by Microsoft anymore. It is just plain weird seeing a Master Chief statue in a PlayStation event. Watching information on the game that came after the statue however, was everything but weird. In fact, it was pretty awesome.
If you haven’t been following the game, it is shaping out to be a revolutionary new title. A persistent, online, MMO like first person shooter world. There were only a few blips of gameplay footage. Being a huge Halo fan in the past has me excited to see what Bungie will do on their next adventure.
The final demo I’m going to talk about from the PlayStation 4 event is from the new game Watch Dogs. Watch Dogs made some huge ripples when the demo originally appeared at E3 2012. A bunch of info is still not known about the game but it doesn’t really matter. If this title releases this year, it will be my most anticipated title of the launch lineup for PS4.
I do have one bone to pick with this game. I think the name will be changed to Assassin’s Creed 4 by the time the game launches. Everything about the game just breaths Assassin’s Creed to me. The way the screen looks when the character is hacking the environment. The way the running and jumping over obstacles looks is just like looking at Connar. Even the tackling animation looks like a spruced up version of the Anvil Next engine that was used for Assassin’s Creed 3. It’s just a hunch, but I think this game will see a name change before the end of this year.
|Wrapping Everything Up|
There were other presentations in the conference that were good, but nothing that couldn’t have gone without saying. The guys from Media Molecule stepped on stage and showed some kind of tech demo to create statues in 3D spaces with the move. Of course there was plenty of mention of social interaction whether it is Facebook, Twitter, PlayStation and any other darn service out there. Of course there were mentions of Hulu Plus and other media outlets that will be delivering content. There was also a few hints from Capcom and Square Enix on new titles in the works but nothing solid was ever real said. Oh, and Diablo III was announced but that game had a drastic downturn on the PC not even two months after it launched.
In the end, it came down to the controller, the streaming news and the games that stole the show. Make sure to watch the stream at the top of the post if you would like to see the full conference. Thanks for reading and we’ll see you next time another console is announced right here, on Gamers Heroes.