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In early February, Sony announced that it would hold a conference on the 20th to reveal the future of gaming. Speculation ran rampant from Sacramento to New York, to Japan, to Australia. Websites, social media users, vido game forum posters, and even major news publications like the Washington Post weighed in on their predictions for Sony’s conference.
The pressure was on for Sony to deliver a megaton announcement and there is no doubt that it did just that. Though Sony did not show off the console itself, the representatives in attendance showed several new games, the all-new DualShock 4 controller and they gave plenty of juicy details about the specifications under the new console’s hood. They also outlined the system’s new focus on social gaming and how it all ties together.
If you’ve been living under a rock or were just too lazy (or busy) to look for info on the new console, Sac City Gamer has you covered. Below is a list of all things PS4. Don’t forget to look past the jump for trailers of all the new gaming goodness that will hit living rooms in the very near future.
It’s pretty clear that the PlayStation 4 will make it easier for developers to develop games. The specs of the new system are much closer to a PC’s specs, in fact, and it’s got quite a large leap in power and processing speed over its predecessor. While Sony didn’t technically reveal all the details, they came close. Some of the infrastructure of the system remains a mystery, but for the most part, the PS4 is looking like a powerhouse that will entertain gamers just as long, if not longer, as the PS3.
DualShock 4 details
Though the console itself wasn’t revealed, the controller was focused on greatly at Sony’s press event. It is clear to those of us here at Sac City Gamer that Sony’s new controller is impressive, innovative and groundbreaking. With its clickable front touch pad (similar to the back touch pad of the Vita), new “Share” button (more on that later), PlayStation Eye compatible LED light (this will be used for motion gaming as well as to indicate low health, and anything else developers decide to use it for), and redesigned analog sticks (which look much more comfortable!), the controller is certainly a sexy aspect of the new gaming console. The controller also features improved rumble, built-in headphone jack, improved SIXAXIS controls, improved shoulder buttons, and a redesigned overall look. See the new controller below.
PS4 Eye Camera Details
Along with the new controller, Sony revealed a brand new, redesigned PlayStation Eye. The PS4 Eye features 2 cameras and looks very similar to Microsoft’s Kinect. Sony revealed that the PlayStation Move will be compatible with the PS4 (despite the PS3 Move games and the DualShock 3 not being compatible) and this new Eye promises to allow for much improved motion gaming on the new system.
According to Joystiq, the new camera, “has two cameras each with a max resolution of 1280 x 800, four microphones and a field of view of 85 degrees, and all of these aspects work together in new ways.” Joystiq went on to say, “The cameras, for example, mark a departure from the current PS Eye’s single lens, and they each have specific tasks: One is in charge of capturing the setting and ensuring a quality picture, and the other handles motion tracking. The cameras will triangulate the 3D space, recognize gestures, enable Kinect-style body tracking and will work with Move functionality embedded in the DualShock 4 controller.”
Sony Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida said that the microphones will work in some way with in-game functionality, but that functionality has yet to be revealed (presumably, it’ll be similar to Kinect and implemented on a developer’s choice basis).
Details of the new interface, social gaming, and other exciting software features
Sony hasn’t revealed a lot of details about the new interface for the upcoming PS4, but from what we’ve seen, it appears that the new interface will be a mix of Windows 8, the newest iteration of PS3’s PlayStation Store and the Vita interface. Sony’s new integration of social features will be a big focal point of the system’s interface. Don’t worry though, if you’re as socially awkward as we are, Sony assures us that all social features can be turned on or off at will. Furthermore, the system will not require an always-on internet connection.
The CEO of Gaikai mentioned at the conference that one feature the PS4 will aim to provide is some sort of TiVo-like programming memory aspect where the system can download games, demos, videos, and more based on the player’s individual choices and preferences. Details are light on this at the moment, but Sony is saying that the PS4 will basically read gamers’ minds. Scary.
Advertising will also be customized to a player’s habits. In addition, the system has been confirmed to be able to play used games, games can be played as they are downloading, all games will have an instant-try option (meaning players can simply find a game in the store, hit X, and begin to play the game), instantly broadcast footage (via that “Share” button we mentioned earlier, which replaces the traditional “Select” button on the new controller) of a game to friends over the network (similar to OnLive – and friends can even take over your controller to help with the hard parts of games), and the system will feature a sleep mode that will allow downloads to continue when the PS4 is turned “off”. Most of these features will be powered by Gaikai.
Lastly, Sony has confirmed that streaming media apps like YouTube, Netflix, Hulu Plus, Music Unlimited, etc. will indeed continue and be a big part of the PS4. Like that wasn’t obvious.
Backward compatibility details
The backward compatibility situation has been a hot topic all over the web for years. Sony says details are still being worked out in regards to how BC will work on the PS4, but the company has confirmed that PS3 (and presumably PS1 and PS2) game discs will not be compatible with the new console. At this point, Sony says their vision is to have all games (PS4, PS3, PS2, PS1, PSN) be compatible with the system, but details of how this would work are sketchy. Sony says it can be done one of two ways, via streaming (using Gaikai) or emulation. It remains to be seen how Sony will handle this functionality, but many gamers are hinging a decision as to whether they will purchase the system or not on the outcome of this very discussion.
Sony has confirmed that PlayStation Plus will return on the PS4 and one thing being considered is a tiered payment scheme that would allow different levels of access to legacy titles depending on what subscription tier a player chooses to purchase. At this point, Sony hasn’t announced any final plans, but we here are SCG can just about guarantee that this will be a big focus at E3 in June.
The “Second Screen” experience and PlayStation Vita Remote Play details
The idea of the second screen isn’t something Sony has been able to embrace much in the past. We’ve seen some titles take advantage of the PSP and Vita Remote Play functions. We’ve even seen a very well-done Wii U-like experience with Little Big Planet 2 and the Vita in the Cross-Controller pack DLC, but Sony hasn’t been able to fully embrace this technology. We here at SCG are still waiting for the rear-view mirror functionality in Gran Turismo.
But Sony promises to take full advantage of second screen with the PS4. They’ve revealed that the PS4’s PlayStation Store will be accessible via tablets, phones, and other wireless devices so that purchases can be made on the fly, and with the PS4’s sleep mode, the PS4 will even be able to wake itself up and begin your downloads so they’re ready to go when you get home from a busy day.
The game streaming, which is accessed via the new “Share” button on the DualShock 4, will also utilize second screen by allowing players to stream gameplay to a friend’s tablet or phone. And although no official details have been released on this, it’s safe to assume that, similar to Microsoft’s Smart Glass, Sony will implement other functionality like being able to look at a game’s map on your tablet.
As for Remote Play, according to Joystiq, Sony is encouraging all developers to try their games via Remote Play prior to release and make a decision as to whether they want to allow this functionality. Sony’s aim is for the majority of PS4 games to work on the Vita via Remote Play. And don’t worry, Sony promises that Remote Play between the Vita and PS4 will work much better, thanks in part to Gaikai, than it did between the PS3 and PSP/Vita. It’ll surely be interesting to see what develops in regards to this aspect of the future of gaming.
4K vs 3D
4K is the newest in television resolution technology, but don’t expect to play games in this new super-huge resolution anytime soon. Not that you would probably be willing to fork over 25K for a new 4K TV anyway…
Sony has confirmed that PS4 games will not run in 4K, though the system will be able to output digital video and Blu-Ray video in the new format. Sony reps also confirmed that while they aren’t putting a large focus on it anymore, 3D gaming and movie viewing will be possible on the PS4.
Who’s making the games?
Sony announced that a whole slew of first party and third party studios are working hard to bring games to the new console. This list includes just about everyone gamers could ever hope to have making games for the next-gen beast of a system. The list is available in a Joystiq post as well as another post that lists a revision Sony made to the list of European developers.
In the last few generations, starting prices for games have jumped with each new set of consoles. Remember back when games used to start out at $40? How about $50? Well, this has left a lot of gamers worried that PS4 games could cost upwards of $70 upon release. Rest assured because SCEA CEO Jack Tretton recently informed CNBC that, “We’re going to welcome free-to-play models, games from $.99 up to those $60 games.”
So it looks like games aren’t getting any cheaper, but at least they aren’t getting more expensive either.
Speaking of games…
Sony and some of the studios that were present at the conference revealed several games that will be on the PS4. I’m not going to say much about those, except that we here at SCG are very excited! I’ll let the games speak for themselves though…
ONLY ON PS4:
inFamous: Second Son
Killzone: Shadow Fall
Media Molecule’s PS4 Move demo
Heavy Rain/Beyond: Two Souls creator, Quantic Dream’s PS4 Tech. Demo
Diablo 3 (announcement)
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Video no longer available
Capcom presents “Deep Down” (Working Title)
Unreal Engine 4 (running on PS4)
Bungie’s 10-year Activision project: Destiny (running on PS4)
PS4 Final Fantasy project