Sony officially confirms the Playstation 4, but was enough information revealed?
The first platform in the next generation of consoles has been revealed; Sony formally confirmed that the Playstation 4 is now a thing, set to be available this holiday season. Several games were announced and partnerships revealed, while select features were touted. But it’s interesting that a lot of basic information has continued to be kept a secret.
Appearance and price: The first (and only) glimpse we got of the hardware involved the DualShock 4 controller — the official user interface device for the PS4. Now featuring a front-facing touchpad (there was no demonstration of its functionality, however), an additional ‘share’ button for instant connectivity to social media and built-in PS Move-like motion control capability, the DS4 somehow manages to look sleeker than its predecessor. Unfortunately, Sony didn't feel it necessary to show us the Playstation 4 console itself. And while we know that the console will be available this ‘holiday season’, there was no official date or price point revealed at the event.
Hardware and specs: Sony revealed that it would be abandoning the cell processor for the PS4, choosing to adopt ‘supercharged’ PC architecture instead, or more specifically, a 64-bit 8-core CPU from AMD. This would be only the second time that a game console adopted x86 PC architecture, after Microsoft’s original Xbox. Complementing the CPU is a GPU from AMD that Sony confirmed was capable of 1.84 teraflops of computing. The PS4 will also feature 8GB of GDDR5 memory shared by the CPU and GPU (GDDR5 is generally reserved for the GPU). The shift to PC-based architecture basically means that multi-platform titles are sure to be a lot better on PS4. Another great addition is a custom chip that solely exists to perform background tasks such as downloading games, updates and uploading gameplay videos on social media. Interestingly, this chip can function even when the console is switched off.
Games: All is not quiet on the video games front, thankfully. A substantial amount of conceptual and actual content was revealed by first- and third-party studios. We saw Knack, a platformer from Sony’s Japan Studio, Sony’s flagship FPS, Killzone: Shadow Fall from Guerilla Games, Evolution Studios’ Driveclub, an open-world team-based racing game, while Infamous: Second Son, rounded up the first-party catalogue. Third-party contributions included the likes of Braid-creator Jonathan Blow’s latest open-world puzzle game The Witness, Bungie’s post-Halo shooter Destiny (published by Activision) and shockingly, Blizzard’s Diablo III, which will appear on both the PS3 and PS4 later this year. Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs, was the highlight of the evening (in my opinion) — it was the most impressive from a visual and gameplay standpoint. Besides, we got to see some actual gameplay featuring a pursuit sequence.
Despite the lack of full disclosure, Sony has given us something to look forward to at E3 (as well as later this year).