The PlayStation 4 has been announced in NYC.(Credit: CNET)
NEW YORK--Sony has unveiled the PlayStation 4.
The PlayStation 4 has been announced in New York City. The name is definite; its features, still to be detailed. Among other things, the new PlayStation platform will be open to episodic and free-to-play content.
The PlayStation 4, as discussed in the early moments of Sony's event, has a "supercharged PC architecture" with an X86 CPU, "enhanced PC GPU" (unspecified as of yet) with GDDR5, 8GB of memory, and traditional hard-drive storage.
The new DualShock 4 controller is indeed the one rumored. It has enhanced rumble, a touch pad, a share button, headphone jack, and light-up bar that looks like a transplanted top of a Move wand. In addition, a stereo camera bar, which looks very Kinect-like, works with the light bar for motion controls.
The Sony event thus far has continually emphasized simplicity and ease of use. Immediacy of response reducing lag time while accessing content is also one of the promised PS4 features (unlike the extremely laggy Wii U, perhaps). A secondary custom chip will allow background downloading, and games will be playable as they’re being downloaded.
Sony promises you’ll be able to scan the last few minutes of your gameplay with the push of a button and share screenshots and clips, or spectate and chat during other people’s games, and Sony promises a serious revamp of friend-making, using “real names.”
The core social elements of the PS4 are being promised to work on smartphones, tablets, and the Vita as well -- on stage, the clean-looking social browser was shown on various devices, including streaming video of gameplay.
Gaikai cloud technology, acquired last year by Sony, was also discussed, as a way of offering the "fastest gaming network" and enabling what is promised to be a trial-based way of playing games before buying. This would work via streaming-game technology.
Gaikai technology will also be used to power the PS4’s spectating experiences, and that ability to continually one-button broadcast your game progress. It sounds a lot like the sort of stuff PC gamers have loved, and it’s certainly the first time a home gaming console has entered this territory. The streaming/sharing technology will also work with Facebook and UStream.
Remote play will be enabled as well, promising second-screen gaming on the Vita. It sounds somewhat like what the Nintendo Wii U enables on the GamePad, except in this case the experience will be translated onto a fully independent handheld device. If this works as promised, it could help make the PS4 and Vita a hardware match worth getting -- improved transmission times between the Vita and PS4 are also being promised. More will be discussed on that “later in the year.”
Sony's also promised not just PlayStation 3 backward-compatibility, but PlayStation 1 and PS 2 retro gaming as well via a "PlayStation Cloud Service." Whether this will be true disc compatibility or cloud-streaming remains to be seen.