UPDATED: 09 September 2013 

Vamers - FYI - Gaming - PlayStation 4 - Logo

On 21st february 2013 Sony held a two hour event in New York city to announce the future of next generation gaming for the PlayStation brand.

The new console is, predictably, called PlayStation 4 and will be available during the 2013 holiday season:

  • North America: 15th November 2013 for $399.
  • Europe: 29th November 2013 for £340/€399.
  • Australia: 29th November 2013 for $549
  • South Africa: 6th December 2013 for R6299.

In this article we have provided what we think are the most pertinent facts regarding the PlayStation 4 announcement.

Hardware Specifications:

[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x7QhUL8NUK4′]

The PlayStation 4’s system architecture is centered around a powerful custom designed 8-core 64bit AMD “Jaguar” Central Processing Unit (CPU) – rumoured to be clocked at 1.6Ghz – with an integrated graphics Accelerated Processing Unit (APU), and a state of the art “next generation” integrated Radeon Graphics Processing Unit (GPU), which contains a unified array of 18 “compute units” capable of providing a raw 1.84 Teraflops of processing power for graphics and other tasks.

To complement the CPU and GPU the PlayStation 4 will be equipped with 8 GB of GDDR5 RAM that will act as unified system memory along with a “large” harddrive – no word on size or if solid state storage drives may be used.

What all of these specifications and numbers mean is that the PlayStation 4 will be easy to develop for since it is essentially using “off-the-shelf” PC hardware. This is good news because the easier the console is to develop for, the more great games we will get to play.

The system will also have a Blu-Ray drive, 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 2.1, USB 3.0, HDMI, optical audio out and even a legacy analogue AV out for those who still do not own high definition televisions.

An important aspect to remember about video game consoles is that they are closed systems. Although the specifications of the PlayStation 4 may not seem better than a current midrange gaming PC on paper, the fact is that developers will be able to exploit the hardware to its full potential. To illustrate this point, simply think of the way in which the seven year old PlayStation 3 is still able to run the latest titles, such as Farcry 3. As a result, the PlayStation 4 appears to be a very capable console, one that will provide a high level of graphical fidelity and enjoyment to gamers.

New Controller:

Vamers - FYI - Gaming - PlayStation 4 DualShock 4 01Vamers - FYI - Gaming - PlayStation 4 DualShock 4 02Vamers - FYI - Gaming - PlayStation 4 DualShock 4 03

 

In addition to simply talking about the PlayStation 4 console and its new services, Sony did reveal a piece of hardware: the DualShock 4 controller.

The new controller now features an integrated capacitive touch pad, headset jack, share button, and LED player identifier. The touch pad also functions as a press-able mechanical button.

Apparently the LED player identifier can be used for in-game elements, such as a player’s overall health, as well as for tracking players in motion controlled games (PlayStation 4 camera is required for this feature to work).

In addition to the obvious size and ergonomic changes, the DualShock 4 is slightly heavier than its predecessor and it has redesigned triggers, which were quite springy during our initial tests.

New Social Features:

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For the PlayStation 4, Sony are attempting to push the envelope of ‘social play’. The DualShock 4 controller, for example, now has a dedicated ‘share’ button that, when pressed, will give players access to a myriad of social features.

Other than access to social networks such as Twitter and Facebook, one of the most interesting new social features of the PlayStation 4 is the ability to live-stream your current gameplay sessions to your PlayStation Network friends. Not only does this feature allow your friends to watch as you play, but it also gives you the capacity to “hand-over” control of the game to anyone who is watching – great for inexperienced players who need help traversing difficult gameplay scenarios. This feature may not be available at launch, but is being worked on.

If having a live audience watch you as you play feels a bit intimidating, however, you can always choose to submit a 10-second video clip of your recent gameplay to your PlayStation Network social profile instead – the PlayStation 4 continuously records the last 5 – 10 minutes of your gameplay in the background. Gone are the days of undocumented proof of your gaming achievements.

To put it simply, the PlayStation 4 system supports seamless uploads of gameplay, spectating friends’ gameplay sessions in real-time as well as integrated chat all whilst hooking straight into the PlayStation Network where gamers will be given a ‘Facebook-like’ profile.

The PlayStation Network will also finally get cross-chat capabilities and proper co-operative gameplay, something Xbox users have been enjoying with Xbox Live since 2005.

New Cloud Features

Vamers - FYI - Gaming - PlayStation 4 - PlayStation Network Profiles

Sony acquired the cloud gaming service Gaikai last year and, I am glad to report, it appears as if they have put that acquisition to good use. The PlayStation 4 has been built with Gaikai technologies in mind. What this means, theoretically, is that when you purchase a game through the PlayStation Network you will be able to play instantly while the game continues to download in the background to your PlayStation 4. It is a fantastic idea and will go a long way to providing gamers with instant gratification through near seamless and immediate gameplay experiences. Gaikai features will not be available at launch and are expected for late 2014/early 2015.

To further enhance the spontaneous gameplay offered by Gaikai’s cloud services, the PlayStation 4 will implement an instant-on “suspend mode” – something akin to the way most modern laptops function. What this means is that, no matter what you are doing, when you hit the power button your PlayStation 4 will enter a low powered hibernation mode. To resume, simply hit the power button again and you will be right where you left off – similar in function to the way the PlayStation Vita works. This is good news for anyone who dislikes the long boot and load times of current generation consoles.

Interestingly, the PlayStation Network cloud features will work with the PlayStation 4’s new instant-on “suspend mode” by using a separate chipset to download content while the PlayStation 4 is inactive or busy with another task, like watching a movie or playing a game. No longer will we need to wait for a download to finish before enjoying our gaming consoles.

New Second Screens

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Taking a note from Apple’s AirPlay feature, Microsoft’s Xbox Smartglass and the Nintendo Wii U controller, the PlayStation 4 will act as a server from which the PlayStation Vita or any other smartphone or tablet with the “PlayStation App” installed will be able to remotely stream content from the new console.

In particular, Sony is pushing compatibility between the PlayStation 4 and the PlayStation Vita, allowing the latter device to act as another controller over WiFi for all PlayStation 4 titles.

New Games

What would the announcement of a new console be like without new games?

The games that were shown all looked gorgeous – a testament to the fact that the next generation of games has arrived. Unfortunately, most of the games shown during the press conference were not actually demoed live. As such, it is very difficult to ascertain if what was watched is indeed indicative of actual gameplay.

Therefore, the following “gameplay” announcement videos should be viewed with a grain of salt until the veracity of the source material can be verified. Having said that, I recommend watching each of the game announcement videos in high definition as they are all graphically beautiful.

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[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u541wKmf0UU’]

In addition to the above games, Blizzard announced that Diablo III will be coming to both the PlayStation 3 and 4 and Activision with Bungie followed suite by confirmed that Destiny will be available for the PlayStation 3 and as well.

There were also a few pure technical demonstrations on display at the event and they have been embedded below for your enjoyment.

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[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=68h1DVCbMds’]

Conclusion

To conclude, Sony have given us a small glimpse into what is in-store for all of us once the PlayStation 4 is released. The new console shows a lot of promise and we can only hope that Sony will be able to deliver once the it arrives in stores.

Truthfully, the announcement was a little lacklustre and one cannot help but feel that this announcement was used purely to gain a foothold in the race to dominance for the next generation of consoles. I hope to be proven wrong, but only time will tell.

Microsoft, the ball is now in your court.

[The entire press release from Sony may be viewed below]

 

Show Press Release

SONY COMPUTER ENTERTAINMENT INC. INTRODUCES PLAYSTATION®4 (PS4TM)

PS4’s Powerful System Architecture, Social Integration and Intelligent Personalization, Combined with PlayStation Network with Cloud Technology, Delivers Breakthrough Gaming Experiences and Completely New Ways to Play 

New York City, New York, February 20, 2013 –Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCEI) today introduced PlayStation®4 (PS4™), its next generation computer entertainment system that redefines rich and immersive gameplay with powerful graphics and speed, intelligent personalization, deeply integrated social capabilities, and innovative second-screen features. Combined with PlayStation®Network with cloud technology, PS4 offers an expansive gaming ecosystem that is centered on gamers, enabling them to play when, where and how they want. PS4 will be available this holiday season.

Gamer Focused, Developer Inspired
PS4 was designed from the ground up to ensure that the very best games and the most immersive experiences reach PlayStation gamers.  PS4 accomplishes this by enabling the greatest game developers in the world to unlock their creativity and push the boundaries of play through a system that is tuned specifically to their needs.

PS4 also fluidly connects players to the larger world of experiences offered by PlayStation, across the console and mobile spaces, and PlayStation® Network (PSN). The PS4 system architecture is distinguished by its high performance and ease of development.  PS4 is centered around a powerful custom chip that contains eight x86-64 cores and a state of the art graphics processor.

The Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) has been enhanced in a number of ways, principally to allow for easier use of the GPU for general purpose computing (GPGPU) such as physics simulation.  The GPU contains a unified array of 18 compute units, which collectively generate 1.84 Teraflops of processing power that can freely be applied to graphics, simulation tasks, or some mixture of the two.

PS4 is equipped with 8 GB of unified system memory, easing game creation and increasing the richness of content achievable on the platform.  GDDR5 is used for this memory, giving the system 176 GB/second of bandwidth and providing a further boost to graphics performance. The end result for gamers is new games with rich, high-fidelity graphics and deeply immersive experiences that shatter expectations.

Shared Game Experiences
Social interaction is central to PS4 experiences, so new features were built into the actual foundation of the system’s hardware architecture.  PS4 provides dedicated, “always on” video compression and decompression systems that enables seamless uploading of gameplay.

For the first time ever, gamers can share their epic triumphs with the press of a button. Gamers simply hit the “SHARE button” on the controller, scan through the last few minutes of gameplay, tag it and return to the game—the video uploads as the gamer plays.  Gamers can share their images and videos to their friends on social networking services such as Facebook.

PS4 also enhances social spectating by enabling gamers to broadcast their gameplay in real-time to friends using live internet streaming services such as Ustream. During live broadcasts, friends can make comments on the streamed gameplay and, if a gamer gets stuck on a challenging level, friends can also join the game in completely new ways.  For example, friends can offer health potions or special weapons when a player needs them most during actual gameplay.

Furthermore, users can connect their Facebook account with Sony Entertainment Network account.  Through PS4, users are able to deepen their connections through co-op play or “cross-game chat”.

PS4 Second Screens
PS4 integrates second screens, including PlayStation®Vita (PS Vita), smartphones and
tablets, to wrap gamers in their favorite content wherever they are. A key feature enabled by
second screens is “Remote Play” and PS4 fully unlocks its potential by making PS Vita the
ultimate companion device.  With PS Vita, gamers will be able to seamlessly pull PS4 titles
from their living room TVs and play them on PS Vita’s beautiful 5-inch display and intuitive
dual analog sticks over Wi-Fi networks *1.  It is SCEI’s long-term vision is to make most PS4 titles playable on PS Vita *2.

A new application from SCE called “PlayStation®App” will enable iPhone, iPad, and  AndroidTM based smartphones and tablets*3 to become second screens.  Once installed on these devices, users can, for example, see maps on their second screens when playing an
adventure game, purchase PS4 games while away from home and download it directly to the
console at home, or remotely watch other gamers playing on their devices.

Immediate Gameplay
PS4 radically reduces the lag time between players and their content.  PS4 features “suspend mode” which keeps the system in a low power state while preserving the game session.  The time it takes today to boot a console and load a saved game will be a thing of the past.  With PS4, gamers just hit the power button again and are promptly back playing the game at the exact point where they left off.  Additionally, users can boot a variety of applications including a web browser when playing a game on PS4.

PS4 also enables games to be downloaded or updated in the background, or even in stand-by mode.  The system takes it one step further by making digital titles playable as they are being downloaded.  When a player purchases a game, PS4 downloads just a fraction of the data so gamers can start playing immediately, and the rest is downloaded in the background during actual gameplay.

Personalized, Curated Content
On the newly designed PS4 menu screen, players can look over game-related information shared by friends, view friends’ gameplay with ease, or obtain information of recommended content, including games, TV shows and movies.  The long-term goal of PS4 is to reduce download times of digital titles to zero: if the system knows enough about a player to predict the next game they will purchase, then that game can be loaded and ready to go before they even click the “buy” button.  PS4 will further enrich users’ entertainment experiences, by meeting their potential needs.

Gaming in the Cloud
Launched in November 2006, PlayStation Network, a network service for PlayStation users, now operates in 67 countries and regions*4 around the world with the total number of downloaded content of more than 2.8 billion*5.  In addition to a variety of games available in PlayStation®Store, PS4 users will be able to enjoy a variety of services offered by PSN, such as Sony Corporation’s Music Unlimited, a cloud-based music subscription service and Video Unlimited, a premium video service, as well as various content distribution services.

By combining PlayStation Network with Gaikai Inc’s cloud technology, it is SCE’s goal to make free exploration possible for various games. In the future, when a gamer sees a title of interest in PlayStation Store, they can immediately start playing a portion of the actual game — not a stripped down version of the game.  With Gaikai and PlayStation Store, gamers will be able to experience appealing games and only pay for the games they actually love. PlayStation Network and the cloud will offer additional value to PlayStation gamers. SCE is exploring unique opportunities enabled by cloud technology with the long-term vision of making PlayStation libraries including an incredible catalog of more than 3000 PS3 titles*6
that is unmatched in the industry, mostly ubiquitous on PS4.

SCE will announce new details of PS4 and its robust lineup of games from 3rd party developers and publishers, the independent gaming community and SCE Worldwide Studios, as well as further enhancements to the entire PlayStation ecosystem between now and the holiday 2013 launch.

###

*1 Depending on network environment or titles, users may not be able to play games outside comfortably.
*2 Exept games that require peripherals such as PlayStation®4 Eye .
*3 Depending on the version of OS or other conditions, users cannot use the application.
*4 Number as of December 31st , 2012
*5 Number as of February 19st, 2013
*6 Number as of December 31st, 2012, including free trials.
< PlayStation®4 Logo>
<PlayStation®4 >

Main Processor 
Single-chip custom processor
CPU :  x86-64 AMD “Jaguar”,  8 cores
GPU : 1.84 TFLOPS,  AMD next-generation Radeon™ based
graphics engine

Memory 
GDDR5 8GB

Hard Disk Drive 
Built-in

Optical Drive
(read only)
BD 6xCAV
DVD 8xCAV
I/O
Super-Speed USB (USB 3.0) 、AUX

Communication 
Ethernet (10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX, 1000BASE-T)
IEEE 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth® 2.1 (EDR)

AV output 
HDMI
Analog-AV out
Digital Output (optical)
*Specifications are subject to change without notice.

About Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.
Recognized as the global leader and company responsible for the progression of consumerbased computer entertainment, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCEI) manufactures,
distributes, develop and markets the PlayStation®2 (PS2®) computer entertainment system,
the PSP® (PlayStation®Portable) handheld entertainment system, the PlayStation®3 (PS3®)
computer entertainment system and the PlayStation®Vita (PS Vita) portable entertainment
system. SCEI has revolutionized home entertainment since they launched PlayStation in 1994.
PS2® further enhances the PlayStation legacy as the core of home networked entertainment.
PSP® is a handheld entertainment system that allows users to enjoy 3D games with highquality full-motion video and high-fidelity stereo audio. PS3® is an advanced computer
system, incorporating the powerful Cell Broadband Engine and RSX processors. PS Vita is an
ultimate portable entertainment system that offers a revolutionary combination of rich gaming
and social connectivity within a real world context. SCEI also delivers the PlayStation®
experience to open operating systems through PlayStation®Mobile, a cross device platform.
Headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, SCEI, along with its affiliated companies, Sony Computer
Entertainment America LLC., and Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Ltd., and its division
companies, Sony Computer Entertainment Japan and Sony Computer Entertainment Asia
develops, publishes, markets and distributes hardware and software, and manages the third
party licensing programs for these platforms in the respective markets worldwide.
PlayStation and PS3 are registered trademarks and PS4 and  are a trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment, Inc. Sony
Entertainment Network is a trademark of Sony Corporation. Facebook is a trademark or registered trademark of Facebook, Inc.  Ustream is a
trademark or registered trademark of Ustream, Inc.  iPhone and  iPad are trademarks of Apple Inc.  Android is a trademark or registered
trademark of Google.Inc. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners.

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About Hans Haupt

Owner, founder, editor and contributor at Vamers, Hans has a vested interest in geek culture and the interactive entertainment industry. With a Masters degree in Communications and Ludology, he is well read and versed in matters relating to video games and communication media, among many other topics of interest.

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