For months or even years gamers have been speculating about the next generation of gaming consoles. As of a few hours ago we had less to speculate about, Sony’s Playstation 4 was officially announced and boy was it a doozy.
Sony Blew Away Speculation
But the story doesn’t start there. It started a few weeks ago when Sony announced their conference and when they did, the internet immediately lit up with rampant speculation. Dozens of rumors engulfed the mainstream media. Many were hopeful to get even the smallest details to the new console, hoping for at least a segment in Sony’s conference. I am glad to say even the highest of expectations were blown away when Sony gave us two full hours of Playstation 4.
Right off the bat they presented the console’s specs. When we were expecting vague details and words like “Fast, superior, and groundbreaking”, we got detailed information instead, like the fact that the console would ship with 8 Gigabytes of RAM (GDDR5), X86 CPU (8 cores), Supercharged PC Architecture, Enhanced PC GPU (2 Teraflops) and a local Hard disk drive. What does all these letters and numbers mean exactly? It means that the Playstation will be faster than any console so far; just for comparison, the ps3 only has 512 MB RAM. Yes, that’s a very big difference and the rest of the specs mirrors that relationship. The console will have more power than my high-end gaming computer. These specs will allow developers the unprecedented freedom to create the video games we all love so much.
The people from Sony followed with some features for the newly announced PS4. There were a lot of them, but here are some of the more interesting highlights.
The ability to stream or record what you’re playing with one quick tap on the controller
Yes, that means your friends can check out what you’re up to and it makes it a lot easier to post videos or screen shots online, but it takes it one step further. Ever get stuck in a video game? Have a friend who’s beat it already? The new Playstation will allow your friend to take direct control through his Playstation; it might not be the greatest feature, but it certainly sounds promising.
The Playstation will also have a faster boot time, but in case that isn’t enough, it also allows suspending then resuming play; think of it like the standby option on computers. In order to speed things up, the console has another chip dedicated to downloading and uploading. This allows digital buyers to play as the game downloads, no more waiting to be able to play something you just bought. Also the console promises a higher degree of compatibility with ‘current’ media sites that help make the whole experience more personal and social.
The last feature, I want to talk about is something more of an extra than anything else. The PS4 will support a two screen capability. What this means is that if you need to use the bathroom while playing, you can seamlessly stream your Playstation 4 game to your Vita and continue playing.
If all the information wasn’t good enough the people from Sony started talking about live demos. Watching it was really exciting, especially when they revealed the Controller. The Dualshock 4 isn’t the typical Playstation controller; sure, all the recognized details are there, but there’s so much more: a tap screen like the ones that can be found on the Vita for instance, and a blue light up display right next to the R and L buttons.
Next Generation of Games
Anyone would be happy with all that info, but Sony took it one step further and talked about the next generation of games. The highlight of the whole thing at least for me, was Killzone Shadow Fall, a new title that is practically oozing with dazzling visuals. It’s a shooter that seems packed with action-hero sequences. The graphics are wow worthy; it’s almost like I was looking at a movie. I honestly cannot wait to watch my friends playing it over live streams.
Another honorable mention is Capcom’s ‘Deep Down’, a tentative title that showcases their new game engine. It looked like it was set in a fantasy world, where swords and shields reigned supreme. I don’t know what was in-game or what was cinematic set pieces, but the whole demo seemed visually stunning, especially with a giant dragon bursting in from nowhere, blowing fire in every direction. It certainly did the job of giving me a taste of things to come, and I find that I really want more of it. I don’t think there’s a language that accurately describes how excited I am for what the new console can achieve.
There were a lot of developers at the conference. Halo creators Bungie got a bit of screen time, confirming for everyone that their newly announced game ‘destiny’ would indeed be available for the PS4. Though the most surprising appearance at least for me was, Blizzard. The company that is almost synonymous with PC gaming. They haven’t had a console title in more than a decade, but their spokesman announced that Diablo 3 was indeed making its way to the new gaming console. Square Enix was also there showcasing their new game engine and announcing a new Final Fantasy title that we’d hear more of at E3. Other notable games include a new Infamous title, Ubisoft’s watchdogs and the puzzler Witness.
Sony Kept Throwing Surprises
Sony came swinging in this conference, giving everyone a look at things to come. They will undoubtedly give more information and announce new things as the year goes by. Like any quest for knowledge, there are still a lot of questions floating around.
For one, we didn’t see the console, something I didn’t realize until later (Sony just kept throwing surprises at me). Another thing is the price. I didn’t expect to see it, but it would have been nice to know how much I’ll be needing, when it comes out. We didn’t get an exact release date either; things are too much in flux at the moment and the company needs to remain competitive. Though as a consolation, we did get a time frame; the console is scheduled for a 2013 holiday release. I can’t wait. Sadly we’ll have to wait until this year’s E3 (June) to get more info. If only I could wait that long.