Sony has announced the PlayStation 4 console at a conference event streamed live around the world on 20/21 February 2013. The release window for the console was pegged for holiday 2013.
No price was indicated and no picture of the PlayStation 4 was revealed.
PlayStation 4 specs
- Single-chip custom processor
- CPU : x86-64 AMD “Jaguar”, 8 cores
- GPU : 1.84 TFLOPS, AMD next-generation Radeon based graphics engine
- GDDR5 8GB
Hard Disk Drive
Optical Drive (read only)
- BD 6xCAV
- DVD 8xCAV
- Super-Speed USB (USB 3.0)
- Ethernet (10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX, 1000BASE-T)
- IEEE 802.11 b/g/n
- Bluetooth 2.1 (EDR)
- Analog-AV out
- Digital Output (optical)
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 8GB GDDR5 unified system memory, giving the system 176GB/second of bandwidth.
A large HDD requirement is also confirmed. These glossed over tech specs line up with previously leaked spec rumours: Next-gen PS4 Orbis and Xbox Durango hardware details
During the presentation, the Unreal Engine 4 was shown off through an updated segment of the Elemental demo, showing advanced rendering techniques. An impressive Havok “million object” physics simulation was shown off. A new game called “Knack” is used to demo physics capabilities.
A secondary processing chip is revealed to perform background tasks, such as downloading updates and games while the console is in use for gaming. The PS4 can also play a game from a partial download, and continue background downloading the rest of the game.
A suspend/resume feature will preserves the game state and eschews shut down and load times. A gameplay clip sharing feature is revealed, allowing players to upload a segment of their recent gameplay while still in-game.
More social features were briefly discussed, such as prediction of consumer habits to pre-load content. Just how much bandwidth and hard drive space this feature will require remains to be seen.
DualShock 4 controller revealed
The DualShock 4 controller was revealed. It features a new six-axis sensor, a touch pad located on the front of the controller, a built-in speaker and stereo headset jack, and a light bar on the top with three colour LEDs that illuminate in various colours. The light bar provides feedback to the player during gameplay.
The “SELECT” and “START” buttons from the DualShock 3 controller are now integrated into a new “OPTIONS” button. A “SHARE” has been added for social features.
Shared Game Experiences
PS4 provides dedicated, “always on” video compression and decompression systems that enable seamless uploading of gameplay using the “SHARE button” on the controller. Players can scan through the last few minutes of gameplay, tag it and return to the game and the video uploads as the gamer plays. Gamers can share their images and videos with 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 and assist.
Through a Facebook account attached to a Sony Entertainment Network account, users are able to engage in co-op play or cross-game chat.
PlayStation 4 cloud gaming
Dave Perry, CEO of Gaikai took to the stage to discuss how the cloud gaming provider is now part of the PlayStation 4 ecosystem. Perry claims that the PlayStation Network will be the fastest and most powerful gaming network in the world.
PlayStation 4 titles will be available for instant cloud gaming streaming. Demos will be provided for free.
Backwards compatibility of games will be ensured by Gaikai providing cloud services to ensure the back catalogue of games is available for PS4 and beyond.
PS3 games backwards compatibility doesn’t appear to be native though. This means users might have to re-purchase their old games.
PS Vita Remote Play and second screens
Remote play is built into the architecture of PlayStation 4, allowing the game to be shifted over to the PS Vita and played away from the central PS4 console. “PS Vita is the ultimate companion device for PS4,” said Perry.
Users can also interact with PlayStation content through linked smartphones and tablet PCs. A new application called “PlayStation App” will enable iPhone, iPad, and Android based smartphones and tablets to become second screens. Once installed, users can for example, see maps on their second screens when playing a 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.
PS Move isn’t going anywhere
Sony hasn’t given up on the much maligned Move controller, and has plans to make it a new powerful way to interact with the PS4, such as creating your own 3D sculptures.
The PlayStation 4 universe
The event kicked off with an intro video celebrating the history of PlayStation consoles and highlighting some of the classic games on the platform, including God of War, Little Big Planet, and Gran Turismo.
Andrew House, Group CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment, took to the stage and described the announce as “a moment of truth and a bold step forward for PlayStation.”
The gamer is now the centre point of Playstation universe said House; it is no longer the living room.
House said that the vision for the future is a consumer centric, developer inspired, commitment to phenomenal play experiences.
House also punted the PS Vita, indicating that it will become a central co-star in the life of the PS4. “We think it can bring significant value to players living room experiences,”said House, promising more info how this will happen to come later this year. “We are committed to unlocking [the PS Vita’s] potential”, said House.
Check out the PlayStation 4 announce montage below, followed by a developer montage explaining the new design philosophy for the PlayStation 4: