Thursday, February 21, 2013

Sony announces the PlayStation 4, arriving this holiday season

As was widely expected, Sony announced their upcoming PlayStation 4 gaming console at the February 20 event. While a lot was said about the console at the event, we still don’t know what it looks like or how much it would cost.

But let’s talk about what we do know, starting with the hardware. For the PS4, Sony is using an x86-64 AMD processor with an integrated 8-core ‘Jaguar’ CPU and GPU. The GPU is capable of delivering 1.84 TFLOPS of performance, which pegs it slightly above AMD’s Radeon HD 7870 desktop GPU announced last year. The PS4 will also have 8GB of GDDR5 memory with around 176GB/s of memory bandwidth.
Other specifications include a built-in hard drive (no mention of SSD or ability to swap the drive), 6x Blu-ray and 8x DVD drive, USB 3.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1, HDMI, analog AV-out and optical S/PDIF audio output.

The PS4 will be sold with the new DualShock 4 controller, which looks very similar to the leaked prototype we saw last week. It features a two-point capacitive trackpad above the joystick and a three-color LED light bar on top, which changes color to identify player or even during a game to denote things such as player health.

The PS4 has dual 1280 x 800 resolution 3D cameras with f/2.0 fixed focus lenses, 85-degree field of view, 30cm minimum focusing distance and four-channel microphone array. These track the light bar on the controllers, they way the Move did. The DualShock 4 also has three-axis gyroscope, three-axis accelerometer, vibration, mono speaker, microUSB port, stereo headset port, extension port and a 1000mAh battery.

Moving back to the console, there are quite a lot more new features to talk about, including:
  • Ability to stream games, thanks to the Gaikai cloud based service. This could be used in future to stream PS3, PS2 and PSOne games to the PS4.
  • Ability to stream PS4 games to the PSVita. Sony is aiming to offer virtually every PS4 game on the PSVita through streaming in the future.
  • Ability to play games while they are downloading.
  • Ability to try any new game before purchasing.
  • Ability to record and upload game videos while playing games. The processing is done by a separate background processor. You can view videos uploaded by other players.
  • Ability to download games and updates while the console is switched off using the background processor.
  • Brand new interface for the PS4 as well as the PSVita.
  • New iOS and Android PlayStation App will let you use your smartphone as a second screen to view game details as well as view videos and other content uploaded by other gamers.
There will be no backward compatibility of PS3 titles on the PS4, a direct result of the new processor architecture used on the latter. The Gaikai streaming feature remains the only hope to play older titles on the PS4, although that feature hasn’t been officially announced yet. You will be able to play used PS4 games on the new console, something a lot of people do.
Speaking of games, we have a handful of confirmed titles, including ‘Killzone: Shadow Fall’, ‘inFAMOUS: Second Son’, ‘Destiny’ by Bungie, ‘Deep Down’ (working title) by Capcom, ‘DriveClub’, ‘Knack’, ‘The Witness’, ‘Diablo III’ and ‘Watch_Dogs’ by Ubisoft.
As mentioned before, we still don’t know what the console looks like or will cost. All we know is that it is expected to be released by the holiday season by the end of this year.

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