Is the PlayStation 4 heralding a true evolution or just another new toy?
Last Thursday the Internet was alive with Sony’s amazing conference announcing the PlayStation 4. We’ve got a round-up of everything you need to know about the new PS4 from its hardware, software and cloud gaming. Is the PS4 a game changer or another Wii U?
What you need to know
Sony’s new wonder device, the PlayStation 4, is looking to destroy the competition by aiming to be the best on all fronts. The gameplay trailers alone are proof that its graphics are going to be setting a new standard. The hardware is tuned up better than a gearhead’s car providing way more grunt than its predecessor and the system is incorporating some unique new software technology to boot. The PS4 has not abandoned disks as some rumours would have you believe. The console still has a Blu-ray/DVD Drive, now uses USB 3.0 for faster file transfer and will finally use current speed wireless (N).
Even though we are yet see the actual PS4 console, it is nice to see a comfortable level of familiarity to the controller we will be using. The controller operates mostly the same way it did on the PS3 but has a two point touch pad and a 3.5mm stereo jack has been added so players can attach headphones. Motion control hardware has had an update with SixAxis sensitivity greatly improved and a separate camera system seems to be taking over from the previous PlayStation Move system for those more casual gamers who game with the Move controller and the games that utilise its functionality.
The Start and Select buttons have been removed and replaced with just an Option button and the controller will feature a Share button to instantaneously upload gaming content to the Internet, which will I’m sure will get in the way more than it is useful. However, over time it may find a home with the more socially inclined gamers out there.
Sony’s Cloud based tools can go either way, People that use services like Google Drive, Evernote or iCloud will know that there are huge advantages to cloud setups. Some of these we enjoy already through the Playstation Network such as having your game saves safely stored in Sony’s Cloud. It’s a great way of minimising space if you have limited room available on your PlayStation Vita or PlayStation 3.
Sony plans to expand this idea by offering the ability to play demonstration levels of the games you are interested in without having to download huge files to try them. They will be playable as you download them, which is a first for any gaming console. This is achieved with Sony’s new Gaikai system and will apparently be offered across the entire PlayStation range, including Sony’s entire PlayStation back catalogue, which is a huge undertaking.
The counter to Cloud technology comes from those wanting more personal control over their media who worry that this new system will sow the seeds of rented games over fully-owned physical titles. This seems increasingly more likely with Sony stating that the future will allow them the ability to stream games live. Here in Australia this is a little more daunting than it is for places with stable, affordable and more reliable internet. Debating the future of Cloud technologies at this point seems a tad pointless as both the PS4 and SHIELD (NVIDIA’s new handheld) are pushing it through. I guess only time will tell.
Under the Hood – detailed specs for all you techheads
Single-chip custom processor CPU : x86-64 AMD “Jaguar”, 8 cores GPU : 1.84 TFLOPS
AMD next-generation Radeon™ based graphics engine
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), Wireless IEEE 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth® 2.1 (EDR)
HDMI, Analog-AV out, Digital Output (optical)
Gaming Evolved – the titles on display
Knack (SCE Japan Studio)
The first footage on display was this odd little game. Every Sony console must have its own mascot or iteration version of Crash Bandicoot and Knack is shaping up to be all of that. As a fan of titles such as Ratchet and Clank, count me in. I’m strangely excited about this one.
inFamous: Second Son (Sucker Punch)
After dealing with a mild erection over the idea of another inFamous release, I have to say that the video shows an interesting premise for rebooting this franchise. Though previous protagonist Cole MacGrath is still a fan favourite, updating the series seems to be something Sucker Punch is hell bent on doing. I have my fingers crossed for this one.
The Witness (Thekla Inc.)
Jonathan Blow (creator of Braid) is not my favourite developer but The Witness feels like a Myth style puzzle solving game, which is never a bad thing. With all of the action titles taking centre stage in the announced lineup, this could be a great palate cleanser for times where you need something a bit less visually stimulating and more cerebral.
Killzone: Shadows Fall (Guerrilla Games)
Guerrilla Games just keep taking its first-person shooter franchise in smarter directions. Not only are the game’s visuals jaw dropping, but the world now explodes with colour as opposed to the dark grey contrasts previously seen. Keep a close eye on this one.
Deep Down (Capcom)
Interesting work from Capcom as it seems to be taking a leaf out of the brutal role-playing game Dark Souls’ book. The lighting alone is work the price of admission. The video breaks down the engine Capcom uses, well worth having a listen to for those who are into the technical stuff.
Watch Dogs (Ubisoft)
Every video released puts every sandbox game before it to shame. Watch Dogs is going to take the idea of hacking to new heights, with exciting and eye opening new levels of interactivity. Watch and learn, this is how you make a Grand Theft Auto style game possibly even better.
Drive Club (SCE Japan Studios)
Car enthusiasts need to be all over this. The Forza and Gran Turismo frachises have nothing on this. The detail is close to perfect and if you are a fan of drop in/drop out gaming this demo seems to offer you some of the most engrossing online features to date.
Destiny (Bungie Studios)
Possibly the online version of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim for shooter fans, this video needs to be watched in 1080p to grab its full effect. Don’t talk, just watch. Bungie is shooting for the stars with this take on a MMOFPS (Massively Multiplayer Online First Person Shooter) and it could very well blow us all away. Watch. NOW.
Josh – Sony has decided to show its hand first in the race to win the next generation of console gamers. This bold move has definitely allowed them to capture and stun the world with the interesting directions they are taking the PS4. I think nowadays hardware is the least important thing to focus on, I am a little curious as to how well the cloud system will work and what the price tag will be attached to this beast. Colour me interested, very interested.
Dave – While I was disappointed not to see the console itself, a release date or price what has me most excited is the cloud functionality offering the promise of three previous generation’s worth of console gaming at your fingertips. The ability to share your epic gaming moments immediately online intrigues me. No longer can anyone call bullshit when you’re recounting a flawlessly executed boss battle. Just ‘share’ it online and bask in the glory. Pure poetry.