The Playstation 4 Reveal: News and Reaction
It’s official! After the Interwebs almost imploded with rumour and speculation, the Playstation 4 was finally announced by Sony at a special press conference in New York on the 21st February.
It's official! After the Interwebs almost imploded with rumour and speculation, the Playstation 4 was finally announced by Sony at a special press conference in New York on the 21st February. Although the two-hour unveiling didn't finish until 1 in the morning in the UK (way past my bed-time!), I diligently stayed up to note down some first thoughts on the PS4 reveal.
Although we didn't get to see what the actual console looks like, Sony figuratively lifted the hood on its brand new system. And while many of us were roughly aware of the PS4's specs thanks to a series of web-based "leaks", there were a couple of nice surprises in the hardware department.
Firstly, Sony revealed that their latest machine will include an 8-core 64-bit x86 "Jaguar" CPU developed by AMD, along with a Radeon GPU capable of producing 1.84 TFLOPS of gaming goodness. The PS4 will also include a Blu-Ray player, 8GB of unified GDDR5 RAM, 802.11n Wi-Fi capability, USB 3.0 ports, Bluetooth 2.1 and ports for optical audio, HDMI and even legacy analogue AV hook-ups. Curiously though, the size of the internal storage has not been revealed yet.
If these specs don't mean much to you, the basic upshot is that the PS4 is built like an extremely beefed up PC, which will make it relatively easy for developers to make games for the system. This is one area where its predecessor fell down, and it was the main reason why many multi-platform titles often performed better on the Xbox 360.
During the press conference, Sony also took the opportunity to show-off its latest controller. Ingeniously labelled the Dualshock 4, the control pad has taken inspiration from tablet PCs and Smartphones to include a small touchpad. It even features trigger buttons that are far better than the R2/L2 equivalents seen on all of the previous Dualshocks (*cue wild celebrations*).
But one really interesting feature of the Dualshock 4 is the brand new share button. While I am not somebody who generally enjoys live-streaming, I can see myself posting small videos of my gaming successes on the net if it were both quick and easy.
Looking at the Presentation
While Sony did talk in-depth about the Playstation 4's hardware, they were far more interested in discussing the gaming experience that their new machine will offer.
This attitude was very refreshing, as I have sat through several presentations from major console manufacturers that have tried to position their systems as a general purpose entertainment hub. But Sony was clearly keen to return to their roots, and spoke largely about the core gaming functionality of the PS4.
This isn't to say that Sony didn't talk about the secondary entertainment options on the PS4 (I mean, they had to fill a 2 hour press conference after all), but presenters like Mark Cerney, Jonathon Blow, and a very well-tanned Dave Perry ensured that games were their primary focus.
Yet there were a few parts of the Playstation 4 press event that left me more than a little bit bemused, including David "Feel his Emotion" Cage's presentation that featured an old man's face, as well as Media Molecules almost-farcical Playstation Move inspired rock concert.
Even though the technology used in both of these demonstrations was in no doubt impressive, it would have been nice to see this actually applied to a working title.
Which leads us nicely on to...
... The games! And while Sony made a real effort to show us a variety of upcoming releases, I can't help but think that this segment of the presentation was a tiny bit underwhelming.
The first title that Sony wheeled out was Knack, a game that looked a lot like a current generation Ratchet and Clank release. Needless to say, I'm not particularly excited about Knack, and I was surprised that this was the first exclusive that Sony showed us.
Then we were treated to the inevitable Killzone announcement. The latest game in the series will be called Shadow Fall, and the rather lengthy demo managed to show-off the graphical fidelity of the Playstation 4.
Like most people, I quite liked the look of Shadow Fall. Sure, it's a big shooter with plenty of explosions, but I have so far enjoyed every game in the Killzone series and I'm definitely looking forward to going toe-to-toe with the Helghast again.
And what's more, the new Killzone even features colours!
In terms of exclusive releases, Sucker Punch also unveiled their latest entry in the Infamous series, namely Infamous: Second Son. We only got to see a brief trailer, so we don't really know what the game looks like in its current state, but a new Infamous game will never be strong enough to be a system-seller (in my humble opinion).
Finally, I thought that Jonathon Blow's The Witness looked fairly interesting. While not strictly an exclusive release, I do really like the way that Sony are trying to position their system as the console of choice for indie games.
"Quietly optimistic"... That's how I'd sum up my mood following the PS4 reveal. Sure, some of the games left me wanting a little bit more, but I have a good feeling that Sony is saving some really exciting news for E3.
Why do I think this? Well, Naughty Dog has yet to reveal their project.
They obviously don't want to take any buzz away from The Last of Us, so they have not officially announced anything yet. But it would not surprise me if they're currently working on an Uncharted game for the PS4. And I don't know about you guys, but I would definitely buy a PS4 for that game...
To see the Sony Playstation 4 conference in full, check out this video.