Sony finally uttered the words PlayStation 4 at its global unveiling event in New York.
We’ve cut through the hype and waffle to boil down the facts for you:
- It’s called the PS4.
- The system architect is Mark Cerny, famed US games developer. Cerny has been discussing what developers want from a platform for the last five years.
- Spec wise, Cerny said the device has a "Supercharged PC architecture" with a X86-based CPU, enhanced PC GPU, 8GB of unified memory and HDD storage.
- The PS4 comes with a new controller, the DualShock 4.
- DualShock 4 has, as predicted, a track pad and new form factor, and a share button and headphone jack.
- DualShock 4 also has a built-in sensor which means the pad doubles as a motion device, tracked by a new Kinect-like stereo camera called a ‘Light Bar’.
- Tech demos from Epic Games (Unreal Engine 4) and physics and animation specialist Havok showed that established third-party tech firms are already all over the platform.
- As a proof of the device’s developer-friendly nature, Cerny showed a game he is working on, called Knack. A new IP.
- PS4 has a sudden sleep mode that suspends gameplay and means titles can be resumed at the exact point you left off.
- The machine also has always-on video recording, compressions and decompression functions so you can upload clips of your gameplay.
- The online service will use real names with social networking linked to other devices. It’s not clear yet if this will force the PlayStation Network to be re-adapted (likely) or is an entirely new system (unlikely). Sony’s description of combining Facebook, Twitter, PSN and PS4 points to the former.
- Gaikai lets you stream PS4 games to PS Vita. This is the PlayStation 4’s version of Remote Play, and Gaikai’s Dave Perry hopes to integrate it into every PS4 game.
- There is no native backwards compatibility, but Gaikai in time will be able to play every former generation/device PlayStation game via its cloud services.
- A developer sizzle reel featured the usual talking head soundbites from all the oft-quoted developers such as Tim Schafer and David Cage. They are impressed with Sony’s plan for PS4.
Some other announced first-party games:
- Killzone: Shadowfall is due, from Guerrilla Games. It’s very handsome.
- Evolution Studios is working on Drive Club. "We’ve waited for the technology to be available for our vision."
- Sucker Punch is making Infamous 3
- There was a lot of talk about the risks and challenging content Sony has already commissioned for PSN. Three big indie game examples were shown to prove Sony was continuing this. The first was The Witness from Jonathan Blow. The second was from David Cage and his Quantic Dream studio with a brand new character animation engine. Thirdly was Media Molecule’s new title, which uses the PlayStation Move for digital sculpting. MM creative director Alex Evans called PlayStation 4 "the creative console".
Third-parties were not left out either.
- The first third-party game came from Capcom’s Yoshinori Ono, called Deep Down, and powered by a new engine codenamed Panta Rhei.
- The second was from Square Enix, a demo built on the Luminous engine it showcased at E3. It was in fact the same demo from E3 2012. If you remember correctly, Square showed off this first demo at E3 despite the fact console firms had chosen to hold back their next-gen console reveals to this year.The firm said it will show the first PS4 proper Final Fantasy game at E3.
- The third was Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs, first shown off at E3 2012. Like Square’s game, this was at E3 and seemed like a next-gen game without a next-gen platform. Today it was confirmed for PS4.
- Plus a fourth surprise third-party was there: Blizzard, to announce a new strategic partnership with Sony that will see Diablo III released on PS3 and PS4.
- Activision followed, showcasing Bungie’s Destiny.
- A presentation slide named the following as confirmed other PS4 licensed developers/publishers: Activision, Tri-ace, Capcom, Chara-Ani, Atlus, Artdink, Keen, Yuke’s, Saber, Paradox, ImageEpoch, Mages, From Software, Cat Software, Sumo Digital, Granzella, Spike Chunsoft, Sega, Nixxes, SOE, Ninja Theory, Splash Damage, Genki, Falcon, Kadokawa Games, Marvelous AQL, Team 17, System Soft, Level 5, Starbreeze, Rebellion, EA, Namco Bandai Games, ARC System Works, D3 Publisher, Warner Bros Games, Rockstar Games, Yager, Zen, Climax, Stainless Games, Codemasters Racing, GungHo, CD Project, Xing, Sucker Punch, Tecmo Koei, Disney, 2K Games, C2, Idea Factory, Ascii Media Works, Lucid, Dimps, Telltale Games, Bohemia Interactive, LucasArts, Ganbarion, Bethesda, O-Two Inc, MercurySteam, Avalanche Studos, Grasshopper Manufacture, ToshI, 505 Games, Platinum Games, BlitzGamesStudios, Acquire and Crafts & Meister
- That’s over 70 firms eyeing PS4.
Sony ended with saying the device is out in Holiday 2013, although it wasn’t clear if that was US, Japan, or a global date that includes Europe.
No details of price or the hardware’s final physical housing were given.