Sony unveils the PlayStation 4 (but not the box)

Credit: Raymond Wong/DVICE

Building on nearly two decades of gaming experience, Sony took to New York City to officially unveil the long-rumored PlayStation 4 and usher in the next generation of console gaming.

Over the last generation, consoles have evolved from mere game boxes into living room centerpieces capable of delivering high-definition games, movies and music over the Internet at the push of a button. But having a powerful box is not enough anymore. In today's ever mobile and social world, we expect seamless connectivity to our smartphones and tablets and a direct way to share our experiences on social networks.

Sony's planning to check off all those points with the PlayStation 4 — the "future of play."


The Specs

The PS4 has an eight-core x86-64 "Jaguar" CPU made by AMD, a 1.84 TFLOPS AMD Radeon GPU, 8GB of GDDR5 RAM (the PS3 only had 256MB of RAM), 6x Blu-ray drive and a hard drive. To give you an idea of how crucial that RAM is, Sony says PS4 games can be paused and resumed instantly just by pressing the power button. No word on how many games can be paused at one time, though. A secondary chip helps with background processing allowing for downloaded games to be played while they are downloading. Other specs include USB 3.0 ports, auxiliary ports, HDMI, analog A/V out, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, ethernet port and Bluetooth 2.1.

New Redesigned Controller

No surprise here. The leaked developer controllers nailed this one. The new DualShock 4 has a two-point touchpad, an improved D-pad, mono speaker, three-axis gyroscope and accelerometer, and the dual analogs are concave and spread farther apart. The rumble's also been given an upgrade, there's a headphone jack, and a "light bar" allows for easier player identification. An upgraded PlayStation Eye with twin cameras will provide motion control tracking and voice recognition, Kinect-style. But the most exciting part is the new "Share" button which lets players live broadcast what they're playing to Ustream with a single button-press.

New Online And Social Features

A brand new dashboard will provide a launchpad for gamers to connect with their real friends from various social networks and spectate games live. The PS4 is also "smart" in that it will try to learn what you like over time and provide game recommendations that are tailored to your tastes.

No Backwards Compatibility / Cloud Gaming

The PS4 won't run your PS3 games due to its completely new hardware architecture. But as predicted, Sony will leverage its buyout of Gaikai to stream PS1, PS2 and PS3 games to the PS4, which is thoughtful, but still kind of a half-assed workaround that leaves PS3 faithfuls with piles of old game discs. Gakai's David Perry says Sony will be rolling out its cloud strategy slowly over time. Additionally, gamers will also be able to try out games via streaming instead of downloading space-hogging demos.

Beam PS4 Games To PS Vita

Borrowing a page from the Nintendo Wii U, the PS4 supports "Remote Play," a feature that allows games to be beamed to a PS Vita, freeing up the TV for other programming.

The Games

A new console would be nothing without exciting games to look forward to. Sony says almost every major game publisher will support the PS4. Here's a few games that were announced today:

  • Destiny
  • Diablo III
  • Driveclub
  • inFamous Second Son
  • Killzone: Shadow Fall
  • Knack
  • The Witness
  • Watch Dogs

Launch

Sony didn't show any hardware, nor did it reveal pricing. All we know is that the PS4 during the holidays and more info will be revealed at E3 in June.