Wow. As I’m writing this I’ve just sat through the 2 hour (yes, 2 whole hours) live stream of the PlayStation press conference. I was expecting the first half of the conference to be made up of talk about the PS3 and the Vita, primarily what those consoles will be seeing later in the year. But no. From the get-go this was a next gen presentation. Out of nowhere the title ‘PS4’ was announced. To say I was relieved would be an understatement of epic proportions. I was worried that they were going to call is the ‘Orbis’ which would ultimately kill the device before it even launched.
So, the PS4. What did we get? Well we got a fair old amount of tech specs, which I was not expecting. First off, they’re killing the Cell processor. Thank god. The Cell processor was the most powerful processor when it launched but it was ridiculously hard to programme for, as such they’re moving to an X86 architecture chip (most likely made by AMD), it’s also getting 8GB of DDR5 RAM, all consoles are getting a HDD and it’s getting amazingly fast PC graphics. Basically this is a gaming PC in architecture, as such developers will have an amazing time making games for it; no more Skyrims. The other amazing thing for the geek in me was that Sony’s acquisition of Gaikai is going to really present itself. In the PSN store you’ll be able to stream the first hour or so of a game THEN decide if you want to buy it, the quote from this was “pay only for the games you love”. Your friends will be able to watch you playing a game and send you messages and if you’re finding a section hard you can even hand control over to a friend and allow them to have a go. There’s even a share button on the new controller to upload videos to the internet, social is at the heart of the new console. Backwards compatibility will also be handled via cloud streaming. This could be an issue if your internet connection is weak, I’ve got BT infinity so I’m feeling pretty good right about now.
Dualshock 4 was also announced. This is definitely an evolution of the Dualshock form factor rather than another boomerang cock up. The controller looks amazing to my large western hands, it even has a touchpad like the one on the back of the Vita. As a Vita owner let me tell you that the touchpad will be responsive and easy to use. Speaking of the Vita, you can now send PS4 games over to the Vita. I love this. I love playing games in bed and this will definitely be appreciated. Sure its a copy of the Wii U, and sure it makes up for the fact there are no games on the Vita but I absolutely love it.
The PSN will now get to know you. It will suggest games/demos to try based on what types of games you play. It will even, using a new processor, download a purchase to your hard drive without you doing anything if it thinks you’ll want it, then if you buy it you can play it straight away as its already downloaded. Its equal parts creepy and awesome.
Games varied from Killzone Shadow Fall (which at the end of the presentation the developers uploaded the video shown using the new controller) to inFAMOUS Second Sun. From Diablo 3 to Destiny. This 2 hour presentation focused the whole 2 hours on the games, no filler with Netflix etc which really speaks about Sony’s focus for the new console.
We still don’t know what the system actually looks like and we still don’t know the price. E3 is round the corner and hopefully those questions will be answered then, but as a first impression I have to say I’m mighty impressed.
By Ian Dutton