While Nintendo managed to get a head start by releasing the Wii U gaming system in 2012, both Sony and Microsoft are expected to release their next generation consoles this year. Rumors have been floating around for a while now but since neither company commented on those rumors, they were just that.
Sony announced the new Playstation 4 yesterday in a show that provided us with information about what we can expect the company to deliver. Before we take a look at what that is, I'd like to point out that Sony did not show the Playstation 4 console during the show or reveal a final price. While that is certainly disappointing, Sony at least revealed information about the PS4 system architecture.
Sony moved away from the Cell cpu architecture of the Playstation 3 to the x86 architecture with an 8 core cpu. The most likely reason for that move is to drop production costs and maybe also to make it easier to bring PC games to the system (and PS4 games to PC).
What this also means, and this is without doubt a negative, is that PS3 games won't run on Sony's Playstation 4 on launch. That's a big issue for current generation Playstation users who want to keep playing their large collection of games on the new system. While they could simply keep the PS3 and switch between both systems, it may not always a viable solution.
Sony's PS4 console will have 8 Gigabytes of GDDR 5 RAM, local hard drive space (no mentioning of how many Gigabytes), and a 3D camera. Sony did not reveal many technical information about the gpu (graphics processing unit), only that it almost reaches 2 Teraflops of computational performance. Information about other hardware related features, if a disc drive is used, the connectivity features, how much power it consumes, have not been revealed during the announcement.
The new Dualshock 4 controller was revealed during the show. The biggest change in design is a touchpad that Sony added to the top of the controller. The controller on top of that features a share button, a headphone input jack and a light bar that is being used by a sensor unit to determine the controller's position in the room.
As far as other features go that were introduced: Sony's PS4 supports suspending and resuming of game sessions with the press of the power button. The game data is preserved in RAM, and when gamers want to continue playing the game, they can do so almost immediately according to Sony.
Another interesting feature that was announced during the show is the share option. What this makes available, basically, is an option to hand over the controller to a friend so that this friend can jump right into your game to continue playing where you left of. This can be interesting if you are stuck for instance and want your friend to help you overcome a particular scene in the game.
What's also interesting is that you can tap right into streams of games that other users or friends are playing right now. We all know that live game streams are highly popular, and this seems to be Sony's way of making those available natively on the console.
By now you are probably dying to see what the console has to offer in terms of games.
Killzone: Shadow Fall
The trailers look really nice and some even include in-game scenes. I personally think that it is still too early to come to a conclusion. The missing information, hardware specs, price, and first-hand experience with games are puzzle pieces that are needed for this.
The feature that I find most interesting right now is the streaming video option, that you can watch other people play games.
Sony revealed that the Playstation 4 will come out this holiday season but failed to mention if it will be a worldwide release. Expect to see more footage of the PS4 and games produced for it in the coming months.
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