We’ve spent years speculating about what the next generation of game consoles might look like. To help us out, Sony decided to take a few hours out of their busy day on February 20 to share some info about their next-generation machine. (The image at left is one of many concepts created by various sources, and might not be an accurate view of the console; we still don’t know what the damn thing will look like when it releases in the 2013 holiday season).
Here’s what we do know:
The PS4 (yes, the official name) runs on an eight-core AMD CPU with an on-die GPU, using traditional PC architecture. It features 8 GB of system memory and 2 GB graphics memory.
The Dualshock 4 controller is exactly as the rumors said: a standard dualshock pad with a Vita-esque touchscreen in the middle. Apparently, Sony’s been doing lots of work on the feel of the thumbsticks and triggers, but not enough to actually move them to sensible locations. The pad comes with a speaker and a light bar (so it can work with Move). Also, there’s a “share” button…
… which is part of a larger social integration. Not only can you take screenshots of your games, but you can also do instant video capture. Meanwhile, you can spy on any of your friends, watch what they’re playing, and even hop into their games and literally take command by remote control. Much of this is thanks to the streaming technology Sony acquired when they purchased online gaming service Gaikai.
That’s not all they got from Gaikai. You’ll also be able to stream games straight from the Internet. It was mentioned in the press event in two contexts: streaming a game as a demo and while it downloads. It seems as if Sony intends to do PS3 backwards-compatibility this way, but also hinted that it won’t be available at launch.
Sony might actually find something to do with the Vita, thanks to Remote Play. In supported games, Remote Play lets you stream your game from your PS4 to your Vita so you can let someone else use the TV while you continue your game, remarkably like the WiiU. Their “long term goal is to make every PS4 title playable on the Vita.”
According to Sony, the PS4 will be “very much aware of the player and what is going on in the room.” In addition, they want to get to know you well enough to be able to predict what games you like and what media you consume via Netflix, Hulu, etc., even going so far as to download these things in advance.
Knack — A cute game about a boy and his robot.
Killzone: Shadow Fall — Killzone, but better looking and with less brown.
Destiny — Bungie’s next-gen FPS thingy.
Infamous: Second Son — Gorgeous open-world superhero game with a decidedly post-9/11 bent.
Watch Dogs — Looks for all the world like GTA with hacking, but in a good way.
Driveclub — Hyper-realistic driving game that’s supposed to model even the opening of doors. Team play is a huge focus.
Diablo 3 — Blizzard finally hops to consoles with 4-player, full-screen co-op. Also coming to PS3.
The Witness — Interesting puzzler from Braid creator Jonathan Blow. Now a PS4 exclusive.
Final Fantasy — Sony presented a very pretty, unnamed/unnumbered Final Fantasy trailer, with the typical lack of gameplay. You’ve likely already made up your mind about it, anyway.
Deep Down — A fantasy game from Capcom. Might be similar to Dragon’s Dogma, but nothing of substance was actually shown.
And here’s what we still don’t know:
We have no idea how much it will cost, the capacity of the hard-drive, and whether there’ll be new pricing tiers on Playstation Network.
Stay tuned for more info as it becomes available.