Long awaited Sony's gaming console was finally unveiled. Coming with - rumours had it - a new controller, the Dual Shock 4, the machine is packed with an X86 CPU, 8GB of unified memory, and much more.
Seven years have passed since Sony released its latest console so, as it could have been expected, the new child has quite impressive specifications. For those eager to satisfy their aesthetic demands, here comes the bad piece of news: we still don't know what it will look like. However, fret not, as its other features seem to be so spectacular that it's the insides, and not the outer appearance that bear utmost significance in this case.
Informed system architecture
According to Sony's presentation, the hardware side to the newest machine comprises five most important points we were all more than eager to know about. With its eight-core X86 AMD "Jaguar" CPU and a 1.84 Teraflop AMD Radeon graphics engine that carry on the central processing on the PS4, this baby's gonna run far and fast. 8GB of speedy GDDR5 memory are also a great feature. Along is to come a hard drive for storage versus an SSD, but there was no information given on its capacity and whether it would be as easy to swap as it was in the case of the PS3.
According to the press release announced by Sony after the meeting, the PS4 will also have Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n standard) and Ethernet, Bluetooth 2.1, HDMI, Analoh AV-out, 3 USB 3.0 ports and an optical digital audio output. Though Sony didn't bother to mention it, we believe that the PS4 will have a Blu-ray drive capable of playing DVDs.
The console is supposed to be backward-compatible with the PS3, meaning that the games dedicated to the older machines would run on the PS4 flawlessly. What's more, Sony claims that also PS1 and PS2 games would in the future work on the newest console, allowing the users to endavour some classics, such as Crash Bandicoot or Tekken 3. It will be also possible to play via a PlayStation Cloud Service and, an important piece of news, the PS4 users will be able to play while their other games would install, so you won't have to wait and "leave the machine alone".
Dual Shock 4: the controller of the future.
The new pad feels like somebody mingled the PlayStation DualShock with a bit of the Vita and the Move - and it all seems to be a perfect marriage (of three). With its enhanced rumble, a touch pad, a share button, a standard headphone /microphone jack and light-up bar (in the Move style), this controller looks precisely like the pad of the future should be like. The PS-Vita inspired feature is the two-finger touch pad with click, and the controlled carries also a Micro USB Pport, Bluetooth 2.1 and Sixaxis gyroscope/accelerometers for a better gaming experience.
The Eye of the controlled has been reshaped, with stereo cameras reminding us of Kinect. According to Sony, it works perfectly with the light bar for motion, and it's a standard feature with the PS4.
Sharing and enhancing online experience
The PS4 is claimed to have been designed to push the boundaries between the usual solicitude of gaming and connecting with people by the Internet. With a "Share" button, people are to be capable of uploading screenshots and clips (to services such as Facebook and Ustream) as well as to chat with their friends while playing - a feature that has been so far exclusive for PC gamers using clients such as Xfire.
Since Sony bought a cloud-gaming firm, Gaikai, last year for almost $400 million, the PS4 has to be packed with online content. The accounts the players will create in the PS store are supposed to be personalized, with the network learning about the users' preferences and thus presenting them with the gaming options that would suit them best.
Sony mentioned remote second-screen gaming on the Vita, and there's more to this feature. According to the company, integrated play would be within the reach of your hand, whether you use a cell phone, tablet and other electronics, pushing the PS4 to match game consoles such as Xbox 360.
Though a lot was said about the next-generation game console, there are still some points that remained intact, so let's bring a bunch of speculations about Sony's newest child.
First of all - how will the console look like? Actually, nothing that Sony presented could be thought of as a hint. The outer appearance of the machine remains the biggest marvel of the day.
Futhermore - why no official date of the release? In the case of the PS4, it is claimed that it may be released sometime in the 2013 holiday season. However, as usually a demo of the newest device used to be presented during the events such as E3 video game trade show, it is still arguable whether we will see the PS4 later this year.
What about streaming? Gaikai as a part of Sony means that more emphasis would be put on streaming games rather than buying discs in the local stores. In a long run, that's a great solution for the problems of manufacturig, transporting and storing physical DVDs and Blu-rays. However, as it's difficult to make people leave their old habits - how much time is it going to take before Sony decides to sell a brand-new mainstream hit game as a download from a cloud rather than in a physical package?
Finally, the question that may absorb the minds of many penny-pinching gamers - will you need to have a paid subscription to enjoy online services? And how much is the PS4 going to cost? As Xbox Live demands money every step you take and Sony always offered all the major features for free, it is difficult to say in which direction will the company actually go. And regarding the price of the console, it is rumoured that there would be two distinct versions of the console, with the more expensive one coming along with a variety of additional features. Though it is difficult to speculate since we don't even know how it's going to look like, it could be safely assumed that the money to hand out will be around $400 - $600, so start to save if you think you'd like to purchase the PS4 in the fall.
Sony showed a lot and yet there are some issues that remain to be cleared. For the time being, the only thing we can actually do is to sit back and wait for the console to arrive. And then we will certainly enjoy it.
What do you think about the PS4 so far? Do you believe it's going to be a big success? Share your word with us!