It’s been on the lips of gamers for months now, with Sony cryptically teasing something over the last couple of weeks, as the next generation of gaming prepares to be unveiled. Well wonder no more, because project Orbis AKA the Playstation 4, is real.
Last night in New York City, and this morning technically for people who like to point out my complete lack of time zone understanding, the PS4 was officially announced. Not unveiled, mind you, but announced. Designer Mark Cerny took the stage for the event, and described the PS4 as “A powerful and accessible system”. Cerny also claimed that the PS4 will have "A deep feature set to support the ongoing evolution of gaming itself."
And the hardware does indeed sound pretty heavy, for a console that is. 8 gigabytes of RAM, a “massive” hard drive, two teraflops of power and the choice to switch the device into a low power state. Moving onto the input devices, those rumours about the new controller turned out to be true. The prototype controller sports a redesign more in line with current options, such as more natural palm rests, what looks to be grippier triggers, share buttons and a touchpad in the center.
The PS4 will also have instant on and off states by the press of a button, as a secondary custom chip will keep downloads and uploads going, enabling games to be played and streamed while the console handles other functions. Streaming games seems to be the big hook here, as the Gaikai partnership with Sony unveiled some tech last night that allows downloaded titles to be played while they’re being downloaded.
Streaming gameplay footage and spectating on the networks of other people playing various titles will also be supported. Sony is also making a push for the Vita to be relevant, as PS4 games will somehow be playable on that device with a function that they’ve dubbed “remote play”. Sony claims that they’re making an effort to make every single PS4 game, Vita playable at the end of the day.
The newly designed Sony Network will also be able to learn about player preferences, using metrics to gauge interest in certain games, with social networking crossing over onto this platform as well. As for backwards compatibility, Gaikai CEO Dave Perry mentioned that Sony was working on bringing the library of Playstation 1,2 and 3 games to the new console via Playstation Cloud services, which would be rolled in phases during the lifespan of the system.
Sony also hyped the fact that their next console would be aiming to kill the waiting times caused by uploads, downloads and installations, something which many a fan will be pleased to hear. Games announced for the console include Killzone: Shadow Fall, Infamous: Second Son, DriverClub, The Witness, Deep Down, The Knack, a new Final Fantasy, Destiny, Watch Dogs and…Diablo 3. More on those later.
The Playstation 4 looks like a solid console so far. There’s more than enough powerful hardware on offer to produce some stunning games, and the Gaikai partnership loos set to pay off with some innovative technology that puts gaming first, and mandatory waiting second. There’s no price tag on the console yet, but it’s safe to say that gamers have enough time to save up for the holiday season release.