Sony has finally paid off the hype the company has been constructing over the last few weeks by unleashing a torrent of details on their challenger in the next console generation, the PlayStation 4. In a conference on Feb. 20, Sony released a large number of details about the upcoming console.
One of the biggest changes that captured the interest of developers as well as gamers is to the system’s hardware. The PS4 will be touting a CPU and graphics card on level with a PC, 8 GB of memory, and a local hard drive for storage. This high class architecture will not only benefit gamers but also alleviate many challenges for developers making games for the PS4.
Social media continues to be a popular design choice with the large number of social features integrated into the PS4. Dualshock 4 controllers come with a built in button that allows users to instantly share screenshots, clips of gameplay, or even streaming gameplay live. Users can now chat with friends even across different games, and if a player is stuck a friend can give their friend the reins and let them remotely control their game.
Sony has also moved to adding second screen functions, similar to the Wii-U. PS4 owners that also own the handheld Vita will be able to use it as a remote controller as well as being integrated into games on the big screen. An app for smartphones is also in development that will allow PS4 owners to do things such as watch video streams of other players, view in-game maps, or even browse PlayStation Network content to purchase and download remotely, similar to Steam’s mobile app.
A slew of other features have been announced, all with convenience and speed in mind. Thanks to the new architecture, games and other content can be downloaded in the background while users are actively playing a game. Users can put the console into a suspend mode when they need to leave and immediately return to the game later with no start-up time or loading. A number of other applications such as a web browser can be used while in-game as well.
It is currently unclear if the controversy over blocking pre-used games has been resolved in the case of the PS4.
“It’s a publisher decision,” Sony Worldwide Studios boss Shuhei Yoshida said in an interview with Gamespot. “We are not talking about it. Sorry.”
Backwards compatibility, an important point for many, has unfortunately been neglected in the case of the PS4. There are no plans for the console to support discs from previous systems or for emulating legacy games via the PSN or streaming.
In the controller arena, the PS4 will continue to support Sony’s motion controller Move, though there hasn’t been word on compatibility with the PS3 Eye. Due to the number of new features included in the PS4’s new controller, the Dualshock 3 will be retired in the case of the PS4.
While tidbits of info continue to trickle into the media, Sony still has yet to reveal several important elements such as the system’s pricing, the size of the hard drive, concrete info on used game blocking, and even what the PS4 will look like.