After weeks of hype building, Sony’s mysterious press conference went live Thursay night. We had our speculations. Once 6pm EST rolled around, we found out the truth behind the meeting. Sony officially announced the PlayStation 4 and revealed some plans for new features they wish to interrogate with their future system. Not only that but a handful of new games were revealed as well.
We have all the answers and details you want.
The PlayStation 4
The press conference had not started long before Sony jumped into discussing the PlayStation 4. No prototype or final version of the system was shown during the conference, so we can expect to see it at E3. They did, however, release the system’s specs (which can be read here courtesy of Destructoid). It is a beefy system though some specs still remain in question. Sony has stated that it will continue to have built-in harddrives but have not revealed what harddrive sizes will be available at launch.
While the system’s physical appearance remains in question, Sony did show quite a few new features and peripherals. One of the main focuses with the PlayStation 4 is a sense of unification between you, your devices, and other users. Full details regarding the social integration were scarce, but promising. Mark Cerny, the Lead System Architect, mentioned the uses of smartphones, tablets, and social networks like Facebook to allow you to constantly be connected to your system and other users. Very similar to Microsoft’s SmartGlass, the new PlayStation App will turn mobile devices into second screens where users can access game maps or make purchases on the PlayStation Network on the go.
Sony wants you to be connected to your games at all times and wants your games to be at your disposal without complications. They have said that you will be able to start playing games the moment you select them from the PlayStation Network while they download; they can finish downloading while your PlayStation 4 is in sleep mode. There was also talk about games automatically pausing when you put your system into sleep mode which then allows you to resume from the same point you left off at instantly. Though we are still waiting to hear more about this feature when Sony releases more information.
Remote Play will go hand and hand with the new App but will not be limited to just tablets and smartphones. The Vita will play a vital role with Remote Play. Sony has confirmed that all PlayStation 4 games will be able to be streamed directly to Vitas to let users continue their gaming while their televisions are in use (and that was all they said about the Vita.)
Connecting with other players and creating a solid social structure seems to be the main focus for the new system. Gaikai, a California-based streaming service, was purchased by Sony last year and will be playing a key part in the PlayStation 4’s social strategy. You can record and upload videos of your games directly from your PlayStation 4 to social networks. Other users can also join live streams of your gaming sessions. A Director can be selected that will temporarily pass control to the chosen player. When the Director, another user can help a friend during a difficult portion of the game by playing their friend’s game over the stream.
Yet even with all these new features highlighting social networking, Shuhei Yoshida – the Sony President – did say that the PlayStation 4 does not require constant connection to the internet. Socializing remains an open option to all users interested in it, but Sony is respecting people’s desires to remain reclusive if they wish.
Along with a new system comes a new way to play. The Dualshock 4 controller prototype was revealed. Its design greatly resembles that of its predecessors but you will quickly the notice the large, square pad in the center of the controller. A touch pad has been included that looks like the back touch pad on Vita systems. No games were shown using the touch pad, but it was said that it will be used as a different way to interact with your games.
The “Start” and “Select” buttons have been replaced with the “Share” and “Options” button. Using the “Share” button, you can access your social networks and Gaikai’s services on the fly. Others can view your game as you play it or offer assistance. I had just previously informed you about the Director, but other players can also give you in-game items such as health potions and weapons to aid you.
On the front of the Dualshock 4 controller, there is a bulky LED light. The light changes colors to indicate different players by matching to the color of their characters in-game. Other gimmicky-like features will be supported with the LED light, such as it flashing when your character takes damage. The main purpose of the light is to be interactive with the dual camera. This camera can judge the depth of the environment around it and track your movements. PlayStation Move will continue to be supported as your current Move controllers will work with the new bar.
Six-axis motion control will remain within the Dualshock 4 along with its namesake rumble feature. Past complaints regarding button designs have been improved but some new tastes are being brought to the table this time around. A microphone jack is being designed in the controller to prevent the need of stretching a long USB cable across the room if you do not wish to use a Blue-tooth headset. Much like the Wii Remote, a built-in speaker will also be included allowing game sound effects to echo from your grip. Sony did confirm that a headset will be included with the system so players can enjoy social aspects of the PlayStation 4 right out of the box.
Where we were expecting nothing more than a few trailers, we were pleasantly surprised by the line up shown during the conference. Lengthy portions of the games were demonstrated live to show off the power that beats within the PlayStation 4’s heart. Capcom revealed their new engine – Panta Rhei – with working fantasy IP Deep Down. Unreal Engine 4 debuted the same night with their Elemental tech demo. Quantic Dream’s David Cage showed off the PlayStation 4’s graphically capabilities and its role in emulating emotion to players by (and I quote), “…making you feel emotions you never felt in real life”.
Watch_Dogs , The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, and Destiny were announced to be ported to the PlayStation 4. Both will launch along side their current generation counterparts, though Destiny will see some next generation exclusive content. Jonathan Blow, the creator of Braid, debuted his 25+ hour puzzle game, The Witness.
Knack, a platformer, was used to demonstrate the PlaySation 4 to Vita Remote Play.
Two Sony exclusives will see next-generation installments to their series. Killzone: Shadow Fall and InFamous: Second Son have shown that Sony is backing the PlayStation 4 with full force very early in its life cycle. Media Molecule showed off some interesting augmented sculpting that should see itself work its way into one of their future titles.
Blizzard also announced that Diablo III would be available on both the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 in the future.
The PlayStation 4 will not support used games: Contested – Despite having patented software that would block used games, Sony is not including it in the PlayStation 4. Though they also did not clarify the extent usage of single copies of games. At the meeting, Sony said that games can be played on other PlayStation 4 systems but have yet to dismiss possible necessary serial numbers or DRM-styled limitations.
The PlayStation 4 will not be backwards compatible: True – PlayStation 3 games will not be compatible on the PlayStation 4. Cerny mentioned briefly during the announcement that you might be able to purchase PlayStation 3 games on the PlayStation Network just like PSOne and select PlayStation 2 games sometime in the future. Due to them being downloadable, there are new rumors sprouting stating that they will work on the Vita and tablets via Remote Play. With that being said, now would be a good time to mention that Dualshock 3 controllers are not compilable either.
PlayStation Network purchases can be redownloaded: False- Sadly Sony has confirmed that old PlayStation Network purchases cannot be redownloaded. The problem does not lie with issues regarding your account showing the purchase, but instead, lie within the fact that the PlayStation 4 is being designed to not support old software. Neither emulation or Gaikai’s streaming services are being looked at as alternatives; at least not right now.
PlayStation Network will continue to be free: Contested – During the conference, Cerny and other members of Sony’s staff had no issues with flaunting the PlayStation 4’s exciting new online features but completely dodged pricing. We are still waiting to hear whether or not the service will continue to be free or if a price will need to be tagged on in order to support these features.
There is currently no price tag or set release date, but Sony has confirmed that the PlayStation 4 will be out this holiday season.