Today marked the beginning of the next-generation in gaming. On a frigid February evening in New York City, Sony revealed the newest iteration of the PlayStation franchise – PlayStation 4.
Much anticipation has been made leading up to Sony’s big event as photos of an alleged leaked PS4 controller exploded its way onto gaming blogs across the Internet…
Little more than a few hours ago, some of Sony’s lead architects took the stage to unveil the revamped DualShock pad. Like the PS4, its controller is totally sleek and has completely evolved with several notable functionality added – a touchpad, integrated motion control and a “Share” button. The Share button plays a prominent role in the new PlayStation Network Dashboard. PSN now supports third party services so you can integrate friends from social media, record gameplay, screen shots and actually share footage with Facebook friends or stream live content. PS4 online services will also be accessible from mobile phones and tablets. During the event, Sony alluded to the PlayStation 4 having the power and functionality of an actual server.
And speaking of servers, under the hood the PS4 sports a super-charged architecture comprised of 8GB of System Memory, 2.2GB of Video Memory, 160GB local storage, 5.1 & 7.1 audio channels, a Blu-Ray disc drive, 4x USB 3.0 inputs and a 4x Dual-Core AMD processor. Conceivably, game developers will no longer be limited by hardware constraints and only by their imaginations.
Sony gained a great deal of criticism for a lack of full backwards compatibility on the PS3. It is a no brainer that gamers want access to the immense PS2 library and be able to play PS1 classics on their next-gen console. Sony’s plan to appease those critics is to leverage cloud technology to make PS1, PS2 and PS3 games playable through their PlayStation cloud service. Hopefully they won’t make us repurchase games similarly to the UMD/PS Vita debacle. No word on the possibility of local emulation for backwards compatibility or pricing for cloud service yet.
This however, seems to be the trend for next-gen consoles as the Nintendo Wii U’s backwards compatibility also operates in an analogous sandbox. Sony has also taken a page from Nintendo’s book by integrating gameplay synchronization between the PS4 and PS Vita. The PS4 is capable of streaming gameplay to a hand-held device. This means that you can watch television and play your supported PS4 title from a PS Vita, a la Wii U.
Much has been made to be excited about this evening at Sony’s live event in New York City. Publishers from Capcom to Square-Enix to Ubisoft have spoken and announced plans to develop next-gen titles from some of their key franchises. And with the Sony committed a “Holiday 2013” launch, it is evident that we finally are on the cusp of the next generation in console gaming.