Everything We Learnt About The PS4
After watching and being amazed at Sony’s PS4 conference, we’ve tried to compile a list of all the known specifications of the new system. This list isn’t complete, but it represents all the information that we’ve been able to find –
The system will come standard with an 8-core x86 CPU, a local hard drive and 8GB of GDDR5 RAM. That’s twice the amount that was rumoured and 16 times more than the PS3’s original 256MB RAM. It’s built very much like a gaming PC, using similar architecture and an ‘enhanced’ PC GPU. The console includes a secondary processor allowing it to perform many different background operations. This means that games can be updated, even when the main power is off, and that PSN games can be played as they are still downloading.
Although very interesting, more is still to be uncovered about how this is accomplished. Downloading and instantly using files in such a structured manner is a huge accomplishment.
Sony has also officially stated that games will still be playable without a constant internet connection, clearing up one of the more touchy subjects.
Jumping from a PS2 to a PS3 controller, only several minor additions were included. They were made wireless, given a ‘PS’ button and included an accelerometer, which was barely taken advantage of. Moving from a PS3 to a PS4 controller is very exciting and boasts plenty of new tech.
Firstly, it seems Sony has been paying attention to Nintendo and Microsoft by using some features that can be found on their standard system controllers. The PS4 pad will include a headphone jack on the bottom, exactly like an Xbox 360, and a speaker on the front, just like a Wiimote. Next, they’ve added a multi touch-pad on the front and very clearly stated that it wasn’t a touch screen. Until more is known, we can only imagine the touch-pad to be similar to the rear touch-pad of the PSVita, used entirely for gestures and not displaying images. The new controllers will also include a ‘light bar’ on the top for tracking movement, much like how the PSMove works.
The biggest change seems to be the replacement of the classic ‘Start’ and ‘Select’ buttons, with the new ‘Share’ and ‘Options’ buttons. Much was said about the ‘Share’ feature and it’s single purpose is exactly that, to share. The new playstation is very socially integrated and by using ‘Share’, players can upload images and video of their gameplay straight to the social media world, including the new PSN ‘friends’ layout. Although nothing was said about the ‘Options’ button, we can assume it will simply be used in the same manner of the original ‘Start’ button, allowing the player to pause games.
There have also been some minor changes to make the controller more comfortable. The inclusion of concave analog sticks and curved triggers are bound to make any PlayStation fan happy. The handles look more rounded and the pad itself looks smoother, much like the PSMove’s Navigation controller.
A recent rumor mentioned that the new controller will use biometric technology to tell different users apart. Nothing like this was mentioned, but perhaps they are simply waiting to surprise us again at E3. Games:
Knack – A new IP from Japan Studio. The player takes the roll of ‘Knack’, who looks like the accomplishments of a successful science experiment. From the gameplay shown, players seem to be able to build on Knack to increase his size for strength and combat, then break him back down when needing to pass through small gaps or use stealth. A very light hearted game, that has already been shown to be taking advantage of the PSVita’s ‘Remote Play’ functionality.
Killzone Shadow Fall – From Guerrilla Games comes the latest installment in the Killzone series. Shown to include a variety of new additions including air combat, special skills for stealth attacks and a wondrous cityscape environment, the war against the helghast continues in this story, already spanning across 2 generations of PlayStation consoles. Although the Killzone franchise has been previously known to exaggerate in-game graphics, if we get a final version looking anywhere near as good as what was shown, it should be considered a success.
Drive Club – A new IP driving game from ‘Evolution Studios’. Much like the recent ‘SSX’ game, where players were constantly challenging friends to beat highscores and climbing the leaderboards, Drive Club is also a highly socially focused game. Joining guilds and working in a team is usually reserved for MMOs, but here you and your club will challenge other clubs to take part in team races, battling it out on the racetrack to work your way up the rankings.
Infamous Second Son – With a new protagonist, new powers and seemingly a completely new world, Sucker Punch Productions are sticking to what they know best. Taking no risks with their new title, it’s fair to say that the first two infamous games were fantastic and a new installment won’t be shunned. Taking place in a society with no privacy and constant surveillance, the protagonist is fighting for freedom in a world run by Big Brother.
The Witness – Jonathan Blow, independent developer and creator of Braid, showed off his upcoming 3D puzzle game. Set in a beautiful cell-shaded world, the player seems to have full control over the protagonist as you explore a mysterious island and solve various puzzles. Giving off a very ‘Myst’ vibe, we can only hope the final product is half as good as Braid.
Deep Down – In Capcom’s latest fantasy IP, the player becomes a Knight, exploring caves and fighting dragons. Using their new ‘Panta Rhei’ engine, the game showed incredible visuals and brilliant lighting, and seeing this trailer simply took my breath away. One part of the trailer showed an explosive arrow being shot, bringing down some rubble atop a dragon, allowing the protagonist to run in and attack. This could be hinting and some kind of multiplayer and it was already shown to include a social aspect of it’s own. At the end of the trailer it was revealed that players could help each other by sharing items such as weapons and food. Looking very much like ‘Dark Souls’, this is a game we’ll certainly be watching out for at E3.
Watch Dogs – Ubisoft’s new IP has been laying low since causing a stir since E3 of last year. The incredible open world featured in the game shows a future where everything is online and connected, a future that’s entirely realistic. The player controls a hacker that has broken into the city’s network and can control most any electrical device there is. This is includes changing traffic lights, hacking ATM machines for money and shutting down security cameras. We were shown, what looked like, a random game event which included the use of hacking the environment and free running. The ability to slow down time for quick use of the surroundings, is a nice edition and the game hinted at asynchronous multiplayer, which was later confirmed.
Diablo 3 – Blizzard’s latest edition in the Diablo franchise was announced to be making it’s way to, not only the PS4, but the current PS3.
Destiny – Only recently announced itself, Bungie’s ‘Destiny’ is also making it’s way to the PS4. This impressive looking MMO first-person shooter ,with a ten year plan, will go hand-in-hand with the PS4’s social networking strategy. Miscellaneous Announcements:
Square Enix once again showed off their ‘Luminous’ engine, unfortunately using the same footage from several months ago. They also clearly announced that there will be a new Final Fantasy title shown at this years E3.
Media Molecule have done some pretty incredible things over the past few years. Little Big Planet’s engine and level creator was revolutionary and now they’ve blow us away again with a look at their latest innovation. They told us that they “don’t like polygons”, which is fair considering the amount of effort and time it takes to craft and animate a 3D model. Their new technology gives you the ability to use the PSMove to sculpt 3D models in a matter of minutes. Assets for a game’s entire world could be created in this manner, not only speeding up the process, but simplifying it enough for anybody to use. That wasn’t even the end of it – using the same type of PSMove control, you can even animate your creations in real time. We just can’t wait to see how these features will be implemented in Little Big Planet 3.
Quantic Dream also have a new engine. Discussing how far they’ve come from a Dreamcast game that used 560 poly models, to their latest PS3 game Beyond: Two Souls, which uses 30,000 poly models we were shown the next step. Using their new engine to render and animate a model of old man’s face in real time, we were shown just how good games of the near future could look, enabling characters to display very subtle facial emotions. Unfortunately, we weren’t shown any in-game footage, but hope to see some at this years E3.
As mentioned, the PS4 is all about social interaction. The controller even comes with a new ‘Share’ button, allowing instant screenshot and video uploading. Much like a social networking site, the new XMB has been shown to include a new area specifically to show all of your friends’ live updates. Branching out, this new PS social network will also be accessible via smartphones and tablets, presumably through a set of apps.
A new spectate feature allows you to watch your friend play a game and comment on how they’re doing. You can also join a multiplayer game, or buy the game if you don’t own it, directly from the spectators screen. An interesting new addition is called ‘assist’ which will enable players to take over a friends game remotely, in order to help them if they get stuck. The new PSN will come to understand your likes and dislikes. Using this information, the system will predict what games you are likely to enjoy or purchase and pre-download them in preparation. This sound like a brilliant new feature, I just hope the hard drive doesn’t get filled with games that were never purchased.
In August, Sony acquired the company Gaikai for $380 million and if Gaikai can provide the features that were boasted for the PS4, it was money well spent. Using cloud and streaming technology a number of great new additions are possible. Waiting for demos to download will be a thing of the past as they can be instantly streamed at the touch of a button. After deeply integrating ‘remote play’ functionality into the architecture of the PS4, streaming games from your console to your PSVita will be much more a fluid and instant process. Much like how the WiiU allows you to move many games from your TV to the controller and continue playing, the PS4 will allow you move your game over to your PSVita and resume gaming. Their goal is to get every single PS4 game onto the PSVita, using local wi-fi.
Hopefully, we will still see cross-platform games that don’t just allow the use of remote play, but come with both the console and handheld version of the game via ‘Cross-buy’.
Finally, backwards compatibility is not currently available for the PS4. You won’t be able to play your PS3 games or your PSN downloads, though Sony has stated that through further use of cloud technology, backwards compatibility may be available in the future.
And there you have it – darkzero’s summary of all things PS4. More information is being made available daily, so stay tuned for more updates as we learn about Sony’s newest console.