Over in New York, late on yesterday (at 11pm, in fact, our time), Sony took the wraps off the PlayStation 4 as expected.
Although technical details were scant, we do know that the PS4 is going to be powered by an 8-core processor, which will be partnered with 8GB of RAM.
So what interesting new features does Sony have planned? Streaming gaming is at the forefront, as you might expect given Sony’s purchase of the Gakai platform, which will let you instantly stream and try out any game on the PlayStation 4 with no waiting whatsoever.
A similar convenience is a new “suspend” mode, which saves the game, and lets you pick up instantly where you were – with no loading time – when you press the power button to turn the console back on.
You’ll also be able to broadcast yourself playing a game on Ustream, which as Sony notes, could come in handy if you’re stuck – as your friends can watch and offer advice (or indeed taunts). You’ll also be able to pass control over to other players, reportedly… interesting indeed.
Social is another major theme, along with streaming. Facebook will be tied in tightly with the new console, allowing for the swift and easy sharing of gameplay videos. And the PS4 menu screen will clearly show what your friends have been up to in terms of gaming and media viewing/listening.
A tie in with the Vita handheld was an obvious move, and indeed the PS4 will be able to stream games via Wi-Fi to your Vita. That will doubtless please those who are heavily invested in Sony’s gaming ecosystem.
Aside from the Vita, a PS4 app will also allow smartphone owners to use their handset as a second screen. Again, that’s a nice touch.
On the hardware front, aside from the revved up CPU, graphics and memory under the bonnet, the DualShock 4 controller has some very novel additions – namely touch and motion control.
Rather than having a separate Move wand as with the PS3, motion control sensors will be inside the controller itself. A touchpad (a la Vita) on the controller will also allow for touch input – and an integrated speaker will provide additional sound effects.
A new PlayStation Eye, with two cameras on board, will be able to track the location of the DualShock 4, and the player – so this is Sony’s answer to Kinect.
Otherwise, the controller is pretty similar, with some refinements to things such as curved L2 and R2 buttons.
So, Sony is hoping this will be a leveller with Kinect – or rather, it’s next implementation with the Xbox 720 – and it’s going strong on the streaming and social aspects.
Games-wise, Killzone Shadow Fall was shown off, along with DriveClub, a socially focused driving game – and Watch Dogs, too, all of which look very tempting indeed. Also, Diablo III will be coming to the PS4, action RPG fans might want to know.
So, that’s your PS4 package as it stands. Cynics might say Sony is trying to cobble together everything in a bid to win over everyone - a bit of Kinect, a bit of the Vita or indeed Wii U (touch on the controller), a bit of Facebook…
Jack of all trades? We shall see, but in fairness, there are some pretty cool features here in terms of collaborative gaming, and Vita/smartphone support - not to mention streaming which, we’re constantly being told, is the future of gaming. And there’s some truth in that - particularly with broadband now shifting into a higher gear in the UK.