Sony announces PS4

Sony announced the Playstation 4 at a recent press conference, but did not release any photos of the new device.
Sony announced the Playstation 4 at a recent press conference, but did not release any photos of the new system.

By Gabrielle Bauman

When Andrew House, president and group chief executive of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. came on the stage, it was no secret what he was there for.

House was unveiling the Playstation 4, the latest in the line of PS gaming systems. But the press conference itself is leaving many with more questions than answers.

“I’m glad they’re building a new console after eight years. The hardware’s starting to look pretty old,” said Penn Manor senior Caleb Bolinger.

The game will be available by Christmas 2013, but no concrete release date has been announced yet. The press conference also failed to include pictures of the PS4, though the changes to the standard Playstation controller were highlighted.

These include a touchscreen, a blue LED light which is advertised to match your onscreen character, and a share button. The “Start” and “Select” buttons typically found in the center of the controller have been combined into a single “Options” button. However, the old Dualshock controllers used by the PS3 will not be compatible by the PS4.

The share button goes along with Sony’s plan to make gaming a more social experience. Video capture will be made easier with the PS4, and live streaming will attempt to make videogames similar to a spectator sport.

“I think the share button’s pretty gimmicky,” said Bolinger.

Sony also gave short presentations on some of the games that will be available with the PS4 launch, which included Killzone: Shadow Fall, Destiny (from the creators of Halo), and Driveclub.

The Playstation 4 will be a PC gaming console. According to the PC Magazine, “The system will run an x86-64 AMD Jaguar CPU with eight cores. It will also come with a 1.84 teraflop Radeon graphics processor and 8GB of RAM. Despite the increased focus on downloadable content, the 6xCAV Blu-ray drive stays. The system will also come with USB 3.0, Ethernet, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth, as well as the predictable HDMI, Analog AV out, and Digital Output.”

This is behind the current top gaming computers, but the difference is that while gaming computers become outdated quickly, consoles last for years. The Playstation 3 was put on shelves in November 2006, almost 8 years ago, and top titles are still being released on a regular basis like Beyond Two Souls, a motion capture game starring actress Ellen Paige.

When the PS3 was unveiled in 2006, SCE America head Kaz Hirai said, “The PlayStation 3 is going to be a console that’s going to be with you again for 10 years.” This will not be far from the truth by the time PS4 is released later this year.

Another highlight of the Sony press conference is the application of the cloud. Last year Sony paid $380 million for cloud based distribution company Gaikai. Gaikai CEO David Perry stated at the press conference that Sony was working on cloud based distribution for all their upcoming titles. The user will download the game from the cloud, and then play the full game as the rest is still downloading.

No wait times, no demos.

This may play into the market currently held by the cloud based distributor Stream, a realm over which it currently reigns supreme. EA attempted to topple it with Origin to no avail, but now Sony seems to want to get into the cloud action.

“Try for free and buy only the games you really love,” said Perry.

Bolinger commented on the success of Nintendo’s latest console, “It sucks for the Wii U that just came out…it’s got the specs of current generation consoles and now there’s a new one.”

The PS4 will be here by this holiday season, but there is no word on pricing or of what the actual console will look like.

Don’t worry — If it’s anything like its predecessors, it’ll just be a black box.