Gamers got a glimpse of the future at Sony’s press conference where their next-gen console, the Playstation 4, was officially announced. Along with its name, we were able to see the Dualshock 4, some interesting new features, and some promising new games for the PS4. While I’m sure there’s still a lot more that Sony has yet to unveil about the system, maybe we can get a slight reprieve from all the rumors that were circulating about the PS4, now that we have some solid information. Having seen the presentation in its entirety and getting a sense of what a next-gen system will be capable of, I’ve been running over in my mind what things caught my attention. So here are 5 things that I saw in the presentation that have personally got me excited for what the PS4 could bring to gamers, be it a console feature, game demo, or announcement. If these visions for the next-generation of gaming can come through the PS4, I can legitimately say that I am ready for the new consoles. (Note: This list is in no particular order.)
1) Gaikai Cloud Gaming
When news came out last year that Sony had bought the cloud gaming company of Gaikai, many people expected that the PS4 would be heavily cloud-based. Last night, Gaikai founder Dave Perry went into detail about what the company’s cloud gaming technology was going to bring to this next-gen console and he promised a lot of exciting features. For one, he mentioned how Playstation Vita and its Remote Play functionality was going to be expanded with Gaikai technology so that every PS4 game to come out would be playable on the Vita. We saw this in action with the first game they showed off for the PS4, Knack. The designer of Knack, Mark Cerny who is also the lead architect for the PS4, unveiled the game moments before on stage and he was back a few minutes later, playing his PS4 game on the Vita. The way that they would accomplish this was described as somehow using the PS4 like a server to stream games directly onto the PS Vita. Another aspect of cloud-gaming that Sony is trying to implement with Gaikai is to hopefully be able to stream PS1, PS2, and PS3 titles onto any device. This long-term goal that Sony has is probably still a long way from seeing fruition, but if Sony can deliver on these promises, cloud-gaming looks to be the future of what next-gen will bring to the gaming front.
2) ‘Share’ Functionality
Out of all the rumors that came out about the PS4, I was glad to see that the ‘share’ functionality was one thing that ended up being true. People even got it right up to the fact that there would be a ‘share’ button on the Dualshock 4 controller. In the presentation, Sony mentioned that the PS4, using Gaikai’s cloud technology, would be tied with Facebook and Ustream. The ‘share’button was described as a way for more social gaming, such as live-streaming your gameplay by simply pressing the ‘share’ button so that your friends will be able to see your gameplay live from their console. Dave Perry even mentioned that you could comment on the video so that your friend can see it while they are playing and you would even be able to take over the game from your couch, given your friend’s permission of course. The way that this could be implemented was given an example situation: perhaps you see your friend struggling with a boss battle that you have already beaten and you comment to them that you can help; you would then be able to take over the game, beat the boss, and give gameplay back to your friend so they’d be able to advance through the rest of the game. Having a console that would be able to record your gameplay at all times in order to share rare moments with friends, has been something I’ve always wanted and we’ll hopefully see it used efficiently.
3) Impressive PS4 Titles
There were two things that people going into this presentation wanted to see from the get-go: the actual announcement of the PS4 and games for the PS4. We were presented with both and I was pretty impressed with the lineup of games that Sony presented. One big game was the next Killzone game, titled Killzone: Shadow Fall which was recently confirmed to be a PS4 launch title. Along with a trailer, we got to see some hectic FPS gameplay that really showed off what the PS4 was capable of in terms of graphics. Another game that Sony unveiled, that came rather unexpectedly, was Infamous: Second Son. Similar to Cole McGrath in the first two Infamous games for the PS3, this game features Delsin Rowe and judging from the trailer for this game, it looks like Rowe gains his fire-like powers accidentally and uses them to fight against the DUP, Department of Unified Protection. These two game titles got me excited but what I was personally most pleased to see was Jonathan Blow’s The Witness, which was announced to be console-exclusive for the PS4. We had only seen screenshots of this beautiful game but now having trailer that was shown at the presentation, we got to see a tour of the island and the beautiful environments in which we’ll be solving puzzles. With these titles already announced and many more probably to come throughout the year, I’d say the PS4 is off to a good start. Let’s not forget that Square Enix has announced that they are showing off a new Final Fantasy game at this year’s E3…
4) Powerful System Specs
While we didn’t get to see the new system itself, we did get some confirmation about what the PS4 will be packing in terms of technology. The PS4 will use an X86 CPU featuring APU technology and will come with 8 GB of GDDR5 memory. Most high-end graphics cards use GDDR5 technology and we certainly got some good looks at how this technology was being implemented. Graphics-wise, Sony showed the Unreal Engine 4 running on the PS4 and David Cage, founder of Quantic Dream who is currently working on Beyond: Two Souls, showed off a tech demo of how realistic emotions could be displayed with the power of the PS4. The graphics weren’t the only thing that was boasted about, as Sony was sure to mention the processing capabilities of their new system. While I already mentioned how streaming and uploading your own gameplay was all possible in the background, Dave Perry stated how they were working on a concept of “buy only what you love”. We would be able to try any game for free instantly with no need to download beforehand and if we do end up downloading the game, we would be able to start playing even while it is downloading. That alone was exciting to hear and I can’t wait to actually see this feature in action.
5) Coming Holiday 2013
Many people were speculating that we’d see the PS4 released within this year, while I kept thinking that early 2014 would be a more reasonable time. I think it’s safe to say that most weren’t expecting to see any sort of release window announced so seeing that the PS4 would be coming this holiday definitely caught my attention. It does make me a bit doubtful though, that no specific date was given, which could mean that Sony is ready to delay the release if need be. I would love to see a successful launch by this holiday so that Sony will be able to grab the attention of all those holiday shoppers looking for the next big console. I feel that if Sony sticks by its intended release of this holiday by announcing it at this year’s E3, we can expect Sony to make due on this promise. Here’s to hoping…
So, in conclusion, I felt that Sony really came out and delivered on ‘the future of Playstation’. It really all depends on Sony working on making these promises come true, but if they can pull it off, we might see a much brighter future in store for the Playstation brand.
What did you think of the presentation? Anything stand out in particular for you?