In case you hadn’t heard…
This announcement coming after much ado about something, and a long line of rumors regarding the new console behemoth. Not a second too soon, as this console generation has gone on, by many accounts, way too long. The one surprise with the announcement is a personalized venue, taking power and focus from the almighty E3 reveal many have come to love and cherish.
Interestingly enough, the console itself was not shown (I’m guessing black and roundish), but the controller was definitely front and center (black and roundish). Following up on the long line of success, Sony has stuck to their ergonomic guns and delivered us the Dual Shock 4, complete with all of the basics. Geometric face buttons, control sticks that have gone through a slight touch up, vibration, motion sensing, mono speaker, two point touch pad, and maybe most telling, a share button.
While I’m slightly a gape thinking about how in just one generation, having motion controls in your controller was unique as opposed to the standard, the share button seems the loudest addition of the Dualshock design. A large part of the Sony Press Conference used buzz phrases like completely integrated, always connected, socially aware etc. Sony seems to have taken to the topical days of social media we live in, and are moving fast and furious to streamline the entirety of social networking throughout the PS4 experience.
Sony was savvy to showcase an always online approach to player interaction, with you, the gamer, as an ever present personality in their own network. This comes complete with vastly integrated online cause ways from Sony’s own personalized infrastructure to Facebook, Twitter and beyond. From what theyadvertised, it looks as if Sony themselves will start with the heavy lifting, providing a basic structure of what looks to be a new standard of player profiles
Not as if all of this is completely ground breaking, but the interface looks slick, and still maintains a versatility in customization and options. This is based only on a small glimpse provided, and a few more details interwoven throughout the conference. The PS4 seems to posses aspects of what’s made Twitch.tv so popular, as it will have an ever present theater system, in which you can play back the last few (possibly more) minutes of game play, and createoa video, while then posting and sharing for your friends or PSN users to see on your profile. They also weren’t hesitant in showing off some full fledged streaming capabilities, which will help evolve the console expereince into a more open platform of gaming, and not just one solely based upon “playing through” an experience as just the player. The whole thing seems like a conglomeration of all forms of social media rolled into one, with a heavy aspect on ways you can become more than just a gamer in a gamer’s space. On the PS4, you will always be interacting with your friends, and vice versa, whether it’s spectating games, sharing clips, rating or talking about game content, and much more.
Not only that, but there was mention of “Director Like” control between you and your friends. The example on show involved requesting a health potion from your buddies in the heat of a battle, with you being able to share the loot after the boss encounter was said and done. Many of the minor details were left mum, and left me wondering what interface would be used, and how much control would be given to whom. While the prospect sounded interesting, I’m wondering if Sony still has the idea in a more conceptual phase, than a working model, with many of the minor details left up to the imagination.
The specs themselves look to completely overpower the PS3. The PS4 tech seem to be able to handle a lot of the self developed engines of the next gen (Unreal 4) beautifully, but one of the demos Sony used to show off the computational power of the systems innards involved a million falling objects in real time, complete with their own physics and lighting effects on the world, without ever slowing down the frame rate. While the dynamic platform that is the PC will always have an upper hand in this arena, at least Sony has a focus on forward thinking for their own developers, and third party devs this time around. The cell processor in the PS3 was routinely cited as a major pain to many developers to try and work with, and to get the most potential out of. The internals of the PS4, as to what Sony has reported, have a more unified approach, borrowing more so from advanced off the shelf PC hardware than diving too much into proprietary technology.
Sony may be going all out on a personalized and largely self imposed structure of online content, but they are in many ways, wisely relying on the feedback and wisdom given to them through the discourse of the PS3. They see adamant on trying to avoid the pratfalls of the slew of problems that their own cell processor seemed to create rather than fix. All in all, the system’s tech is what will help define the system, and it doesn’t look lacking.
I think one of the main concepts to keep in mind, is while the tech looks to follow trends of past hardware iterations (about twice as powerful), the trend the PS4 helps to buck is it’s new place in the online realm. The internals streamlined for better multi-platform use and developer friendly exclusives is a true positive, but elements like Sony’s partnership with GaiKai help to increase their online presence. Aspects like cloud gaming, online memory applications, even tinier quirks, like that of playing games while the game is still downloading, looks to show off some of the benefits of this online strategy. The always connected aspects look to enhance the system’s offerings, with a constant evolution of what’s possible from a progressively developing software stand point . Whether it be infrastructure improvements or faster patching options, all of this is suppose to combine and help to make the PS4 experience a more organic process. Add into this a sense of community, with players and users helping to create, share and help lead where the system can grow, and you have Sony hyping a far more communal existence within the confines of the PS4. This might possibly lead way to a year by year difference in what the system can offer, based on new ideas and concepts Sony has in the software and conceptual stages of the system, leading to no one year of the PS4 existence looking too similar to the last.
As stated, a more evolutionary, and most unlike previous console endeavors, a more dynamic experience
Between the old and the new, there was plenty to look at during the Press Conference, more so than what I could fluidly mention in one post. I tried to cover more of the elements of the system in today’s article, but will do my best to post some write ups on the other tech related goodies they showed, and the grand display of games and creators that commanded much of the shows attention. Other than the social media aspects of what was mentioned, Sony made damn sure that they communicated the message “developers matter”. They went into great detail about how they consulted (and even had on hand or in video form) the biggest devs in the industry. These very same people helped build the console from the conceptual ground up. Either with important critiques, a list of do’s and don’t, or just an all around very vocal input on what’s needed to try and help expedite the game making process as much as possible, without sacrificing the quality and bravado Sony wants the PS4 to represent.
With exclusive launch titles, the biggest names in the industry, and even system surprises, there is plenty more PS4 news I’ve yet to touch on. Check back in the next couple days for more PS4 info.