Last night Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) officially unveiled the PlayStation 4 console, their next-generation videogames platform set for release this winter. The event that played host to the first public showcase of the PlayStation 4 touched on many aspects of the future of PlayStation gaming, from technology to new IPs, new services to the next stage of PlayStation Network, and it was no less than impressive.
SCE were previously considered the guiding arm of the industry, with the PlayStation and PlayStation 2 consoles dominating the marketplace. With the current-generation however, the lines were far less defined. Nintendo had innovated their way back into first place and Microsoft’s Xbox brand had built enough momentum to become a serious rival. SCE has had to innovate in order to stay relevant, and innovate they did.
Diving immediately into the PlayStation 4, the showcase of the new console began with the technology under the hood. The promised 8GB RAM was promoted as the biggest step for the system, and it could well be argued that SCE are right given the PlayStation 4’s goals of instant-on and captured videogame progress. These are two important factors for the console and could be a defining part of the next-generation experience, showing a hand that Microsoft Studios arguably must follow to remain relevant.
The DualShock 4 was the next item on the agenda, blending the PlayStation Vita’s touch pad and PlayStation Move’s detection systems with a traditional DualShock controller. This is arguably the weakest aspect of the presentation – and perhaps SCE are aware of this as the presenters do not linger – with the analogue sticks still providing cause for debate. Moving on swiftly we see the first gaming experiences for the console.
An Unreal Engine 4 tech demo was followed by some fantastic looking titles. New IP and existing franchises are already being touted for the system with Knack and Deep Down both looking mightily impressive. Also revealed were Killzone: Shadow Fall, DriveClub, infamous: Second Son, The Witness, the PlayStation 3 version of Watch Dogs, a new title from Media Molecule working with PlayStation Move, Diablo III and Bungie’s Destiny, which was confirmed to launch alongside the PlayStation 3 version. Electronic Theatre will of course keep you updated with all of these titles as further details are revealed.
The social features of the PlayStation 4 console were next to be revealed, taking a leaf out of OnLive’s unique feature set. Screenshots and gameplay videos can be shared instantly, but more important is the opportunity to live stream gameplay. Broadcasting your action to friends who are then able to participate, offering you in-game items or advice via a multitude of devices – or even jumping straight in and taking control – this is an aspect of the PlayStation 4 of which SCE seem very proud, and rightfully so. This is leveraging the power of a connected gaming infrastructure in ways we’ve never before seen, far and above any rival key players.
A number of unique features have been showcased and SCE has the right to be proud of what they’ve accomplished. Many hardware reveals have been somewhat underwhelming in recent years, but SCE made sure that every box was ticked: this wasn’t a self congratulatory showcase of numbers and brand success, this was the future of the PlayStation. And that future is one that appears very exciting indeed.