JAPANESE GAMING HOUSE Sony has partially unwrapped the Playstation 4 games console just like the world plus dog expected it would.
At an event in New York last night Sony said that its new Playstation 4 (PS4) will be more powerful, of course, and that players will be able to do things like sharing content and booting up quicker. Overall, if there were tickboxes for everything you wanted a next generation games console to be like, the PS4 would earn itself a lot of ticks.
Sharing was bound to be high on the agenda, as were the types of games that we can expect. Exciting titles like Bungie's Destiny and Bioshock Infinite are already lined up for the PS4, and they have attracted some buzz.
"Playstation 4 is centered on all of you - the gamers. It redefines rich and immersive gameplay with powerful graphics and speed, intelligent personalization, deeply integrated social capabilities, and innovative second-screen features," said a PS4 infused blog post from Sony.
"When we designed Playstation 4, we focused on building an architecture that will allow the greatest game developers in the industry to push boundaries and dig deep within their imaginations to create the most immersive and unique games for you to enjoy."
As well as these unique games, both of the games mentioned above will also be available on the next generation Xbox, while Sony promises PS4 versions of Killzone: Shadow Fall, Driveclub, and Diablo III.
There are hardware tweaks too. And where better to start there than with the controller, the Dualshock 4. This looks different, and indeed it is different.
It has done away with separate Select and Start buttons and now offers the combined Options button in their place. In an age where people post photos of sushi rolls and lunch to the internet, the Dualshock 4 also has a Share button that lets you post clips to things like Facebook or Ustream. It also boasts a new "highly sensitive" six-axis sensor.
Also fresh here is a colour coded light that works with the Playstation camera and makes it easy to see who is playing who by associating the relevant hue with the relevant character.
The camera also links with Playstation Move and has better depth and noise awareness, according to an excited blog post from Shu Yoshida, Worldwide Studios president for SCE.
"As both a developer and a gamer, I'm personally excited about the opportunity to get help from friends when facing a challenge, and I can't wait to see what my friends are playing in real time along with videos of their favorite in-game moments," he said.
"The new camera incorporates four microphones capable of accurate sound detection and source origination, and it will support the PlayStation Move motion controller with more precision than ever before."
The Dualshock 4 also makes room for a touchpad, naturally, but only a small one, and includes a built-in speaker.
From here we move to the console itself. And a new power feature here will suspend your progress in a game rather than actually power down. This is going to let you hop right back into any action that you might have been enjoying when your mum called you down for dinner, while sparing you the pressing of a load of buttons on your return.
Alternatively, you could eat your cheese on toast at the dining table while picking up where you left off on your PSVita, the more portable of the Playstation propositions. Sony said that thanks to work with the cloud gaming outfit Gakai it would be able to put games into the hands of its players, wherever they go.
Background downloading and updating will also save you facetime with humanity, as Sony said that it would let you play digital titles as they are downloading, and would allow the PS4 to update itself even when tuRned off.
Meanwhile, and remember kids, we are in 2013 and should have expected this, a Playstation app for iOS and Android devices will let players flip content between a television and a tablet and watch their friends cybershoot each other remotely. This sort of thing, which sounds a bit like the Wii U and Microsoft's Xbox tablet app, is described as "innovative second-screen features".
Going deeper, Sony revealed that the PS4's GPU has a unified array of 18 compute units, an x86-64 AMD Jaguar chip, and a Radeon based graphics engine. It can generate 1.84 TeraFLOPS of processing power, has 176GB/s bandwidth, and has 8GB of unified system memory. In short, it's going to be better for developers and graphics.
The Playstation 4 should be out this coming holiday season. We have requested UK pricing information. µ
14393.5 purports to include better Edge performance, which wouldn't be difficult
Significant speed boost and some nice tweaks