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Sony announces PlayStation 4


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Sony announces PlayStation 4
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Robo
Formerly Roboman, still
awesome
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Portland, OR
 
2013-02-20, 23:50

Today Sony finally made their next-generation console official. It's called PlayStation 4, it's coming this holiday season, and it's the biggest change to PlayStation ever.

For the first time, Sony is building their console on the X86 PC architecture. (Previous PlayStations used often-bizarre custom architectures.) It features an AMD-built 8-core CPU and "next generation" GPU, and 8GB of GDDR5 RAM, exceeding expectations. As with the Wii U, the CPU and GPU are on a single die, providing cost and heat savings, and hopefully making for a smaller console. (Why "hopefully"? Well, we'll get to that in a second.) It features a significantly faster Blu-ray drive than the PS3, and of course it has a hard drive too. I/O wise, it now supports USB 3 in addition to Gigabit Ethernet, and it now features support for 802.11n Wi-Fi. (If you're living in the stone ages, you'll be pleased to know that the PS4 continues to feature the old analog AV Multi port, in addition to HDMI.)

The PS4 features an all new interface with a focus on immediacy; Sony wants to greatly reduce the amount of time it takes to boot up the console and hop into a game. The PS4 features a new suspend mode that causes the PS4 to enter a low-power mode with the game in progress saved, so that picking up exactly where the player left off requires only a press of the Power button. Similarly, Sony designed the PS4 to be able to play games while they are being downloaded.

The biggest change to the PS4, however, is the all-new controller, which is the biggest change to the DualShock ever.



The shape has been substantially tweaked for the first time, with a rounder, more "organic" shape. The analog sticks have been redesigned, with new concave tops. The L2 and R2 triggers now have a larger, concave shape instead of the weird tippy convex surfaces they had before. In the center of the controller is a capacitive touchpad with support for two points of input. On the back of the controller is a new light bar that can change color, both as a signal to the player (i.e., when you are low on health, it might flash red) and to enable more precise motion-tracking with the PS4's new depth-sensing camera (though the controller also still features built-in accelerometers and a gyroscope, too). On the bottom of the controller is a headphone jack for the (included!) chat headset. Like the Wii Remote and GamePad, it has a tiny speaker. It still features an internal rechargeable battery that charges over USB, and now it will be able to charge when the PS4 system is in standby.

For the first time, the controller loses the Start and Select buttons that have been a feature of every PlayStation console and handheld to date (and the NES and SNES before them). In their place are two new buttons, Share and Options. Options is self-explanetory, but Share is more interesting. The PS4 automatically saves a recording of the last 15 minutes of gameplay, in any game; pressing the Share button allows you to scrub back through that, make a clip, and upload it to YouTube and such. What's more, the PlayStation 4 can actually steam gameplay video live over the internet. You can literally watch your friends play games on their PS4, live, from your iPhone.

Sony shared a great deal about the PS4's hardware, its controller, and its interface. What they didn't do — oddly — was show us what the thing looked like. Sony never showed off the PS4 console itself, which was...an odd choice. The design is almost certainly near final; they'd really only be able to make very minor tweaks so close to launch. But for whatever reason — wanting to save something for E3, maybe? — they didn't show it, which has disappointed many gamers and pundits (considering how much Sony was hyping this reveal).

Luckily, they did show plenty of games. From Sony's own studios, we have Killzone: Shadowfall and inFamous: Second Son, which both look predictably gorgeous (especially Killzone, which has long been Sony's graphical showpiece) as well as predictably...predictable. They also announced two new IPs, which are more interesting. The first is Knack. It's a platformer adventure in which you play as a robot, named...Knack, that can add parts on the fly and grow, and interact with the environment in interesting ways. It's directed by Mark Cerny, who is actually the lead architect of the PS4 hardware, and he described it thusly:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Cerny
The result is gameplay which is a little bit like Crash Bandicoot, and a little bit like Katamari Damacy, in that the Knack can get quite large indeed. [...] There’s also a touch of God of War in there, in that there is an epic feel to the game in places.
Sony also announced Driveclub, a racing game from their Evolution (MotorStorm) studio, which serves as a more arcadey counterpoint to Sony's flagship "real driving simulation" Gran Turismo. They also announced a bunch of partnerships with third parties. Diablo III is coming to PS3 and PS4; Bungie's new epic series, Destiny, is coming to PS3 and PS4 with "exclusive content;" and on the indie side of things, the new game from Jonathan Blow (Braid) , The Witness, is launching on PS4 exclusively, at least as far as consoles go. (It's sort of like a prettier, full-motion Myst.) There's also all the games that were announced before but couldn't officially be announced as next-gen, even though we knew they were, like Ubisoft's Watch_Dogs. And Square announced they would...announce a new Final Fantasy for the PS4, at E3 in June.

All in all, I'm impressed, though puzzled and a bit disappointed we didn't get to see the actual console. (Also, I was hoping for a spiffy new logo. But nope — it's the PS3 logo, just with a 4 instead of a 3.) Pretty much all the new stuff was leaked, but we were only expecting 4GB of memory, so 8GB is a pleasant surprise.

No price was announced, but I'm quite sure it's going to be $399.
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drewprops
Magnificent Basturd™
sagacious-d
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Atlanta
 
2013-02-21, 00:06

Woah! The Share concept is pretty fricking awesome! (and I don't even really play games)


...
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Wrao
Yarp
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Road Warrior
 
2013-02-21, 02:16

Remember when the Wii was announced and people raged about the motion control gimmick only to have Sony, in the eleventh hour, toss in the whole SIXAXIS thing for the PS3, to which the nerds received it as "And now Playstation has motion control too so the Wii is just that much stupider!!"

Feels like history repeating with the Wii U's screenmote and now the PS4 having a kind of half-assed screen addition to their controller that is safe and hedging its bets like the sixaxis did.

The difference, though, is that I think Sony might actually be right this time, but somewhat unintentionally. With the Wii, you needed a wand + nun-chuk configuration to make motion controls really make sense, particularly for pointing(which was arguably the marquee 'motion' control of the Wii anyway), but in the case of having a display built into the controller, the Wii U winds up in this weird spot with how big the controller is as well as the whole screen sharing thing where it ends up becoming your primary focus in a weird way. Meanwhile, having a small Vita-esque screen on a controller like the PS4 can still provide a bunch of the novelty usage (item switching, mini maps whatever) but the focus is still firmly on what is happening on the TV.


But yes, Sony might really be onto something with the whole game streaming and sharing concept. It's obviously contingent on bandwidth and whatever but assuming it works smoothly, that has a ton of potential. My interest in gaming has waned over the years but all of my friends who are still into it recreationally watch game streams live or recorded, it's become a pretty huge area of interest for 'gamers' and all it will take is PS4 to get a few 'competitive' titles or mario-esque challenge titles and I think people will really like that sharing stuff.


As to Sony not showing the console itself, I mean, Nintendo didn't really show the Wii U console either when they debuted it and I think it's fair to say that it's kind of become a little irrelevant by now. The PS3 was one of the biggest and clumsiest systems to date and it still sold well and people were fine with it in their rooms, similar with the Xbox 360, and while I personally think consoles should be as minimal and low footprint as possible, the realities of getting this much performance out of them just doesn't work with that, so for Sony it's just probably not that big of a deal, and I think realistically, they're probably right, most 'gamers' really don't care about that sort of thing.
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Brad
Selfish Heathen
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Zone of Pain
 
2013-02-21, 09:10

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wrao View Post
Feels like history repeating with the Wii U's screenmote and now the PS4 having a kind of half-assed screen addition to their controller that is safe and hedging its bets like the sixaxis did.



Meanwhile, having a small Vita-esque screen on a controller like the PS4 can still provide a bunch of the novelty usage (item switching, mini maps whatever) but the focus is still firmly on what is happening on the TV.
It's not a display screen on the PS4 controller. It's just a blank touchpad like a notebook computer has.
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Luca
ಠ_ರೃ
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Minnesota
 
2013-02-21, 09:22

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wrao View Post
Remember when the Wii was announced and people raged about the motion control gimmick only to have Sony, in the eleventh hour, toss in the whole SIXAXIS thing for the PS3, to which the nerds received it as "And now Playstation has motion control too so the Wii is just that much stupider!!"
I don't remember that. What I do remember was people rightly saying that Sony was doing a half-assed copycat of a Wii feature. "Serious" gamers don't care about motion control and prefer it to be relegated to kiddie systems like the Wii.
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Foj
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Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Atlanta
 
2013-02-21, 10:22

It will probably be awhile before I get one. I still have a big backlog of 'current' games to finish.
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Mugge
Thunderbolt, fuck yeah!
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Denmark
 
2013-02-21, 15:02

This is probably the most sensible design Sony could have chosen after all those weird architectures in the PS 2 & 3, they finally went with something developer friendly like x86. I suppose that's what follows when Sony no longer thinks if itself as the undisputed leader in the console market. Though, I'm a bit curious about how much heat that SoC will put out. Even if AMD can bake it all into one chip, the thermal output may still be quite a lot.
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Wrao
Yarp
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Road Warrior
 
2013-02-21, 15:25

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad View Post
It's not a display screen on the PS4 controller. It's just a blank touchpad like a notebook computer has.
Oh weird, could have sworn I read somewhere that it was like a condensed vita screen. As I said, I haven't been keeping too close of attention to this announcement.
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tomoe
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Join Date: Nov 2006
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2013-02-21, 15:51

Kinda stoked about the reshaping of the analog sticks and triggers from convex to concave...that's something I've always disliked about Sony's gamepads.
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dmegatool
Custom User Title
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: At home
 
2013-02-22, 22:49

I used a little add-on on my dualshock 3 to make the triggers concave and it felt so comfortable. Nice to finally see them go that way.

Dave Mustaine :"God created whammy bars for people who don't know how to solo."
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El Gallo
Formerly “MumboJumbo”
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
 
2013-02-23, 10:11

Maybe it's just me but this felt like a pure FUD announcement. Sony was last out of the gate last gen. Nintendo has released their console and I suspect when Microsoft announces a bit later this year it will be a full announcement with prices, ship dates and maybe even letting you see the actual console.

Sony basically showed a lot of movies of game footage and made promises.

In my opinion most consoles are screwed this generation. Nintendo is the only one interested in any sort of backward compatibility of both games or accessories. My going with a PC platform, they are basically saying go get a PC which at current pricing makes much more sense.

I suspect the PS4 will start at a minimum of $450. The new controllers will be a minimum of $60 each. Sony declared the new games will remain at $60 but of course everyone is now adding DLC for additional cost on many games. You are basically buying half the game for $60 and the extra "features" for another $25-40.

The model isn't sustainable. It's a dinosaur. Tablets and smartphones will kill it on the lower end and PC's will kill it on the higher end. People were able to stomach the prices last gen because a high end desktop gaming PC was well over a $1000 if done right and the consoles were largely moving to HD including blue-ray in the case of Sony.

Now, you can easily build/buy a desktop PC that will beat the specs for $500 and you can play any generation of PC games you want. On the low end the costs are a third or less of the consoles, you can play multiplayer via WIFI together and the games are $1-$5 each. Finally, even though the graphical jumps are supposed to be amazing, I don't think the typical layperson will be able to appreciate them. It feels like how Blue-ray has been caught between upconverting DVD players and streaming.
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dmegatool
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Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: At home
 
2013-02-23, 12:31

Pretty much. Personally, I'm going PC this year. I already started to play some game on my new MBP... feels good. With Big Picture and more and more games that support the controller, it's awesome.

The 500$ PC that will "beat the specs" is pretty optimistic. Sure you'll be able to play a lot of games but certainly not maxed out current gen or even max the last year of games. But yeah, it got a lot cheaper. I did a preliminary build it comes at 1200$ and it's a beast. So you can get away cheaper. I guess around 750$-800$ would be a sweet spot where you can play much of current games at decent levels.

The price of games are also to consider. With Steam sales and all you can get a lot for your money. If you just save 10-15$ per games, with let say 20 games per console generation, which is not that much, you can save up to 300$... and that's conservative.

Dave Mustaine :"God created whammy bars for people who don't know how to solo."
  quote
Axl
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Ca na da
 
2013-02-23, 21:15

I would've done it this way:
  • Shrink the PS3 down to the old Mac mini size with optical drive.
  • Include the new controller and eye camera with the bundle.
  • Upgrade the HD to SSD, upgrade RAM, upgrade the OS… bring back Linux as an optional install.
  • Divert the money from PS4 development to some great game exclusives.
  • Price it at 99$
  • Fun marketing: "Back to the roots" by focusing on games, bringing back the "u r not e" campaign. Figure out how to slap "PSX" branding on it.

From anecdotal evidence (and myself personally), interest in consoles has waned. Just like what Wrao was saying. The graphics on the PS3 are just fine; all they need are some innovative and fun games!

450$ for a new console is just outrageous at this point.
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Wrao
Yarp
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Road Warrior
 
2013-02-23, 21:30

It's a funny thing with graphics that I don't know if anybody really predicted 5 or 6 years ago. Most of the history of consoles every major release has essentially doubled performance and it has been such a dramatic shift to go from 8-bit to 16-bit to 32-bit to blocky 3D games and now to smooth 3D games. But there is a problem there. You get to a threshold where suddenly you're still functioning in the same basic parameters as the last generation only everything is smoother/more detailed/more eye candy but the actual game aspect is largely unchanged from a mechanical and gameplay standpoint. It's not that the even higher-res graphics aren't welcome, it's always sweet to see "enthusiast" level graphics and to see games that are actively trying to push the envelope with millions of rendered trees and clouds and things like that, but I think we're in this awkward point where we kind of need something breakthrough and revolutionary to occur for consoles to really make sense again.

I have no clue what that is, and maybe I'm being hypercritical, it really is incredible that the level of in-game graphics has basically exceeded what pre-rendered cutscenes looked like 6 years ago, and even approaches an eery sort of photorealism at times, but it's almost like we've reached the ceiling of what polygons are going to do for us with regards to playing games, and maybe it will take some completely left-field, innovative, revolutionary, unheard of approach to really drive life into them again. Basically just have to leap over the uncanny valley somehow and find a way to make games actually feel lifelike, which might not be for another 10+ years, maybe that's impossible, but otherwise I think we're bound to see people getting a little fatigued by "It's 25% smoother than before!" type improvements.
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Wrao
Yarp
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Road Warrior
 
2013-02-23, 21:54

Another component to all of this is where the SteamBox will fit into everything. Obviously it is not an easy task, but I think Valve's long-term goal is to bring something resembling the PC gaming experience to your big screen TV and if they manage to get anywhere with that then the place for specialized consoles diminishes that much more, particularly as the PS4 is running X86 architecture and essentially a Radeon 7670 graphics. X360 and PS3 were already veering into "PC-like" territory, and their successors only seem to be pushing that much closer, so what happens when a company like Valve who has all the consumer faith and goodwill in the world of gaming(not a small feat considering how fickle Gamers can be) makes a push for the living room space coming from a PC gaming background trying to make it more console-esque?

Just seems like kind of a clusterfuck at that point, and one where I just kind of want to wash my hands of entirely and get back to playing Mario Kart.
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Eugene
careful with axes
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Hillsborough, CA
 
2013-02-24, 04:15

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wrao View Post
X360 and PS3 were already veering into "PC-like" territory, and their successors only seem to be pushing that much closer, so what happens when a company like Valve who has all the consumer faith and goodwill in the world of gaming(not a small feat considering how fickle Gamers can be) makes a push for the living room space coming from a PC gaming background trying to make it more console-esque?
For a while many living rooms will have a PS4, next-gen XBox and a Steambox then. People do buy consoles just for the right to play exclusive titles. That's what made the original Wii a pretty-ok proposition, it was cheap enough that many people were open to setting it down alongside either a PS3 or XBox 360. And eventually both those systems became cheap enough to pick up and complete the trio...
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Yontsey
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Join Date: Apr 2005
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2013-07-15, 21:22

I broke down and pre-ordered myself a PS4, extra controller, The Order: 1886, Fifa 14, and COD: Ghosts. Pretty excited. I felt like the PS4 was a better machine for gaming, whereas the Xbox One was trying to be an all around living room media experience, which I didn't want from them.

Die young and save yourself....
@yontsey
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Yontsey
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2013-08-20, 22:29

Kind of surprised to see no one posted that Sony announced the launch date of November 15th.
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