Yesterday evening, at a press conference in New York, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. introduced its next generation computer entertainment system called the PlayStation4 (PS4), which will be available this holiday season. The new gaming system promises to redefine gameplay with powerful graphics and speed, intelligent personalization, deeply integrated social capabilities, and innovative second-screen features. Together with the PlayStationNetwork and cloud technology, the PS4 offers an expansive gaming ecosystem that is centered on gamers, enabling them to play when, where and how they want.
The PS4 system architecture was designed from the ground up and is centered around a powerful custom chip that contains eight x86-64 cores and a state of the art graphics processor. The Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) has been enhanced in a number of ways, principally to allow for easier use of the GPU for general purpose computing (GPGPU) such as physics simulation. The GPU contains a unified array of 18 compute units, which collectively generate 1.84 Teraflops of processing power that can freely be applied to graphics, simulation tasks, or some mixture of the two. The PS4 is equipped with 8 GB of unified system memory, easing game creation and increasing the richness of content achievable on the platform. GDDR5 is used for this memory, giving the system 176 GB/second of bandwidth and providing a further boost to graphics performance. The end result for gamers is new games with rich, high-fidelity graphics and deeply immersive experiences that shatter expectations. Sony showed what the new PlayStation4 controller looks like, but the console itself was not revealed.
Shared Game Experiences
The PS4 provides dedicated, “always on” video compression and decompression systems that enables seamless uploading of gameplay, which allows players to share their epic triumphs with the press of a button. Gamers can simply hit the “SHARE button” on the controller, scan through the last few minutes of gameplay, tag it and return to the game—the video uploads as the gamer plays. Gamers can share their images and videos to their friends on social networking services such as Facebook. The PS4 also enhances social spectating by enabling gamers to broadcast their gameplay in real-time to friends using live internet streaming services such as Ustream. During live broadcasts, friends can make comments on the streamed gameplay and, if a gamer gets stuck on a challenging level, friends can also join the game in completely new ways. For example, friends can offer health potions or special weapons when a player needs them most during actual gameplay. Furthermore, users can connect their Facebook account with Sony Entertainment Network account. Through the PS4, users are able to deepen their connections through co-op play or “cross-game chat”.
PS4 Second Screens
The PS4 integrates second screens, including PlayStationVita (PS Vita), smartphones and tablets, to wrap gamers in their favorite content wherever they are. A key feature enabled by second screens is “Remote Play” and the PS4 fully unlocks its potential by making the PS Vita the ultimate companion device. With the PS Vita, gamers will be able to seamlessly pull PS4 titles from their living room TVs and play them on the PS Vita’s 5-inch display and intuitive dual analog sticks over Wi-Fi networks. It is SCEI’s long-term vision is to make most PS4 titles playable on the PS Vita. A new app called “PlayStationApp” will enable iPhone, iPad, and Android based smartphones and tablets to become second screens. Once installed on these devices, users can, for example, see maps on their second screens when playing an adventure game, purchase PS4 games while away from home and download it directly to the console at home, or remotely watch other gamers playing on their devices.
PS4 radically reduces the lag time between players and their content. PS4 features “suspend mode” which keeps the system in a low power state while preserving the game session. The time it takes today to boot a console and load a saved game will be a thing of the past. With the PS4, gamers just hit the power button again and are promptly back playing the game at the exact point where they left off. Additionally, users can boot a variety of applications including a web browser when playing a game on PS4. PS4 also enables games to be downloaded or updated in the background, or even in stand-by mode. The system takes it one step further by making digital titles playable as they are being downloaded. When a player purchases a game, PS4 downloads just a fraction of the data so gamers can start playing immediately, and the rest is downloaded in the background during actual gameplay.
Gaming in the Cloud
By combining PlayStation Network with Gaikai Inc’s cloud technology, it is SCE’s goal to make free exploration possible for various games. In the future, when a gamer sees a title of interest in PlayStation Store, they can immediately start playing a portion of the actual game — not a stripped down version of the game. With Gaikai and PlayStation Store, gamers will be able to experience appealing games and only pay for the games they actually love.
During the press event, Sony revealed a number of PS4 game titles that will be available around the launch time. The major titles will include first-person shooter Destiny from Bungie (the guys who created Halo), Killzone Shadow Fall, Diablo III and a new Final Fantasy. These games will be joined by creative efforts such as Knack, a game directed by the PlayStation 4’s lead architect, Mark Cerny, Watch Dogs from Ubisoft, and Driveclub, which aims to bring team-based racing to new levels. PS4 owners can also expect exclusives such as InFamous: Second Son and The Witness.
For more info, please visit www.playstation.com