On Wednesday February the 20th, Sony held a 2 hour press conference that had been teased for weeks. Many gamers had been hyped about the event, all speculating many different outcomes, most were inclined to believe it was the reveal of the Playstation 4. While some felt it was a bit early in the year to announce a new console, some felt this was the most logical outcome.
With these suspicions in tow, many waves of the press (myself not included) crowded into the hall and waited eagerly for the festivities to begin. The time passed with idle chit chat and seemed to be the calmest press event in a long time. When the lights dimmed, music began to play signaling the beginning of the event.
Across the enormous screens above the center stage flashed a video in which showed us all the history of the Sony Playstation, from the original Sony PS1/PSX commercials and other adverts showcasing many of Sony’s finest works that I had ever seen. From the live action Crash Bandiccot commercials in which they Orange hero calls out Mario in terms of branding. Showing the gamers playing PS1, PS2, and PS3 games on the respective consoles as well as text flashed upon the screen that held some very deep messages. One line included “Imagination is the one weapon in the war against reality” and “Playstation wants to win the war on reality.”
A lot of what flashed on the screen within these three minutes didn’t have too much audio from the games themselves minus the ones on the PS3 and a few of the commercials (see the Crash commercial built above.)
This was definitely something that had been prepared for a while, as the clips and messages all were fixed together so well, which some could say flawlessly.
Once finished, the announcer calls on the stage Andrew House, one of the biggest names and people on the Playstation team. He began by welcoming everyone and then just as quickly started talking about the event, saying they would be changing the way Playstation handles the gamer ecosystem, going so far as to saying “The Living room is no longer the center of the gamer ecosystem, the player is.” He then announced the next step in gaming, the long awaited PS4
I wont go into great detail as this event was just over 2 hours long and I would have 15 pages at least so I will give you the run down of what was announced.
Hardware was talked about first, though sadly no screenshots of the console itself were shown nor was the design even mentioned at all through the press conference.
With Sony/Playstation stepping up their game, here is what they are bringing to us:
A Supercharged PC Architecture
Enhanced PC GPU
8 GB Of unified memory
and Local Storage HDD
Now some of this maybe a bit confusing for those of you who don’t know you tech, so let me break it down for you.
This console is an evolved powerhouse in which almost mirrors a nicely built PC, it will run smooth, handle simple tasks and even multiple tasks without any slow down and also gives the developers the best possible processing power to create worlds in which they had always wanted to and with the new tech are even told they can now go further.
What does that mean for you, the gamer?
The gaming experience will be supremely enhanced far beyond what it has been able to and will possibly give us more freedom and flexibility in games in not only environment but also game-play as well. I could just imagine an Uncharted title on the PS4 being one of the biggest adventures ever played through.
They event also made mention of how when designing the console, back in the early days of the PS3, they felt the need of simplicity be integrated in such a way that it was simple for the player to use. In my opinion the controller are easy enough to use, but I suppose with the new controller, the Dual Shock 4, the added bonus of a touch screen, a share button, and colored sensor bar of sorts might just make things easier for us. Check out the picture of the new controller while I move on to the next subject.
Another thing mentioned when designing the PS4 was immediacy, the want of the player getting their content immediately. Which is where the suspend and resume game feature comes in, allowing you to suspend or resume game-play with the press of the power button. Game boot up time as well as loading saved games will practically be eliminated with this feature, as the console will enter a low power mode, so that with another press of the power button, you resume from the exact spot you stopped at before. Downloads will be now handled by it’s own processing chip, so you may play other games or movies in the background with no slow down from the download. The real kicker on these downloads though is they are instantly playable even while downloading. You download a fraction of the game and continue playing while the rest of the content is being downloaded in the background. A good idea if I ever heard one.
Social is a concept in which the designers focused on as well in the development phase. Shown was a screen that looked similar to the Xbox Box Live main menu only it looked to be a game title selections screen, we a few other games available (see below). The main focus was the seamless streaming or sharing of game-play to friends, like one would do on Halo, but now console to console on all games. You can even spectate your friends playing a game, leave comments for them, and even taking over their controller and helping them when needed. You can even browse live game-play of others as it happens, which makes for something very unique in terms of what we’ve been able to do before.
The PS4 Friends Network Looks a little like this:
Alias and online Names will be kept for online multiplayer, we like to be unknown during these segments of play, but the main network focus will be all about you. That’s right, all your real world info, that you choose to share with normal social networking sites will serve as your friends network info. Just like a Facebook or Twitter, but this time around you get to showcase your trophy collection.
This feature will not only be accessible on the PS4, but also the Vita, and through other 3rd party items such as smartphones and tablets and maybe PCs that will have apps that allow you access while on the go. It will even allow you to communicate with PS4 friends or allow you to stream live video of those around you.
Personalization is a big element in the design of this console, the console pretty much learns who you are and reacts accordingly, from interactions from friends, the games you like, games you don’t. Eventually you will find new content pre-loaded (not pre-purchased) on your console based on what the PS4 predicts you would like with the information you have provided when it comes to games you have played or videos you have watched. The console pretty much wants to design an experience all for you, the customized gamer. It just wont be a generic experience any longer.
Sure it scares me to know my console will be following my decisions, makes me paranoid for when the robots rebel but I do find it very interesting to see the prediction matrix and what games it will possibly recommend.
The Playstation network is being overhauled from what it was before. One of the biggest features that will be changing is that all games, Downloadable, will all have demos, not even just basic level type demo but the game itself. You only pay for what you want. This was definitely surprising, allowing for all games to be tried, making more titles open to you.
The network is also going overly social, attaching such social networks as Facebook and Ustream. All the actions you do on the PS4 and some of the information from the PS3 will carry over, showcasing your previous trophies, but will share with your friends all your activities.
The network also announced remote play will be used between the PS4 and PSVita. Remote play was coined by the WIIU and the game pad but Playstation is bringing this tech to the PS4 and takes it a step further allowing you to take that epic battle with you on the road. You are not limited to console connectivity anymore, you are now given freedom to game anywhere and everywhere.
That is a staple the team has been focusing on as they also want to introduce a cloud storage of games in which they someday hope to see PS1, PS2, and PS3 streamed to not only the PS4 but to all mobile devices. Loading any game from where ever you are and being able to play it with no issues makes for an exciting prospect for not only Playstation but for gamers all over the world.
This is the future of gaming folks! We have many surprises ahead of us at E3 I’m sure, but this information alone was enough to get me pumped for the next Playstation. There were a few titles announced at the event as well, but I will hold off on that for another article where I can better dissect them in depth.
Tell me what you guys think of the future of gaming! I want to hear it, like this blog and post a comment or follow me at @jtheprodigy on twitter and tweet me your response.
I have some Aliens Colonial Marines Swag to giveaway this Friday, all you have to do is go check out this video here and just follow the instructions in the video for your chance to win.