Tighe: Sony officially announces PlayStation 4 console

Tighe explores details of Sony’s next generation console.

Samantha Tighe

Samantha TigheSony officially came clean and announced its next generation console, the PlayStation 4.

It’s a big move, especially for the gaming market, and now all sights are set toward the future. Undoubtedly Microsoft will come forth within the coming weeks to announce the next Xbox successor – which is rumored to be called Xbox 720 – and Nintendo, of course, came out with  Wii U in November of last year.

What Sony has opted to do is release information about  PlayStation 4 in fragments, and in doing so, the rampant rumors that have been flying around for months about the console are now systematically being sanctioned or put to rest.

First things first – let’s talk facts. The Feb. 20 announcement was from Sony. It’s been circulating for months that the name for this new console was going to be “Orbis.”

It’s not – it’s going to be  PlayStation 4.

During the New York press conference, a video was shown that displayed some of the graphics and gaming engines PlayStation 4 is going to be capable of. Not once did it reveal what the console actually looks like. It’s being said that the big reveal should be coming up within the next few weeks, since the console is still in its final stages of development and has not been finalized.

The rampant rumors that have been flying around for months about the console are now systematically being sanctioned or put to rest.

What was shown, however, was the new DualShock 4 controller. Sony and PlayStation fans have probably already seen it – images were already making their way across the Internet. The functions of the controller were not demonstrated, it was pretty much just brandished during the conference, but it has been redesigned. What is most striking about the new controller is the touchscreen in the center of it. The ‘start’ and ‘select’ buttons are now missing – only one button designated as “options.” There is also a “share” button.

One of the newest features of PlayStation 4, and console gaming as a whole, is the ability for players to record and share videos of their gameplay with friends and family. It’s been a semi-popular theme among PC gamers, especially for games like “World of Warcraft” and “League of Legions,” to stream live feeds of gameplay. This trend hasn’t fully made the jump to the consoles since it’s much more of a hassle to set up a live feed.

There’s also an audio jack for headsets in the controller itself, and it will be paired with a camera/sensor bar that has the ability to track the positioning and distance of the controller.

PlayStation 4 will also have a “sleep” ability, much like the PlayStation Vita. While playing a game, it can be put in a pause-like state and essentially exited out, and, upon return, the player will be able to resume right where he or she left off.

Games for the next console have already been publicized. “Watch Dogs” is slated to be a launch title, as will “Killzone: Shadow Fall.” Blizzard is also working on a “Diablo III” console remake, though it is expected to release after PlayStation 4.

As for used games, their fate is still up in air. Shuhei Yoshida, the president of Sony’s Worldwide Studios, told Eurogamer that yes – the new PlayStation will be able to play used games. Unfortunately, Yoshida backtracked a few days later, saying although the Sony won’t limit the used game market, gaming companies may be given the ability to decide whether their games can be purchased used.

Another issue that arises with PlayStation 4 is backward compatibility. For the most part, each of the Sony consoles has had the capacity to play games from its predecessor. It makes upgrading your system a whole lot easier when PlayStation 3 can play your entire collection of PlayStation 2 games.

The improved graphics of PlayStation 4 come at a price – the microprocessor architecture of PS4 is receiving an upgrade, moving away from Cell Architecture and, instead, adapting x86-64, which has been found mostly in computers.

What this means is that PS4 will not be able to read PS3 games. It’s become a new system, to put it in simpler terms.

Although there has been some chatter about utilizing a way for players to access emulators, when PlayStation 4 releases it’s going to have a very limited gaming catalog. We’ll just have to wait to see how and if it affects sales.

PlayStation 4 has yet to be given a precise release date, but it should be coming out sometime toward the end of the year before the holiday season. There’s not a listed price either.

It looks like Sony is raising the bar with some of the features within PlayStation 4 and is making gaming a lot more social, but we’ll just have to wait and see. I’m going to have to see a lot more games before I even consider investing in a new console.

Samantha Tighe can be reached at samantha.tighe@temple.edu.

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