The announcement of the PS4 didn’t come as a surprise to many people in the gaming industry, but the hardware and specs that were mentioned certainly did.
Now that the reveal is over and everyone has had time to digest the information, Sony took a few moments at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, to discuss a few more details about the highly anticipated machine.
Work on the new console began back in 2008 according to an interview at Gamasutra. While we were buying tickets to ‘The Dark Knight’, ‘Iron Man’ and being disappointed with the new Indiana Jones film; Sony was getting things started. There are some impressive improvements with the new console and all of them center around speed, development flexibility or new gameplay functions.
On the speed front there is the improved Blu-ray drive, offering a 300% improvement over the old drive included in the PS3. The design of the PS4 may seem like an arbitrary point, since function and hardware are the most important factors, but that hasn’t stopped fans from being curious. The final PS4 design will be unveiled at E3 2013 this year. Inside the shell will be 8GB of high-speed RAM accompanied by the 8-core CPU. Sony’s biggest improvement for the PS4 comes with the company reaching out to developers. Programing games for the PS3 was renowned for how difficult and foreign it was when compared to other platforms. Sony’s new dev-tools will resemble Windows 7 development. This will make designing, improving and releasing games much easier for everyone involved.
Outside of the console the new Dualshock controller was a big hit with the unveiling, and Sony brought a few along for everyone to test out. With tighter analog-sticks, better sensitivity and a large LED at the top of the controller for Eye camera tracking; there is little that hasn’t been redesigned. It’s still unclear how developers will incorporate the new motion-controls with their games, though the ability to work with new gameplay functions will most likely spark creative innovations within the gaming community. The new touchscreen, share button and LED tracking were all detailed during the debut announcement and are still an exciting opportunity for fans and devs. After the conclusion of the GDC (which ends Friday) we wil be hoping that more developers walk away with a better understanding of how they can incorporate all of these new inputs into their future games.
Sony announced a few indie-games that will be coming to the new console, as well as a partnership with Unity Technologies to bring Unity tool for all Playstation platforms. These new tools also includes working with Sony’s future cloud services. Also announced was the new version of the PhyreEngine game-development framework (this version will be PhyreEngine 3.5) that is already going out to developers and publishers.
Until then all eyes will be on E3 2013, where Microsoft is expected to reveal their next console. It will be at that time that we will have a reference point, and be able to compare the competition for the next genration of platforms.