Playstation 4 Announced: Details And Reaction

ps4-hero-logoSony held an event today to announce the future of the Playstation. It didn’t take long to figure out that the Playstation 4 was a big part of that announcement. But how much will be revealed? Will the Vita fit into their plans? How about the Move? Will any games be revealed? Here is a rundown of the event, with key reveals like specs and games in bold:

6:00 PM: Don’t worry guys, this announcement is rated E for everyone.

6:01: LAAAAAAAG

6:02: Big ol’ montage of PlayStation’s history over the last twenty years from commercials to games and such to rock opera music before introducing Playstation president Andrew House who says that today’s announcement is a big risk and unifies all of their technology.  The gamer is labeled as the focal point of the efforts, with mobility and sharing a priority.

6:06: The Vita is mentioned as being powerful enough to enhance the home experience, with more being revealed about that idea later this year (already teasing announcements for later in the year at this big announcement).

6:08: The Playstation 4 is announced and is officially called the Playstion 4. 

6:11 Mark Cerny, lead architect is introduced to talk about what improvements can be made on the current technology. Devices are now expected to do more than just play games now. The goals of the system are to erase the separation between the games and the player, as well as doing what the developers wanted for it. Developers has a big part in what specs the PS4 will have. X86 CPU, enhanced PC GPU, 8GB unified memory and a local storage HDD. Basically it’s a powerful piece of hardware.

6:18: The reveal of the Dualshock 4! It looks exactly like the leaked photo. Rumble and controller latency has been adjusted.  A touch pad and share button are added, as well as a light bar which links to a camera set up for move capabilities. It’s not setting the world on fire, but it’s a controller. It doesn’t need to reinvent the wheel.

6:19: Brief demo of rendered footage with the camera being moved with the touchpad. System memory will use GDDR 5.

6:20: Cerny reveals his own title. It centers around a robot that can gather multiple objects to take different forms. It is called Knack, and it does a good job showing the capability of the system to handle multiple objects. Not sure how fun it is to play, but it’s unique.

6:23: The PS4 will be able to load a game from being powered off in seconds. Game and system updates are all done in the background, while you can play other games.

6:25: PS4 user interface is revealed. Hitting share on the controller goes through your last few minutes of gameplay. You can share these videos as easily as you would share screenshots now. You can watch what other people are playing even if you don’t have that game. If someone you know is having trouble, you can take control of that person online. Gamer ID’s will still be used, but a facebook type of integration will be used. Tablet and smartphone capabilities are also added, to check status’ and messages. The system will read your habits and downloads much like TIVO. Games will be pre-loaded for you to try based on previous activity.

6:29: LAAAAAAAAAAAG

6:30: David Perry, CEO of Gaikai introduced to talk about the new Playstation Network. He aims to create the fastest network for gaming. When your friends purchase a new game, you will know about it. Games can be played instantly from the store with a single button touch. You can try any game for free, buying only the games you love. Facebook and USTREAM have been adapted into the PSN and PS4. The aim is to create a social gaming network that means something.

6:33: Spectating is emphasized, with the “share” button streaming your game live, with your friends being able to watch and comment as you play. Players online can also take over your controller and assist. Friends and developers can leave items for you in game, and USTREAM sessions can be scheduled to stream your game session on the internet.

6:35: Remote play is a feature that will make the PS Vita an integral part of the system. Essentially the Vita will become what the new Wii U controller is. You can  transfer any game from the PS4, onto the Vita if someone else needs the TV. 

6:38: Technology is being developed to put games from any device, from PS1 to PS3 and Vita, into the cloud and available on the PS4. The cloud services will be revealed in phases, with this just being the earliest options for it.

6:40: A clip of game developers talking about how they were contacted to help design a system that works for them. Considering how much developers complained about the PS3, this is probably a good thing. They mention how you can start a new game right away, before the rest of the game loads. 

6:45: Michael Denny from Worldwide Studios comes out bring out Michael Miller Gorilla Games. He announces Killzone: Shadow Fall and it looks absolutely fantastic. Water and glass looks amazing from a distance. The sun sets detailed shadows around the world, with multiple npc’s that react to your movements. After some peaceful meandering a bomb goes off in slow motion, showing the details of the system. We come back to see fire and some FPS gameplay. It’s all seamless, with no cut scenes. Very impressive stuff. The details on even little things like rope, the size of the game world and how quickly you can go through that world is amazing. At the end of the demo, the share button was used on the controller, putting the video straight to Killzone’s facebook page.

6:56: Matt Southern of Evolution Studios introduced a team based racing game called Drive Club. You and friends can play among thousands of other players into races. You can send challenges through tablets and cars are being recreated with 100% parameters. A first-person view is shown with the driver checking the engine before stepping into the car and driving it. The details are very fine and the cars have a beautiful shine to them. There are 3 on 3 club challenges teased before the video ends.

7:03: Sucker Punch reveals InFamous: Second Son. It is a long cut scene featuring a new protagonist in a very good looking action sequence. No gameplay though.

7:10: Jonathan Blow, creator of Braid, introduced The Witness. An open world PS4 exclusive with various destinations and themes. It is a puzzle game which promises to have no filler. The demo reel has you go through various backdrops, from beaches to forests, castles and more. It looks very innovative, although not as visually appealing as the other games so far. The puzzles appear to have a very large scope though and the world is huge.

7:15: Technology previously reserved for feature films is displayed on the system. The PS4 is capable of characters using 30,000 polygons. Heavy Rain for example used 150,000.

7:20: Media Molecule (Little Big Planet) talks about the potential of the Playstation Move on the PS4. They started by showing a tech demo where the Move controller is a sculpting tool. It shows statues being created in real time and it’s very cool stuff. It is a beginners program for 3D sculpting, and can also develop game levels. A sample is shown of a fully rendered video made with the PS4, displayed as it was made in real time. It featured people controlling characters freely, grabbing instruments and playing them in the game. I’m not about to believe that what they showed was as easy as they make it look, but it was still cool. No actual game was announced with this technology.

7:27: Virtually every third party company will support the PS4. (That can’t surprise anyone)

7:28: Yoshinori Ono from Capcom comes out to first say he is not talking about Street Fighter. They go through their history with Sony starting with Resident Evil on the PS One. For the Playstation 4, a new engine called Panta Rhei has been developed to take full advantage of the system. They sample the engine with a game called Deep Down (working title). It is a medieval adventure, showing characters going through dingy caves and fighting fire breathing dragons. Dungy has never looked better, and some small portions of gameplay were shown. Afterwords, a clip of Blanka sending a Metal Gear style SOS message was sent. So that’s something worth keeping an eye on. They will reveal more for the PS4 this year.

7:35: Yoshihisha Hashimoto of Square Enix shows off a demo of their work. Shinji Hashimoto announces that a new Final Fantasy title will be announced at E3.

7:42: Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot unveils a game titled Watch Dogs. They expand on the E3 demo, showing that everything, including people, is controllable. A new demo is shown off, with yet another visually stunning game world. Set place in Chicago, the player goes through the city, identifying people through his cell phone. It looks similar to Heavy Rain. The player breaks up a crime and chases the criminal through the world. It’s high speed and fluid. As the cops come in on him, the player can trigger traps electronically like barriers and stop trains to use as a means of escape. It all appears to be done with a single button as you go. Very cool.

7:50: Chris Metzen from Blizzard makes his first console announcement. They have entered a partnership with Sony to “take over the world.” Diablo 3 is coming to the Playstation 4 as well as the PS3. The PS4 version has full screen four player coop. Only some stills were shown, but the game will formally be debuted at PAX East.

8:00: Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg says that Bungie will be working with Sony to bring Destiny to the PS4 and PS3. It is a new FSP that is in development. Very little was shown, but think Halo. It provides an online experience, and there will be exclusive Playstation content. This is a huge win for Sony, as the XBOX has practically made its living off Halo.

8:03: The presentation ends with a montage of the footage shown, and the message that the Playstation 4 will be available this holiday season.

Much more games and footage was revealed than I ever thought. Sony came on really strong and it looks fantastic. When I says “looks” I am referring only to the games because the actual console was not shown. Will it be a beast like the original PS3 or a small like the Wii? No idea. I’m also not sure about the touchscreen controller, or how the promises of instant play from the on button will come to fruition. The most notable thing that was not revealed (unless it happened during all the lag time) was price. Rumored around $450-$600, it can’t go anywhere above that if it wants to open well.

I may have to wait a year before I can afford it, but I definitely want one.

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2 thoughts on “Playstation 4 Announced: Details And Reaction”

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