The lack of a console at last night's PlayStation 4 launch in New York left many people surprised, and not a little disappointed (the only new piece of hardware on display was a control pad – see above – while an unveiling now looks likely to take place in June).
Sony didn't even reveal the price tag (although we do know the console will go on sale in the run-up to Christmas). But during the two-hour presentation, the company did share a fair bit of information about what the PS4 is and what it will do...
It’ll be Social
Sony intends to revolutionise social gaming with its new console. Players will be encouraged to create Facebook style profiles to personalise their experience and they’ll have the opportunity to livestream themselves playing games.
The emphasis on social gaming hasn't been met with unanimous praise, however. Charlie Brooker lamented on Twitter: "It's going to force you to communicate with a bunch of smiley c***s when all you want to do is sit indoors alone playing, isn't it?" and technology reveiewer Stuart Ashen said: "All I want to know about the PS4 social features is how to turn them off."
Internally, the PS4 will resemble a top-of-the-range gaming PC, and Sony has decided to replace its cell processor with standard x86 processing architecture. This means it’ll be easier to develop games for the PS4 and allow the makers of PC titles to port their titles over to the new system.
Sony also announced that the PS4 will boast an instant on/off feature, which will allow players to shut down during a game and boot up right where they left off seconds later.
It’s not backwards compatible
Sadly, Sony’s change in processing technology means that you won’t be able to play your old PS1, PS2 and PS3 games on the new console. While the company plans to make titles from its previous consoles available on PS4 at a later date, and possibly even port new games to tablet devices, you won’t be able to make use of your existing library of games at launch.
It’s compatible with PlayStation Vita
The PS4 will allow players to wirelessly stream games directly to Sony’s hand-held console, the PlayStation Vita, and the company said that there will be similar synergy between “all Sony devices,” such as Xperia handsets and tablets and Bravia TVs.
It’ll support home entertainment
As is the case with PlayStation 3, the PS4 will be able to play both Blu-ray discs and DVDs.
It’ll be able to see you
The new console will boast a new feature called the PlayStation 4 Eye, a camera system which will behave in a similar fashion to XBox’s Kinect and will be able cut out the image of a player from their surroundings and differentiate between players in the background and foreground. Sony also hinted at using facial recognition, vocal commands and body movements to make PS4 gameplay more intuitive.
It uses a traditional control pad
Sony’s DualShock 4 looks very much like previous DualShock pads, but will boast upgraded vibrations, enhanced motion sensors and a touchpad on its front.
It’s got some serious support
More than 60 games companies will produce titles for the PS4, including Halo’s original developers Bungie and World of Warcraft’s makers Blizzard. Games announced last night were:
Deep Down (Capcom)
Diablo 3 (Blizzard Entertainment)
Driveclub (Evolution Studios)
Infamous: Second Son (Sucker Punch Productions)
Killzone: Shadow Fall (Guerilla Games)
Knack (SCE Japan Studio)
The Witness (Jonathan Blow)
A new Final Fantasy title (Square Enix)
Watch Dogs (Ubisoft Montreal)
Untitled sculpting game (Media Molecule)
Here’s a graphic displayed at the event which includes the logos of all the game developers who’ll be producing titles for PS4:
Finally, here’s a video from Sony outlining the development of the PS4 and the company’s vision for the console: