Sony Formally Announces PlayStation 4, Proclaims the Most Powerful Game Console Ever [UPDATED]

Sony’s PlayStation Enters Its Third Decade with the Fourth-Generation Console and New Approach to Gaming

by Anton Shilov
02/20/2013 | 03:18 PM

Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. on Wednesday formally introduced its next-generation PlayStation 4 video game console. As expected, the fourth-generation system will hit the market later this year to lead the PlayStation into its third decade. The new console promises to reimagine the video games with a set of new technologies, features and gaming network never-before-seen by the industry.

 

“Our vision for the future is consumer-centric, developer-inspired, and characterized by an unwavering commitment to phenomenal play experiences. Today we are revealing the genesis of an expanding ‘idea’ about the future of play – an idea with enough potential to satisfy the insatiable appetites of our creative community of developers and gamers,” said Andrew House, president and group CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment.

Early during the presentation Sony confirmed general technical specifications that have been discussed recently (it appears that almost everything about the PlayStation 4 technology has been leaked well-ahead of the formal introduction). The new console is based on AMD Fusion system-on-chip with multi-core x86 microprocessor (eight-core AMD Jaguar), PC-derivative graphics processing unit (custom AMD Radeon HD core with unified array of 18 AMD GCN-like compute units [1152 stream processors], which collectively generate 1.84TFLOPS of computer power that can freely be applied to graphics, simulation tasks, or some mixture of the two), various special-purpose hardware blocks as well as multi-channel memory controller.

The PS4 will come with 8GB of unified GDDR5 memory sub-system (with 176GB/s bandwidth) for both CPU and GPU as well as large-capacity hard disk drive. Sony PS4 will be equipped with Blu-ray disc drive capable of reading BDs at 6x and DVDs at 8x speeds, USB 3.0 connectivity in addition to a proprietary aux port, Gigabit Ethernet port, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1 EDR wireless technology as well as HDMI, optical and analog outputs. The new system will also utilize new DualShock 4 game controller with integrated touchpad as well as better motion sensing thanks to new tracking cameras.

Due to to considerably improved graphics and processing horsepower of the PlayStation 4, game developers will be able to design titles with dramatically improved graphics that will get a huge step closer to photorealistic graphics seen in movies. Owing to multi-core microprocessor with decent performance, software makers are now also able to reproduce accurate physics effects and realistic movements of characters to further bring visual appeal of video games closer to that of movies.


Screenshot from Killzone: Shadow Fall by WWS Guerrilla Games

Sony said that it has worked hard to make the PlayStation 4 platform easy to develop new games for. Numerous creators at the event show said they are extremely enthusiastic about the future of the PlayStation platform. Tens of game designers from all around the world, including big names like 2K, Activision, Blizzard(!), Capcom, Electronic Arts, Konami, Sega, Square Enix, and Ubisoft will support the PlayStation 4 with their titles, loads of which will be available in the launch window (November ’13 – March ‘14).

As expected, the forthcoming PlayStation 4 will be tightly integrated with Gaikai cloud gaming services. Since the PS4 will not have native compatibility with the previous-generation PlayStation games, it will use cloud technologies to stream those titles to the new console. The system will also sport improved cross-platform game-play capabilities that will allow PS Vita and PS4 to better work together. For example, the PlayStation 4 will support remote play on PlayStation Vita out-of-the-box.

At the “See the Future” event Sony also announced plans to stream video games originally developed for PlayStation, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation mobile consoles to different devices using PlayStation Cloud services powered by Gaikai. Sony’s vision it to enable PlayStation games on PCs, tablets and smartphones.


Screenshot from Driveclub game from WWS Evolution Studios

 

Sony also showcased the first titles that will be developed for the PlayStation 4 and its advanced hardware and networking capabilities. The Killzone: Shadow Fall and DriveClub games look like advanced PC titles that exist today; although some compromises in terms of graphics are visible, the geometry models and lighting look extremely realistic. New games by Square Enix and Ubisoft for the PlayStation 4 will sport very rich and big interactive worlds in addition to just realistic graphics, something that will make the next generation of games different from the existing titles. 

SCE will announce new details of PS4 and its robust lineup of games from 3rd party developers and publishers, the independent gaming community and SCE Worldwide Studios, as well as further enhancements to the entire PlayStation ecosystem between now and the holiday 2013 launch. 

“The arrival of PS4 is a critical initiative that presents an enormous opportunity to dramatically evolve the game play experience into something far grander than ever imagined. From enhanced social capabilities to intensified power to realizing bigger, better, and more immersive game play, to the evolution of our ecosystem to meet the requirements for a simpler, more adaptive interface, we believe PS4 proves we have more to offer than ever before,” concluded Mr. House.


Screenshot from an unannouced title by Square Enix