Sony has unveiled the next version of its next popular gaming console, the PlayStation 4, which it plans to release in time for the 2013 holiday season.
At a press conference on Wednesday evening in New York City, the company showcased the system's new graphics and controllers, but stopped short of revealing the system's casing. The system includes new social gaming features and mobile integration, all of which are a major update to Sony's PlayStation 3, which was introduced seven years ago.
"Today marks a moment of truth and a bold step forward for PlayStation as a company," Andrew House, president and Group CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment, said at the event. "Today we will give you a glimpse into the future of play."
Second and Third Devices
The living room is no longer the "center of PlayStation ecosystem," according to Sony -- it's now a mobile world. Nintendo's Wii U and Microsoft's Xbox also embraced a similar theme last year. The Wii U even ships with a new tablet-like controller called the GamePad, which lets you stream the game and play it away from the TV and right on the controller.
With the PlayStation 4, Sony will be taking its existing portable gaming device -- the PS Vita -- and applying a similar concept. The Vita will work in conjunction with the new console and function as a controller. Sony, which makes its own line of Xperia Android phones and tablets, also announced plans to integrate tablets and phones into the social gaming experience.
While Sony didn't show the actual gaming console or hardware off at the event, it did showcase the forthcoming system's graphics prowess. Powered by an eight-core x86 processor and 8GB of RAM, Sony showcased "Driveclub" to display the level of detail that the PlayStation 4 is capable of. With "microscopic metallic flakes of paint" and car seat interiors with fibers that reflected tiny points of light, the system promises next-generation and unmatched graphics. Another demo showed a million objects being dropped at once as well as a "Killzone: Shadow Fall" battle that spanned a huge, moving city.
At the event, game developers made claims that PlayStation 4 has had a "quantum leap in graphics and AI" leaving them now only limited by their imaginations.
The Wii U took an early stab at building a social network within a home console with its Mii-verse of game chatter and doodles, but PlayStation 4 will go a step further and feature "enhanced social capabilities" made possible through partnerships with Facebook and UStream. In a bid to become the "fastest most powerful gaming network in the world," Sony will be putting social media at the core of PS4 experiences, giving gamers the ability to share live streams of their gameplay online with the press of a button. In fact, the new DualShock controller will have a dedicated button just for sharing content to social media.
The DualShock 4 Controller
PlayStation's "iconic" controller won't be changing much in shape and size, but more bells and whistles have been added. The aforementioned share button, a colored light bar to give each player a little flare, and a sensor that will allow the PS4's Kinect-like camera depth-and-motion sensor to read where the player is, have all been added to the enhanced controller. Sony didn't detail how the camera will be used in games.
As mentioned, the company did leave out key details, including what the actual box that will be sitting beneath TV sets will look like, or pricing details.
"As far as the system itself we have to keep something new for later," Shuhei Yoshida, President of Sony's Worldwide Studios explained the move in an interview with Kotaku. "Otherwise you'd get bored."