The PlayStation 4 Revealed – We Are Ready
By Mark Fritts
PlayStation fan or not, it’s good to be able to say that the next generation is right around the corner. On Wednesday February 20, Sony Computer Entertainment revealed their plans for the future of gaming – the Playstation 4.
While we did not actually get to see the system physically, Mark Cerny, lead architect on Sony’s next console, did reveal some major specifications.
The PS4 will sport an 8-core 64-bit x86 central processing unit (CPU) developed by AMD. The graphics processing unit (GPU) will be a part of AMD’s new Radeon series, which will likely be announced in the coming months. It will also hold 8GB of unified GDDR5 random access memory (RAM). What does all that mean? Needless to say, it will run well and look good.
A large portion of the event was dedicated to sharing a few features that would satisfy any social network junky.
With a focus on social integration in every facet of the gaming experience, Sony seems to have innovative plans, including a “share” button built into the newly designed PS4 controller. This will allow instantaneous uploads of your gaming experiences, photos, thoughts, and much more. Just imagine getting a sick quick-scope on some unsuspecting foe, and being able to share that with all your friends in a matter of seconds.
Sony Unveils Next-Gen PlayStation, PS4
As expected, Sony today unveiled the PlayStation 4, which executives said represents a shift from thinking of the PlayStation as a simply "a box or console" to simply the best place to play games.
"PlayStation 4 will unleash imaginations to create next-gen experiences that surpass gamers' wildest expectations, while also allowing developers to explore other business models," Andrew House, president and Group CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment, said during a launch event in New York City. The PS4 is "founded on a conviction that we must give gamers the kind of multi-dimensional experiences they expect and observe."
The PS4 runs an x86 processor, as well as an enhanced PC GPU. It will have 8GB of high-speed unified memory, as well as system memory backed by local storage.
The new system will come with a revamped controller, known as the DualShock 4. PS4 architect Mark Cerny said Sony has enhanced the feel of the joystick and the trigger button, which provides a "much tighter sense of control over in-game actions." The company also enhanced the rumble capabilities and reduced controller latency.
Rumor: Sony to Unveil Game Streaming Capabilities on PlayStation 4
Let the rumors continue! With the impending (likely) announcement of Sony's new PlayStation console but a few days away, a new report from the Wall Street Journal suggests that Sony will also be unveiling new streaming capabilities for the device this coming Wednesday.
Specifically, unknown sources have suggested that Sony's PlayStation 4 will be able to stream games via players' Internet connections. It's thought that the service will focus on Sony's library of PlayStation 3 titles, which could be a way for Sony to address issues of backwards compatibility without having to specifically configure the hardware of its upcoming console to support such a move.
Since the PlayStation 4 – as of the last batch of rumors – is likely to run an AMD-based chip instead of the PS3's Cell microprocessor, it's been presumed that backwards compatibility might be a bit of an issue (if not an impossibility) for those looking to play PS3 games on Sony's to-be-announced console. These issues have also been hinted at by game developers as of just a few days ago.
"An important thing to remember is that next-gen consoles will most likely not be backwards compatible," said Electronic Arts CFO Blake Jorgensen in a Q&A at this weeks' Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference.
Sony Teases Feb. 20 PlayStation Event
Sony on Thursday revealed plans for a special PlayStation-themed event on Feb. 20 in New York, fueling speculation that the company is gearing up to unveil its next-generation video game console.
In a post on the PlayStation blog, the Japanese electronics giant invited fans to "see the future." A 45-second teaser video included in the post didn't give away any details, but simply displayed a rendering of the iconic PlayStation controller symbols before fading into the console's logo and the announcement date.
Various tech news sites speculate that Sony plans to launch the successor to its current PlayStation 3 system during this month's mysterious event. Rumors about the so-called PlayStation 4 console have been circulating since 2011, when Sony reportedly began production on the system.
Sony is encouraging PlayStation fans to sign up on its website to be the first to know about the announcement. The company also suggests that users tweet about the Feb. 20 event using the hashtag #PlayStation2013.
In a surprise September announcement, Sony unveiled a redesigned PlayStation 3 just in time for the holiday season. The new PS3 Super Slim is half the size of the original, with larger hard drive options.
Sony Launches Web-Based PlayStation Store
The Sony Entertainment Network online store is now open to gamers in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and Brazil.
The move means gamers can now purchase content on the Web as well on their console. Sony began testing the store in Europe last month, and expanded availability this week, now offering the option to browse with a keyboard and mouse, instead of just a game controller.
The store offers a selection of games, add-ons, movies, TV shows and other PlayStation 3, PSP, and PS Vita content for download or purchase.
To access the new online marketplace, sign into the store with a Sony Entertainment Network or PlayStation Network username and password. All purchases will be added to the "My Downloads" section in the virtual store on the various PlayStation consoles.
According to Sony, players can look forward to more features coming to the store, including automatic remote downloads, in the future.
"Following the redesign of the PlayStation Store, the new online store offers similar filter and sorting features — making it easier than ever to find what you're looking for and discover new digital content," store director Grace Chen wrote in a blog post.
Rumor: Sony Integrating Biometrics, Touchscreen in PS4 Controller
Gamers worldwide have spent the past sixteen years or so fiddling around with what amounts to the same PlayStation controller – that's Sony's DualShock, or the traditional dual-analog stick design that comes with those four, geometrically labeled buttons and four bumpers to squeeze.
Once the PlayStation 4 hits shelves, however, these very gamers might be surprised to find that Sony's done a bit of an upgrade to their traditional controllers.
According to a new report from the UK's Computer and Video Games, or "CVG" for short, new versions of a controller are allegedly being tested for Sony's next console iteration. And these designs are going to be a bit of a departure from the ol' familiar DualShock.
The actual controller itself hasn't been finalized, announced, or even leaked, so we're just reporting on possibilities at this point. However, it's rumored that Sony's working to possibly integrate biometric feedback into its controller. And, to borrow a page from Nintendo's Wii U, Sony might additionally (or separately) slap an LCD touchscreen onto the new version of its controllers – whatever they end up being called.
The biometric bits would come within the grips of the controllers themselves, whereas the LCD touchscreen would likely sit right in the center of the controller.
‘Classic White’ Sony PlayStation 3 Bundle Coming Jan. 27
Home décor-savvy gamers rejoice: Sony today announced the addition of the Classic White PlayStation 3 bundle, available in the U.S. and Canada on Jan. 27.
For the first time, players can match their entertainment system to their entertainment center, or simply brighten up a bedroom with the stark white console and matching controllers.
"PlayStation continues to stand for gamers, and as such, we're excited to give PlayStation fans in North America what they've been asking for — a colored PS3 and access to a library of PS3 games for them to download and play instantly," Sony's vice president of platforms marketing, John Koller, said in a statement.
Video Game Sales Drop Despite Wii U, Black Ops 2 Launches
The video game industry faced another tough month in November, despite the launch of Nintendo's Wii U console, and blockbuster titles like Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 and Halo 4, according to The NPD Group.
Total video game sales fell 11 percent from $2.87 billion in Nov. 2011 to $2.55 billion last month, the research firm said in a new report. New hardware sales saw the steepest declines, falling 13 percent to $838.9 million, while software sales fell 11 percent to $1.43 billion, and accessory sales declined 8 percent to $280.9 million. These figures only include sales of new video game products, not digital, used, or rental game sales.
November marked the twelfth straight month video game sales have declined, but there are signs the industry is looking up.
"November had the smallest year-over-year decrease we have seen for dollar and unit sales so far this year," The NPD Group's industry analyst, Liam Callahan, said in a statement. "This is a sign of momentum going into the December holiday period."
He added that it's important to compare last month's results to Nov. 2005, which was the last time the industry began to transition between console generations with the launch of a new platform. Compared to sales figures seen in Nov. 2005, last month's results were nearly double.
PS3 Is Most Popular Netflix Streaming Device
Netflix and Sony announced today that the PlayStation 3 is now the most popular Netflix streaming device.
"PS3 is our largest TV-connected platform in terms of Netflix viewing, and this year, at times, even surpassed the PC in hours of Netflix enjoyment to become our No. 1 platform overall," Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said in a statement.
Hastings touted the ability to update the Netflix app with new features on a daily basis, as well as the ability for users to sign up for Netflix directly from the PS3.
Netflix started streaming content to the PS3 in late 2009. Initially, users had to insert a special disc into the console in order to access Netflix Watch Instantly, but Sony fixed that by Oct. 2010. Earlier this year, Netflix was added to the PlayStation Vita, allowing users to start watching something on the handheld and pick up on the PS3.
Sony and Netflix did not elaborate on exactly how many hours streaming customers are consuming versus other devices. Netflix is also available on the Nintendo Wii and Xbox 360, as well as a variety of Blu-ray players, HDTVs, streaming media players, home theater systems, phones, and tablets.
Rumor: Sony’s Next PlayStation Coming in 2013, Will Limit Used Games
The successor to Sony's PlayStation 3 is code named Orbis and it's coming in time for the holidays next year, according to a report from gaming site Kotaku.
The next-generation game console won't be play PS3 games, Kotaku reported Friday, citing unnamed sources. And, as is also rumored with Microsoft's follow-up to the Xbox 360, Sony is working on a way to make its next console either reject used games or possibly limit their playability unless buyers of a pre-owned game "pay a fee to unlock/register the full game."
The Xbox 360's successor, reportedly code named Durango, is also expected to arrive towards the end of 2013. Given the way rumors are shaping up about specs and features for the next-gen consoles from Microsoft and Sony, and the fact that Nintendo's Wii U will already have been on the market for a year, we could be headed for quite the battle for gamers' hearts, minds, and dollars in the second half of next year.
Nintendo's follow-up to the Wii is scheduled for a late 2012 release and it'll come with a controller that has a touch screen. Microsoft's next console is also rumored to have a touch screen controller , so it will be interesting to see how Sony responds if both of its chief rivals go that route.