Sony’s PlayStation Meeting 2013 brings us the PS4
A much-hyped media event by Sony has — to the surprise of nobody — officially confirmed the existence of the PlayStation 4. Those of you with lives, sleep schedules, jobs, school, mad sexcapades or uppity house cats may have missed the grotesquely lengthy announcement. Hey, maybe you were even playing video games instead. Whatever the reason, we’ve collated the worthwhile and the ridiculous pieces of information on this new hotness.
The new console was announced very early on in the piece, showing that a talent for business isn’t equal to a talent for drama. Set to launch in the holiday season, the PlayStation 4 will have a disturbingly ample 8GB of memory, use the X86 CPU and have two teraflops of computational performance. ‘Teraflops’ always sounds like something that requires 1.21 gigawatts and 88 miles per hour to me, an assessment only lent more veracity by lead system architect Mark Cerny’s assurances the device will be like a “supercharged” PC. So the PS4 is confirmed to be over 9,000.
Simple, Immediate, Social, Integrated and Personalized are the so-called pillars of the console, backed up by a strong focus on the social aspects of gaming. You’ll be able to suspend and resume play sessions, play games while they’re still downloading and upload videos of your play with minimal effort.
The Dual Shock 4 was revealed, sort of, unless you saw the millions of reposts of that prototype image last week. It looks almost exactly like that, with a touch screen in the middle, concave analog sticks and a microphone and speaker arrangement. There’s a blue bar across the top which identifies players and adds move functionality in conjunction with a new design for the PlayStation Eye. It now looks like a very stylish nightstick. A share button on the front of the controller will allow people to broadcast their play instantly via Ustream or upload videos to Facebook.
Moving slightly closer to actual video games, CEO of Gaikai, David Perry, explained that they will be integrating spectating and even the ability to take over a friend’s game remotely with their permission. A bone of hope was tossed to lonely PS Vita players as well, with word that PS4 games will be able to be streamed directly to the handheld via remote play. It was also noted that older PlayStation games will be made available on the PS4 via the cloud, which seems like a decent compromise considering past problems with Sony’s on-again, off-again approach to backwards compatibility.
Six days and 37 hours into the conference, games were discussed. Knack is an action game where you appear to play a little robot that can become very big and be adorable. One of the first games Sony pulled out to hype their brand new console experience — the ushering in of a new generation of innovative play — was… well it was Killzone: Shadow Fall. After a long, but pretty, walking sequence with architectural water slides coming off the sides of office buildings, something exploded and then there was shooting with guns. Those who are into that sort of thing were heard to remark “boy, this sure does look like Killzone“. I agree. Right after that we got something called Drive Club from Evolution Studios, described by a man who may well have had an electric self-pleasure device in his pants. Very detailed footage of cars was shown off and the audience were told how detailed they were. It appears to be a team-based, socially-oriented racing game so accurately modeled that you’ll actually believe you’re pretending to sit in a fake car.
inFamous: Second Son was shown off via a pretty but confusing cinematic, and will reportedly happen long after the Cole McGrath saga. Capcom pushed something called Deep Down which looks rather like a very fancy Dragon’s Dogma. Jonathan Blow presented his island-exploring puzzle game, The Witness, and tried to break his own record for time spent badmouthing other video games in a presentation. Square Enix showed an old trailer and announced the announcement of a future announcement — something Final Fantasy related will be at E3. Thanks guys. Ubisoft’s smart phone criminal mastermind simulator, Watch_Dogs, had a brand new gameplay video to show off, which included a lot of scanning of random civilians, hacking traffic lights, a bizarre electronic crime psychic application and a daring escape on the roof of a train.
Destiny — that strange new project by Bungie — was also shown, with 10-15 seconds of gun reloading and running followed by an awkward collection of men.
My personal highlight was a short presentation by Media Molecule, the creative minds behind Little Big Planet. While not showing off a game per se, they did talk about breaking free from the limitations of graphics and controllers and presented a bizarre and fascinating 3D sculpture system that uses the PlayStation Move. They showed the software allowing people to sculpt simple and complex forms in real time, and talked about being able to share and use these creations to make sprawling levels. Then there was a fully sculpted band which proceeded with rocking out hard.
Like I mentioned earlier, the PS4 is set to appear around Generic Winter Holiday Period this year. No pricing information was forthcoming, and the console design itself still remains a mystery wrapped in a riddle. The next generation of consoles seems to be stampeding towards us no matter what. Around 60 developers have been confirmed as on board to make titles for the PS4, so expect a lot of trailers and PR in the near future.