Sony PlayStation 4 Now Official

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Sony PlayStation 4The Sony PlayStation 4 is official. Sony has announced, but did not physically show off, its next-generation console at its “See the Future” event in New York.

The PlayStation 4 technical specs include a “supercharged PC architecture,” an AMD X86 processor (confirming previous PS4 rumors), unified PC GPU, “massive’ hard drive, and 8GB of unified “high-speed” memory. The CPU has 8 CPU cores for nearly 2 teraflops of performance. The PS4 will feature a low-power mode for a sleep-like state with the press of a power button that then enables a quick autosave, allowing for swift start and the end of lengthy boot-up times, according to Sony.

The new PlayStation 4 controller will be dubbed the DualShock 4. As the rumors and leaks suggested, its looks similar to the last-generation DualShock, though it will now feature a touchpad, light bar, and 3D camera for controller tracking and personalization. Other features include a headphone jack, and share button for broadcasting gameplay. Sony also claims through “share,” spectators will be able to view, comment, interact with, and actually play friends’ games, presumably through virtualization.

TechnologyGuide was in New York for the big PlayStation 4 event, and while Sony certainly made plenty of news, the evening may be more notable for what was not shown… the actual PlayStation 4.

Virtual, Social

On the social note, Sony has partnered with Ustream and Facebook for the PS4, and users will be able to watch friends play games in real time, and post comments through the networks. There will also be a PS4 companion app to view content.  The social element will include use of the players’ real names, and Sony claimed it would be “seeded” from current social networks.

The “share” feature could also be exploited by game developers, who could enable viewers to alter the gameplay being shared. For example, spectators could be empowered to alter maps or distribute powerups during a first-person shooter death match.

PlayStation 4 users will be able to play downloaded games as they actually download, and the PS4 allows for background downloads and video uploads (essentially, gameplay vids) thanks to a dedicated chip. Sony even claimed it would like to reduce download times by learning user likes and dislikes to the point Sony knows what games users will like before the users do. This knowledge of user preferences will also be used to customize the PS4 interface. Users will also be able to instantly try out downloaded titles from the PlayStation 4, likely through virtualization technology. However, Sony reps did not detail this particular feature. PS4 users will also be instantly notified when friends buy titles from the PlayStation 4, and users will be able to “share” titles they like with others for free trials, likely through the same virtualization technology.

The PlayStation 4 virtualization will be powered by Gaikai, a game-streaming company similar to OnLive Sony acquired in 2012. It will enable PS4 users to stream playable games over the internet, and use remote play through the PS Vita, Sony’s latest handheld. Essentially, through remote play, users will be able to stream PS4 titles to the Vita, and play the full game on the handheld.

TechnologyGuide sister site DesktopReview has more details on Gaikai and Sony virtualization.

No Native PS3 Game Support

The PlayStation 4 will not support PS3 games natively, meaning users won’t be able to put PS3 disks in the PS4. Though Gaikai reps claimed they are looking at cloud and “advanced technologies” to enable access to PS3 games on the PS4 and other devices. Details are scant, and it’s likely only a limited selection of PS3 games will be accessible on the PS4 at launch. Sony later tweeted that the service will be expanded to also include PS1 and PS2 games.

This will be part of the Sony “everything everywhere” vision for PlayStation, which has been greenlit by the company, but is being built and will roll out in phases. Sony reps promised more details in the future.

Details Coming

Sony announced that the PlayStation 4 will be available for the 2013 holiday season, but declined to offer further details. Sony is likely saving those details for E3 in the summer, where it might also literally show off the console.

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