Following on from their initial unveil in February, Sony have pulled back the curtain on the Playstation 4 (PS4) even further at this year’s E3 event in Los Angeles. Though Microsoft had the jump on Sony in terms of revealing the look of their new console, it was certainly Sony who pulled the first punch back in February, showcasing the Playstation 4’s new controller, the Dual Shock 4, the PS4 Eye, and a handful of gorgeous looking games.
The PS4, pictured above, will be available ‘this holiday season’ (read: November) at a price of £349 ($399/€399). The console is not as big as the original 3 by all accounts, it’s certainly a sleek looking thing which harks back to the design of the PS2, mixed in with the PS3 slim. If i’m being 100% honest though, I think the Xbox One looks a bit more ‘premium’, but hey, that could change once I get to see one up close. There has been a bit of debate about what you actually get in the box for your £349, well, to confirm, your money get’s you the console itself (phew), an HDMI cable (seriously, who is going to use an SD TV with this?), power lead (duh), USB cable (‘natch), mono headset (for trash talkin’ yo) and a Dual Shock 4 (shiny). The console will not ship with the Playstation Camera (that seems to be what Sony are calling it), which has come as a surprise to many who thought Sony where going to go the Microsoft route, this goes part way to explaining the cheaper price. This is also a a rather obvious indicator that unlike its more expensive green clad brother from another mother, the console will not require the camera to work (or well, to be fair, function as intended).
Should you be that way inclined, you can pick up a Playstation Camera for a not unreasonable £44, and I suspect many retails will bundle the camera as an accessory with the console if you throw down a little extra cash. You can also pick up a Dualshock 4 for £54 should you want an additional one.
The Dualshock 4 was unveiled in some detail last February but Sony have shed a bit more light on the peripherel at E3. The light bar on the front will match the colour of your in game character during multiplayer games, the console itself will also track the controllers position (not sure how, maybe you need the camera, maybe it’s part of the motion sensors inside) and during split scren games, re-arrange the screen to match player positions, a nifty, if a little gimmicky feature. It also contains a built in speaker, which seems to me like it will be used similiarly to that of the Wii Remote, not a bad thing. There’s also a headphone jack, which will be great for plugging in some surround sound headphones should you own them. I assume this will also be the same jack used for the mono headset.
Last generation, unlike the Xbox 360, the PS3 did not come with a headset, this was a bit of a mixed bag. On the one hand it meant you had to go buy a bluetooth headset and use that, which meant you likely wern’t going to be talking much crap after spending the money (i’m looking at you 12 year olds on Xbox Live), on the other, it meant spending extra money. Sony have looked to rectify this by bundling a headset in with the console. This should definitely encourage a better online experience (something lacking on the PS3 in my honest opinion) with everyone being able to participate. It does leave the door open to what i’m calling ‘Xbox Live Fucktard Syndrome’, but hopefully Sony can introduce some kind of de-merit system for those who abuse.
Let’s take a look at what’s under the PS4’s strangely shiny hood. The main processor is a single-chip custom processor, the CPU is an x86-64 AMD “Jaguar” with 8 cores and the GPU is as follows ‘1.84 TFLOPS with AMD next-generation Radeo based graphics. The console used 8GB of DDR5 RAM (read: quick!) and comes with a sizeable 500GB hard drive, no word from Sony yet on whether this can be swapped out for a bigger one like the PS3. The 6 speed Blu-Ray Drive is also a lot quicker than the PS3’s. Does any of this mean anything to you? Nope, me neither, but from looking at the games, we can tell they’re going to look good and run speedily. This processor power will also allow games to be paused and resumed at any time with no loading, meaning you can leave your console, come back later, resume your game and pick up exactly where you left off. A great feature that i’m sure will help many, especially if it holds up during a power cut. The excess of RAM will also allow for a lot of multitasking, a welcome relief given the inability to do more than one thing at a time on the PS3.
So all this is great. The console itself isn’t ugly, the specs stack up, you don’t need to flail your arms like an idiot to control it, and you don’t need to talk to it like it’s your dystopian overlord and you are it’s gracious man servent, grateful for any speck of entertainment it throws your precious little way. All this would mean little if it didn’t have the games to back it up. A lot of flack was sent Microsoft’s way for not unveiling any games last month at it’s Xbox One presentation, they’ve since rectified that with their very own E3 presentation (you can read our thoughts soon). Sony unveiled a lot of PS4 games back in February, so they used their E3 presentation to show off some new footage from them games, as well as some nice new games.
In terms of games already shown, one of the most anticipated has to be inFamous: Second Son. Developed by Sucker Punch and published by Sony themselves this really is one of the flagship PS4 exclusives. Though details are still thin on the ground, we know the game will feature a new protaganist called Delsin Rowe and that it is set 7 years after the events of inFamous 2. Unlike previous inFamous games, Second Son will have a real world setting, namely Seattle and the plot will revolve around the government using it’s big brother powers a bit too much and our main character learning to use his newly found conduit obtained abilities. You can view the trailer above, it certainly looks great. inFamous: Second Son is set for a 2014 release.
Sony also showed off Killzone: Shadow Fall, another sequel in the Playstation’s omnipresent Killzone series. Shadow Fall was first shown back in February with an actual gameplay demo and it looks great. I have to admit, I only ever played the first Killzone and I thought it was great up until I discovered Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. Hopefully with Call of Duty: Ghosts also likely to be a launch title, Shadow Fall won’t get overlooked but I’m not so sure. It looks great that’s for sure and I’m sure it’s gameplay will more than hold up against that of ‘Ghosts’.
Now, Sony also had a couple of great surprises up their sleeves. In February, Square Enix teased they’d have something to announce at the PS4 E3 event, and they definitely delivered by revealing Final Fantasy XV. Whilst everyone assumed this was in development, I don’t think many expected it to be shown this year, nor be as far along as it looks. Gameplay wise it looks like they’re going a similar direction to XIII by removing the oh-so-annoying random encounters and going for a more direct combat system, this is a great way to go for the franchise and from the looks of the trailer, it’s running like butter. Graphically it looks gorgeous, but when isn’t a Final Fantasy?
Another nice surprise was the reveal of Kingdom Hearts 3. I have another confession, I’ve never played a Kingdom Hearts game. From watching the trailer though I think i’ll probably end up checking it out, it looks fun and whilst some people have commented on the graphics not looking particularly great I think it’s important to bear in mind that this is early footage and the Kingdom Hearts series has an untraditional look to it anyway.
This was by no means a comprehensive list of the games coming out for the PS4, but Sony have promised that within the console’s first year, at least 20 Sony published titles will be released, with another 10 currently in the pipeline. There’s also some great 3rd party games in the sight too, including the much vaunted Watch_Dogs from Ubisoft, along with Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, also from Ubisoft. Blizzard are also set to release Diablo III and the hotly anticipated Elder Scrolls Online from Bethesda is also due on the console.
With all these game announcements one could be forgiven for almost skipping one of the hottest subjects of this new console cycle; DRM (Digital Rights Management). Microsoft have pissed a lot of people off with their plans for the Xbox One (read more about that in our Xbox One round up), and a lot of Playstation fans were hoping Sony had something to counter the fears that the same fate would befall the PS4. Thankfully, they did.
Of course that video was made with Sony’s tongue planted firmly inside it’s cheek, but it did the job. It was a big middle finger to Microsoft and Playstation fans couldn’t be happier. This is how gaming should be; open. If I want to lend my property to a friend, I should be able to do that, and I’m thankful Sony see it that way too. There’s also been no mention (correct me if I’m wrong) of having to connect to the internet at least once a day, nor will all your games be tied to one account.
So that’s my PS4 round-up. I’ve tried to include as much information as possible. I’ve sourced this information from many places and none of it is news if you read/watched Sony’s E3 2013 press conference but hopefully it has been helpful having all this information in one place. There’s going to be a lot more coming over the next few months so keep your eyes peeled! Sony have really done a number on Microsoft with their E3 showing, there’s still a lot of negativity and uncertainty around the Microsoft camp at the moment, and when you’re talking about a product with an initial layout of going on £500 (when you chuck in a game or two), this is definitely not a good thing. I have no doubt what so ever that the Xbox One will sell a lot, and their user base will be massive, but will it be as big as the Playstation 4’s install base? Something is telling me Sony have the upper hand here.
Be sure to check out our round-up of Xbox One content coming soon!