Today at a gaming event in New York City, Sony announced the PlayStation 4. Sony’s Andy House says that it is the ‘most powerful platform ever’.
“The living room is no longer the center of the PlayStation universe, the gamer is,” says House. “Every facet of PlayStation will continue to become more powerful…and remains at the heart of everything we create.”
Sony’s Mark Cerny then took the stage to talk about the upgraded console and how the PlayStation ecosystem could be integrated into other platforms like the Vita, as well as smartphones and tablets. He spoke about the way that all of the consoles before have been a ‘single purpose’ device.
“The need to radically customize technology can interfere with the innovation necessary ” to develop a platform like PlayStation, says Cerny. He also spoke about the importance of developers, and how Sony reached out to them to create a ‘platform by game creators, for game creators’. This speaks to the way that Sony altered the architecture of the PS4.
The machine runs on standard PC hardware. An x86 processor similar to those used in many windows machines, a standard (though customized) graphics processor and GDDR5 memory. The 8-core processor and GPU are unified, providing 170GPBS bandwidth.
The new system uses a DualShock 4 controller with a touchpad, share button, lightbar and headphone jack. The lightbar mates with a camera system on the PS4 that allows the console to track the depth (distance away) of the player.
There is background uploading and downloading, allowing the game to update items in the background even if the main power is off. Digital titles can even be played while they are being downloaded. This is a huge upgrade over the PS3 which was famous for its lame handling of system updates which set game play back by tens of minutes every time you fired up the console while it updates.
This is enabled by a secondary processor that allows for background work while the main processor is handling gameplay.
The new PlayStation 4 is also highly focused on offering social experiences. You’ll be able to stream your play sessions to allow input, including your friends taking over control to help you out with a rough patch, for instance. You can also quickly share video clips to friends and the PS network.