MarkCerny
Mark Cerny, Lead Architect on the PS4

Well, Sony had their big PlayStation Meetup on Twitch.tv earlier this evening, and we have to say that it didn’t really impress us. Though they did show off several games, it was disappointing that we didn’t get a look at the PS4 itself. Sony also remained quiet about the launch price, and the best we got in terms of a release date was “Holiday 2013”. What we did see were some system specs, pictures of the new DualShock 4 controller, information about new social aspects of the PS4, and announcements that were both trollish and a little confusing.

PS4_SpecsFirst up, let’s go over those system specs, which make the PS4 sound pretty much like a really powerful desktop gaming rig:

  • 8-core x86 CPU
  • 8 GB of GDDR5 internal memory
  • 1.84 terraflop ATI Radeon GPU
  • 6x Blu-ray drive
  • Bluetooth 2.1

To go along with the new console, Sony released information about their camera system that is reminiscent of the Kinect. According to the demo for Master Sculptor, the camera can be used in conjunction with PlayStation Move controllers for more finely tuned control.For those who prefer a more traditional playing method, the DualShock 4 controller looks like a DualShock 3 with a touchscreen added to the front. (Sounds like the PS4 is ripe for a Touch My Katamari port, no?)  The DualShock 4 also has a new “share” button added which can be used to create short gameplay videos and upload them without having to leave the game you’re in. The videos you upload can be linked to Facebook for quick sharing with friends and pages.

Speaking of friends, one of the more interesting social features of the PS4 is the fact that you can call a friend for help while playing a game. The PS4 offers a social system that allows gamers to cross-game chat (finally) with the added bonus that you can recruit a helping hand (or not, if you’re that kind of friend).

PS4 Controller and Camera

While it doesn’t seem that the PS4 is backwards compatible, you can theoretically play previous generation titles thanks to Gaikai’s cloud service. Their goal of “Everything Everywhere” is not just limited to the PS4, as they want to offer cloud service to play games on PS Vita, as well. In other semi-exciting Vita news, you’ll also be able to play any PS4 game on the handheld device, as long as it doesn’t require that camera we mentioned earlier.

As far as actual games go, here’s the list of titles that were announced for the PS4. None of these have release dates yet, but several companies took to the stage to show them off.

  • Knack (Sony)
  • Killzone: Shadowfall (Guerilla Games)
  • DriveClub (Evolution Studios)
  • Infamous: Second Son (Sucker Punch)
  • The Witness (Jonathan Blow)
  • Master Sculptor (Media Molecule)
  • Deep Down (Capcom)
  • Watch Dogs (Ubisoft)
  • Destiny (Bungie)

In addition to all of those new game announcements, Blizzard revealed plans to port Diablo 3 to the PS3 and PS4…for some reason. (Jennifer’s mostly just disappointed it wasn’t StarCraft: Ghost instead.)

PS4 Controller

Two companies at the conference provided us with some tech demos instead of new game footage. Quantic Dream, the company behind Heavy Rain, showed off some pretty impressive character models containing 30,000 polygons each. Then, in the biggest troll of the evening, Square Enix came onstage to play the same demo footage they showed at PAX last year and proceeded to announce that they have some exciting Final Fantasy information to share…but not until this year’s E3.

Overall, the conference was fun to watch, but to be honest, it left us feeling indifferent. Perhaps that will change once we finally have a price point on the PS4. Regardless, we have some interesting information to chew on. A lot of the lofty goals Sony announced—including the ability to play a game as soon as you purchase it digitally, even before it’s finished downloading—seem reliant on a high speed internet connection. Then there is that Diablo 3 port from Blizzard, which will likely require an always-on connection like the PC version.

But seriously: goddammit, Square.

Thanks to our editor-in-chief, Dan, for helping with this write-up!

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