February 21, 2013
| by Rachel Cericola
It’s been over 6 years since the PlayStation 3 was first announced. Now, it looks like Sony is finally ready for an upgrade—but how about consumers?
The company just announced the PlayStation 4, the company’s next-gen gaming console. Promising a new design from the ground up, Sony says that the PS4 will have everything you’d want in a gaming console, including powerful graphics and speed, as well as second-screen features and cloud capabilities.
Some of the PS4’s main features include a powerful custom chip that contains AMD’s 8-core 64-bit x86 central processing unit (CPU), a state of the art graphics processor, 8GB of unified system memory, 176 GB/second of bandwidth performance, and a read-only Blu-ray drive.
There will also be plenty of connectivity options, such as 802.11 b/g/n network support, an Ethernet jack, and Bluetooth. Output options include HDMI, analog AV-out, and optical S/PDIF audio, as well as an auxiliary port. The system will also come with a mono headset, which can be plugged into the new DualShock 4 controller.
Like the PS3, the PS4 will be able to tap into everything that’s offered on the PlayStation Network. However, adding cloud access into the mix will allow the PS4 to offer more games than ever. Sony also says that the PS4 allows gamers to “play when, where and how they want.” That’s because of the PS4’s second-screen features, which allow you to take the action to the PlayStation Vita, a smartphone or tablet.
Sony is also promising plenty of social interaction features. This includes seamless uploading of gameplay and the ability to broadcast live games for friends and foes, via Ustream. There’s also a new “Share” button, which allows gamers to scan through the last few minutes of a user’s play and tag specific moments for sharing. Gamers can then upload those key images and videos on social networking services, such as Facebook—and then return to play.
Rumors about the system’s Ultra HD capabilities (4K) circulated heavily prior to the press conference, and while the subject wasn’t mentioned in the official press release, Sony executives did offer a few more details later. “The PS4 supports 4K output, but only for photos and video—not games,” said Sony’s Shuhei Yoshida to IGN. Does this mean that the PS4 will be a 4K movie server and offer a connection to the 4K streaming or download service that Sony talked (briefly) about at this year’s CES? We don’t know yet. Owners of Sony’s 84-inch 4K TV should hope so.
Interestingly, Yoshida also downplayed the system’s 3D capabilities. The PS4 will do 3D, but Yoshida didn’t seem to think 3D is a big deal anymore. “But now the consumer electronics side of Sony, or all of the companies have shifted focus from 3D TV to something else, so if they’re not talking about it, why would we?,” he told IGN.
Last, but certainly not least, the PS4 will include a revamped menu, where users can interact with friends, find new games, and snag music, movies and TV shows from Sony’s Music Unlimited and Video Unlimited services, as well as Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, and more.
Sony says that the PS4 will be available in time for the holiday season. Pricing has yet to be announced.
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Over the past 15 years, Rachel Cericola has covered entertainment, web and technology trends. Check her out at www.rachelcericola.com.