Though Sony didn't show off the PlayStation 4 system itself last night, it nevertheless released an abundance of information about the console. So if you don't have time to watch a two hour press conference, here's our digest of all PS4 stats.
The Tech Specs
- Sony has ditched Cell. The PlayStation 4's main processor is a single-chip custom processor, a x86-64 AMD "Jaguar" with eight cores. A second chip is dedicated to managing uploads and downloads.
- The GPU is a similarly impressive AMD next-gen Radeon-based graphics engine that can make 1.84 trillion calculations a second.
- Brace yourself - the PS4 packs a borderline improbable 8GB of GDDR5 memory! If you're reading this in 2016, that's still really, really fast!
- As well as a built-in hard drive (the size is yet to be confirmed), the PS4 also features a 6x speed Blu-Ray drive (compared to the PS3's 2x speed one), an 8x speed DVD drive and USB 3.0 for high-speed transfer.
- Sony says the hardware has been designed with developers' needs in mind, a stark contrast to the early days of the PS3 and the claims that it was notoriously hard to develop for.
- A new suspend mode lets you "switch off" the PS4 and store the game's current state in its memory. When you return to the system later and press the power button, the game will instantly carry on where it left off, with no need to boot the system and load the game.
- The new PlayStation 4 menu screen will let you see what your friends are doing, while also recommending games, TV shows, movies and music to you. These recommendations will be specific ones unique to you, based on your previous downloads. For example, if you've spent a lot of time playing FIFA 14, it'll recommend the FIFA 15 demo when it's available.
- Much like the Wii U, the PS4 can run multiple apps at once. While playing a game, you can load a web browser to check out walkthroughs or do some online reconnaissance.
- PlayStation 4 games will be playable on Vita via Wi-Fi using Remote Play. It's not yet clear whether this applies to every single game or whether it's a game-by-game option that developers will need to activate, as is the case for PS3. All Sony has said so far is that "your favourite PS4 games" will feature Remote Play.
- The PlayStation App is a new app that Sony will be releasing on iOS and Android devices, allowing you to use your smartphone or tablet as a second screen that acts as a map or lets you see how a friend is doing in that particular section of the game. It's a similar idea to Microsoft's SmartGlass and, of course, the Wii U GamePad.
- It has been confirmed that the PS4 will NOT block pre-owned games.
- Digital titles purchased from the PlayStation Store can be played as they download. The system will download the first part of the game so you can start playing it quickly, then continue to download the rest of the game's assets in the background as you play. This also implies there will no longer be a need to install games as with the PS3.
- While Sony isn't completely blocking anonymous usernames, it does want to let people play online with their real names, integrating their gaming with social networks such as Facebook.
- Gaikai technology will let you instantly try out sections of any game on the PlayStation Store. While the way in which this happens isn't yet clear, it's likely it will come in the form of timed streaming demos, much like the OnLive console offers.
- You can broadcast a live stream of your gameplay via Ustream, so that other gamers can see your progress.
- If you're stuck in a game you can ask your friends to help you. This can either come in the form of text comments that will appear on the screen like notifications, or they can actually take over the game's controls and beat a section of the game for you.
- The PlayStation 4 can be updated while the console is switched off, potentially putting an end to the dreaded lengthy firmware updates that annoyed PS3 owners.
- The system does NOT require an always-online connection.
The DualShock 4 Controller
- The controller features a touch pad on the front, similar to the rear touch pad on the PlayStation Vita. This is a capacitive touch pad (much like that on a phone), supporting two touches at once. This may be useful for mouse-like in control in games such as Diablo III (though it hasn't yet been confirmed if it'll use that control method).
- A new "SHARE" button lets you add screenshots and gameplay footage to your Facebook feed. It's not yet clear how long captured videos can last.
- An LED Light Bar, similar to the LED ball on the PlayStation Move, sits along the top of the DualShock 4. Much like the Move, it can change colour for various needs (player indicators, damage indicators etc). It can also be used for Move-like controls (see the PlayStation 4 Eye section below).
- The Start and Select buttons have been scrapped in favour of a single Options button.
- The controller's built-in speaker will let you hear additional sounds much like the Wii U GamePad. Alternatively, there's also a headphone jack which lets you hear these sounds in greater detail as well as friends' voices during chat.
- Speaking of chat, the PS4 will come with a mono headset provided.
- There's a new built-in sensor inside the pad which Sony promises will enable "highly sensitive motion control". Presumably this means the Sixaxis motion control has been improved.
- The controller's existing buttons - most notably the dual analogue sticks and L2 and R2 buttons - have been redesigned in accordance with developers' wishes (and presumably those of the vocal gaming community).
The PlayStation 4 Eye
- The new PlayStation 4 Eye camera, expected to be bundled with the system, appears to be Sony's answer to Kinect (which, in a sense, was Microsoft's response to the first EyeToy). It features two high-sensitivity 1280x800 cameras with wide-angle lenses and 85-degree diagonal angle views which, according to Sony, "can recognise the depth of space precisely".
- Sony claims the camera can "cut out the image of the player from the background" or track their distance from the TV, allowing players to move their bodies to play. Players can also sign in with facial recognition.
- The PlayStation 4 Eye also includes four microphones, allowing it to accurately detect sound and where it originated from.
- Much like the previous Eye worked with the PlayStation Move, the new Eye tracks the LED Light Bar on the front of the DualShock 4 controller (like a more accurate Wii sensor bar), allowing for Move-style controls. With every PS4 owner potentially having Move-like controls instead of it being optional, this could have interesting connotations for upcoming games.
- Killzone: Shadow Fall is the fourth main game in the Killzone series. According to Sony, "you play as an elite Shadow Marshal charged with keeping tensions between the Helghast and Vektans from boiling over."
- inFAMOUS: Second Son is the third inFamous game. It's set in Seattle seven years after the events of the previous games and, rather than starring Cole McGrath, sees you playing as a new hero - 24-year-old Delsin Rowe, who can manipulate smoke.
- DriveClub is a new racing game from Motorstorm developer Evolution Studios. Its focus is is on social connectivity, with players able to create "Drive Clubs" and challenge others. Evolution claims this is the game it always wanted to make - the Drive Club name was trademarked almost a decade ago - but the technology is only ready now.
- New IP Knack is being developed by Sony's Japan Studio in co-operation with Mark Cerny (Sonic 2, Crash Bandicoot, Spyro, Jak & Daxter, Ratchet & Clank). According to the Sony blurb: "Turn into a gigantic fighting machine thanks to the power of ancient relics in this vibrant new adventure."
- Watch_Dogs was shown during Ubisoft's E3 press conference last year but it was finally confirmed for PS4 last night (as well as PS3, Xbox 360, Wii U and PC).
- The Witness is the latest puzzle game from Braid creator Jonathan Blow.
- Destiny: The upcoming online shooter from Bungie was confirmed as a PS4 title, with PS4-exclusive content also promised.
- Blizzard announced its return to console gaming with PS3 and PS4 ports of Diablo III.
- A series of tech demos shown included Capcom's Deep Down, Quantic Dream's facial animation tech, Square Enix's Agni's Philosophy demo (as shown previously) and an interesting Media Molecule demo, in which the PlayStation Move controller was used to create sculptures and animate puppets.
- A massive 149 development studios and publishers companies have committed to supporting the PS4.