PlayStation 4 is here. Sony Computer Entertainment prez and CEO Andrew House announced the console with little more than a logo and a handful of concepts. We’re sure to hear more as the night goes on, and we’ll be updating this post as we learn more.
Lead system architect Mark Cerny — legendary game dev and, to us, creator of Marble Madness — came up next. He said that development of the PS4 started five years ago. Cerny said he’s been exploring how to evolve “the PlayStation ecosystem,” and he started by speaking to the limitations of PlayStation 3. Cerny said he’s been aiming to make sure “nothing gets between the platform and the game.” An image of an old-timey hunter shooting space invaders in the sky is used as an example — here’s hoping the PS4 doesn’t mean we’ll be taking plastic guns and shooting pixels in the sky.
“We were able to create in PlayStation 4 a system by game creators, for game creators,” Cerny said. As far as specs, he said it runs on x86 architecture, a “highly enhanced” PC GPU (with “almost 2 teraflops of performance,” he added), an unknown amount of local HDD storage, and 8GB of GDDR5 system memory. Cerny next unveiled the DualShock 4, which looks an awful lot like the leaks we saw recently — it features a touchpad, a light bar, and what looks like rubberized grips. Otherwise, it looks an awful lot like a DualShock 3 with some new bells and whistles.
Cerny’s talking software now — the PS4 can pause and resume mid-game, allowing players to multitask at any point. There’s also a second chip dedicated to managing uploads and downloads, meaning you can download games in the background or when the system’s off. More importantly, however, you can start downloading a game and begin playing it as the download goes — pretty great! As far as sharing goes, PS4 is heavy on social interactivity; Cerny said its social network will extend beyond the console to mobile and Vita. He’s ambiguous about which platforms that’ll mean, but it sounds like Sony’s aiming to make it platform agnostic. There’s also a Pinterest-esque social app for friends to share screens and video, which Cerny said applies to the PS4’s “personalization” angle. “You’ll see real pictures of your real friends,” he said.
David Perry went next, and he talked about Sony’s acquisition of Gaikai (he was the former head of Gaikai, but now he’s working with Sony). His game streaming service is being employed to run demos on PS4, allowing people to try any game they want instantly. He also said that both Facebook and Ustream are being employed on PS4, using the DualShock 4’s Share button. But how much? He didn’t say. Beyond just sharing games you’ve already played, you can also livestream — to the point that a friend of yours who is spectating can actually jump into your game, via streaming, and help you out.
But wait, there’s more! Despite Remote Play being a function in the previous PlayStation console, Perry said it’s also heading to PlayStation 4. A brief demo of Mark Cerny’s PS4 game Knack was shown — Perry said latency should be imperceptible, using Gaikai’s streaming tech. Perry gave one last tease: “everything everywhere.” He’s hoping that PlayStation Cloud will apply to more than just PS4 and Vita, but also to mobile devices as well. The service will roll out “in phases,” Perry said, without giving more detail, though he did say that Cloud will power PS1, PS2, PS3, and PlayStation Mobile games.