The day has come that Sony promised. The day that they show us what they have planned for the next generation of gaming. So what have the offered us?
How about we start with hardware. The PS4 is set to have a PC architecture to allow for much easier development of games. This means they are also going with an x86 processor and a "highly advanced PC GPU". The next thing they added that a number of developers asked for is 8 GB of RAM (keep in mind PS3 has 256 MB of memory). This brings us to the controller. The shape and name of the DualShock 4 is nothing new. What is new is a touch pad, a headphone jack, a light bar to identify players and a share button. While the headphone jack is pure convenience the other new additions provide new functionality. The touch pad is pretty obvious wht is not so obvious is the light bar. It can be used in junction with a stereo camera that can track the light to determine the controllers location in a 3D space. Thing the PS move built into the controller. As for the share button, it does what it says, it allows you to share your gameplay. Whether you share just a snippet of your game or live gameplay via the Gaikai service, the share button allows you to do it easily and quickly.
Now video games are no longer just a lone wolf endeavor. Even single player games have a social aspect to them. Given this the PS4 has a deep integration to your social media networks. But that is not connected enough for Sony. They are going to have companion apps for smart phones, tablets, and the PS Vita (that seems obvious). Something else new will be the ability to give your friends control of your game to help you through a difficult section. Friends can help you out, or annoy the hell of you asking to play because they think you are not doing it right. We all know that person, and if you don't, that means you may be that person. The last thing I want to touch is, most possibly, the coolest and scariest feature will be that they want the system to learn you. They want it to understand which games you want so much that it will download the game to the system before you even buy it. I will let that sink in while I go to the next subject.
Gaikai is going to be an integrated part of the system as well. They are taking one of the coolest features of the Wii U, the ability to play games off the TV, and integrating that into the PS4 via the Vita. They are going to turn the PS4 into a game server with the vita being a game client. So when your kids / roommates take over the TV you can still play your game. They are also going to allow you to stream you games to systems such as USTREAM to demonstrate how good you really are, or to allow you to make a complete fool of yourself. One of the things that seems the neatest though will be the ability to stream all past Playstation games (rumor) to the new system. This will take care of the issue in the past of how to manage backwards compatibility on a new system.
And that is what I have for now. This will not be the last PS4 article I write. To be honest as of this writing I am still watching the re-show of the PS4 press conference. So once I get this finished and my thoughts collected I will add more to the site. We can also expect Solomon to give his two cents on the system soon as well.