Less than 24 hours before Sony pulled the curtain back on the PlayStation 4, I was chatting to a friend about the mysterious announcement. My money was on something other than the PlayStation 4, but I was overjoyed to be proved wrong when 1am Thursday morning rolled around. The conversation we had did get me thinking though – if Sony were to announce a new console, what would it be, and what sort of features would it need to include to get me reaching for my wallet? Well, the cat is out the bag, and Sony has given us a full rundown of what the console will be capable of, and I am pretty damn excited.
1. True HD and next generation graphics
I’m unashamed of the fact that I am a sucker for eye candy. When it comes to games, movies, art – pretty much anything visual – I get excited about things that look beautiful, and based on the system specifications, I’m expecting a massive step forward in terms of the sort of graphics we will see in PlayStation 4 games. In case you missed it, the PS4 will include 8GB of DDR5 RAM, an eight-core x86-64 AMD “Jaguar ” CPU, and a next generation Radeon-based graphics card. That’s a massive jump from what current console hardware is offering, and it guarantees that the PS4 will be able to run games at 1920×1080 while maintaining decent frame rates. That means that we will finally get to make full use of our full-HD TVs. We can also expect more advanced physics and prettier textures, so brace for eye candy.
2. DualShock 4
Sony has not shown us what the actual console will look like, but I don’t really care. What I do care about is the fact that they are completely updating the controller, and it looks a heck of a lot more comfortable than what we’re currently stuck with. It also includes its own gyroscope capable of detecting player movement, a 3D stereo camera able to sense depth and gestures, a user-interface touchpad, and a “share” button that will allow players to broadcast their games live or upload videos online.
3. Cross-game chat
I wrote about this earlier, but it’s worth mentioning here. The PlayStation 4 will finally include cross-game chat. This was a feature that was sorely missed with the PlayStation 3, and although seemingly minor, it was one which gave the Xbox 360 a distinct advantage.
4. Play while downloading
So apparently you will be able to play games while they are still downloading. This is an amazing feature, if Sony can execute it properly, especially with our relatively feeble local Internet speeds. It stands to reason that a reasonable portion of the game will have to have been downloaded before you can start playing, but no longer will you have to wait for an entire download to complete before getting stuck in.
5. Smartphone and tablet multi-screen compatibility
The Wii U’s controller has its own screen which is capable of being used in a variety of interesting ways that are allowing developers to get more creative with the concept of split-screen gaming. Sony is doing the same thing, except it will allow PS4 owners to use their iOS or Android enabled device as a secondary screen.
So, how excited am I about the PlayStation 4?
I was apprehensive when Sony announced the PlayStation 4, but having looked at the hardware specifications and promised features, I’m pretty tempted to start up a “PlayStation 4 savings account”. Launch pricing will be a massive determining factor for a lot of gamers, but in terms of raw horsepower and innovation, I couldn’t be happier with the PlayStation 4.