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Thursday, February 21, 2013
PlayStation 4: Everything you need to know
Sony's brand new gaming machine has emerged from Sony's development prison, blinking in the light and bathed in the collective excitement of gaming fans. Here's what we know so far -- and what Sony has kept hidden.
DualShock 4 controller and Eye
The PlayStation 4's rumoured touch-panel controller is confirmed. It keeps the familiar controller-shape, but features a rectangular panel above the dual analogue sticks. That touch-sensitive panel is expected to work in a similar fashion to the one on the back of Sony's Vita handheld, letting you stroke and prod at the panel's surface to influence gameplay.
The DualShock 4 also has a lightbar that makes the controller motion-capable, just like Sony's older Move tech. The glowing light communicates with the PlayStation 4 Eye, a new dual-camera sensor bar that also supports Move controllers.
Streaming games and 'Share' button
The controller has a 'Share' button, which Sony says will let you broadcast your game session to online friends, via services like Ustream. Sony is gunning hard for the social crowd, with features such as the ability to upload gameplay clips to Facebook.
The PlayStation 4 will have the power to stream games over an Internet connection, which could make up for the fact that the console won't play nice with older PlayStation games. You'll likely have to pay for the privilege of streaming those old titles though, which is bound to annoy anyone who's already paid for their games once.
Sony made much of the console's graphical capability. A demo for new title Killzone: Shadow Fall, (embedded below) gives a clue as to what Sony's next system will be capable of.
Pretty natty, non? The graphics don't look a monumental step forward, and PC gamers with high-end hardware may already be squeezing similar performance out of their systems, but that demo is certainly easy on the eye.
Sony showed several more demos of PlayStation 4 performance, including a tonne of bouncing blue balls and some ultra-realistic facial animation. Here's another clip, which shows off some of those features, as well as upcoming games.
We already know several key titles that are promised for the new system, including Knack a game about a size-shifting robot built from scrap, and Destiny, the 'shared-world shooter' from Bungie, the studio behind Halo.
The aforementioned Killzone: Shadow Fall as well as Diablo 3, a new Infamous game and hacking adventure Watch Dogs are also confirmed, while there were strong hints of a new Final Fantasy game in the works. That's certainly enough to get excited about for now.
Hey Sony, where's the console?
While new features and graphical capabilities were detailed, Sony refused to reveal what the console would actually look like. The actual console itself, therefore, remains a mystery.
On the one hand, what the system actually looks like is hardly the most important aspect. On the other, I'm finding it quite tough to get excited about a console when I don't even know what it looks like.
Release date and price
Sony says the PlayStation 4 will be out for Christmas this year, but didn't mention specific release dates for individual countries. A pre-Christmas release around the globe is a relatively safe bet, though.
Pricing is also a mystery, at least for now. Expect more details at the E3 trade show in the summer, though we're expecting the system to be closer to the £300 mark than the PlayStation 3's eye-watering £425 launch price.