Sony Officially Unveils PS4 Hardware and Software

At a two hour press conference this evening, Sony Computer Entertainment officially unveiled its next-generation console, the PlayStation 4. Sony revealed a few details (without getting into specifics) about the PS4 hardware at the start of the press event. It contains what the company called a "supercharged PC architecture," an x86-64 AMD processor and 8GB of GDDR5 unified system memory.

It will feature a big hard drive (no specific size mentioned), and will utilize secondary dedicated hardware chips to make the system offer a more seamless and instant experience like chips to manage uploads and downloads of shared content. This will enable players to begin downloading a game (in theory) and start playing it almost immediately. The PlayStation 4 will also feature a high end graphics chip to help with processing and a chip to handle compressing and decompressing video.

Polygon offers the following specs:

Main Processor
Single-chip custom processor
CPU : x86-64 AMD "Jaguar", 8 cores
GPU : 1.84 TFLOPS, AMD next-generation Radeon based graphics engine


Hard Disk Drive

Optical Drive (read only)

Super-Speed USB (USB 3.0) 、AUX
Communication Ethernet (10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX, 1000BASE-T)
IEEE 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth® 2.1 (EDR)

AV output
Analog-AV out
Digital Output (optical)

Sony's goal is to make the new console as seamless as possible and to provide social features like video sharing, game spectating, and the ability to jump into a friend's game on the fly to help (basically take over that person's control of the game when they need some help).

Some of that sharing will be facilitated by the new touch-sensitive DualShock 4 controller. Sony briefly showed off the new controller, which offers new features such as a touchpad, a Share button, a light bar and built-in PlayStation Move compatibility. The Share button can be used to do things like take video in your game and instantly share it with friends or the web and then return to the game while it uploads in the background. The PlayStation 4 will also feature a stereoscopic camera peripheral that can sense the depth in front of it, and the direction of the controller.

Gamers will also be able to put the PS4 in a sleep state. Hypothetically, a player could simply stay where he or she is in a game, put the PS4 in a sleep and return to it later.

Sony also revealed how video game streaming service Gaikai is helping to change the PlayStation Network into a more seamless, social and predictive environment. David Perry, CEO and founder of Gaikai, said that the new PlayStation Network for PS4 will be the "fastest gaming network in the world." Using Gaikai's streaming technology, PSN will be able to offer instant demos through the PlayStation Store. This will also enable more social features for players who will be able to share their gameplay experiences with Facebook friends and UStream.

Perry hinted at a "director mode" for some games where players can let other players interact with their game by dropping you health and other useful items over the internet. Sony also envisions a PlayStation Network where the system pays attention to what games you play and buy and makes it easier to find the kinds of content you like as a result over time.

Naturally the PS4 will support a variety of entertainment services including Netflix, Amazon, Vudu, Hulu Plus, Facebook, Sony's Music Unlimited service and Crackle.

Sony plans to make the PS Vita a more central part of your gaming experience if you own a PS4. Using Gaikai's technology, PS Vita owners will be able to play PS4 games easily on their hand-helds. Sony hopes that every PS4 game released will be playable on the hand-held. Basically the PlayStation 4 serves as server, while the PlayStation Vita serves as client.

One thing that might bother PS3, PS2, and PS One game owners is the fact that the PS4 will not "natively support" these formats. This is being blamed on the new x86 CPU architecture the system uses.

The official PlayStation Europe account offered one solution for this problem, but did not explain how this would work and what consumer costs might be associated with it:

At the end of the press event Sony announced the PS4 will be released during the 2013 Holiday shopping season. We suspect a price for the console as well as an exact date will be revealed later in the year.

Sony also rolled out a number of first and third-party partners that plan to develop games for the new system such as Electronic Arts, Activision, Square Enix and Capcom, CD Projekt Red, Bohemia Interactive, Platinum Games and Double Fine. Below is a rundown of all the companies that revealed games during the show – but the biggest shocker of the night was Blizzard's announcement that it will bring Diablo III to the PS3 and PS4. This is the first major console game made by Blizzard since Lost Vikings.

– Square Enix announced that a new Final Fantasy title is in development, and promised more details during E3.

– Guerrilla Games revealed the PS4-exclusive shooter Killzone: Shadow Fall.

– Sucker Punch showed off a trailer for the latest inFamous title, InFamous: Second Son.

– Ubisoft's Watch Dogs was shown running on the PS4 during the press event.

– Diablo 3 will come to PlayStation 4 and will feature a new four-player, full-screen co-op mode. Blizzard claims that the game has been revamped to work better on the console. More details on the game will be revealed at PAX in March.

– Capcom showed off a new PS4 action adventure game tentatively titled Deep Down. They also revealed a new graphical engine called Panta Rhei.

– Activision and Bungie revealed that the MMO shooter Destiny will be on the system.

– LittleBigPlanet developer Media Molecule demonstrated the PlayStation 4's technology with a demo that used the Move controller to create digital sculptures and puppetry.

– Braid developer Jonathan Blow announced that his next game, The Witness, will debut on PS4 as timed console exclusive.

– Evolution Studios showed off a new racing game for the PS4 called Drive Club.

– Sony's Japan Studio is developing Knack, an action platformer for the PS4. 

The most disappointing thing to come out of the press event is the fact that the PS4 will not be able to play PS One, PS2 and PS3 games. Hopefully Sony provides more clarity on how playing our favorite games over the Cloud will work and if we are going to be forced to buy games we already own all over again. There was also no indication on if the rumored "always on, always connected" feature that had been rumored is present in the system, but that's something that will eventually be revealed as the PS4 gets more scrutiny from the press during GDC, E3 and other events prior to its Holiday 2013 release…

Update: We fixed the name of the  processor listed in the early part of the story – at the time of the press event Sony only said "X86," but later released full specs. Thanks to everyone that pointed that out.

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  1. 0
    Neeneko says:

    Actually, I think they did learn from that transition.

    What they found was that while a vocal minority really want backward compatibility, it just was not enough to offset the increased development and manufacturing costs.. plus it ate in to their ability to sell older titles and new downloads.

    While personally backward compatibility is important to me too (it will probably be a deal breaking for me and the PS4), they seem to have found that there just are not enough people like me who will fail to by the console to justify it.

  2. 0
    black manta says:

    Sony's learned nothing apparently from the transition from the PS2 to the PS3.  As before, they're determined to alienate their user base by not having it be backwards-compatible with their previous generation platform's games!  Yes, I know some of those games were eventually re-released as "HD remakes."  But that wasn't until well into the PS3's life-cycle.  That was, what? 3 or 4 years?  Hell I'm still waiting on my Kingdom Hearts HD re-release!  Some of us are still waiting for FFX HD!

    This is why I have one of the older PS3's; in case I get a hankering to play KH, Viewtiful Joe, Dragon Quest VIII or any of the other PS2 games that Sony hasn't seen fit to give the HD treatment to yet (and probably won't yet for a while at this rate).  And don't give me that talk about playing it on the cloud.  That's bullshit.  The bulk of those games probably won't be available for a year after the PS4's release.  And even then, it makes no sense to force consumers to re-buy a game if they already own it unless it's in a new media format.  And somehow I don't think the "HD re-release" is going to hold water this time.

    Say what you will about Microsoft and Xbox, but at least they had the good sense to make a majority of their Xbox original games backwards-compatible with with 360 on its release.  And I have a feeling that trend will continue with the unveiling of the 720.

    So guys, hang onto your PS3's.  I wouldn't think about getting rid of them just yet if I were you.

  3. 0
    Neeneko says:

    *nod* with the PS3 I suspect they got a bit too much influence from their embedded division and did not think about how the game industry is structured.  

    If they were dealing with embedded programmers, it wouldn't have been a big problem.. they have to relearn programming all the time and it is just part of the field.  They also tend to have a much more general background.

    Game programmers, unfortunately, are being churned out in mass numbers from short programs focused on specific technologies, with the idea that they can hit the ground running using whatever is typical at the time.  Thus transitioning to something unfamiliar or that requires other ways of thinking is more of a barrier.  While there are a good number of developers with a nice solid skillset that can transition, but when one has a never ending supply of low cost grunt programmers with ready to go skills, they tend to dominate the equation.

  4. 0
    E. Zachary Knight says:

    Based just on the hardware specs, it looks like Sony actually learned from its biggest and most damaging PS3 mistake. With the PS3, Sony put in so much custom built hardware that game developers had to basically relearn to program games in order to use it. This caused delays and made some developers to abandon the console.

    With the PS4, Sony is going with basically off the shelf PC hardware which will make game development a breeze. This means it is more likely that game developers will make the PS4 a part of their core mission.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
    Random Tower
    My Patreon

  5. 0
    Andrew Eisen says:

    The specs were added a few hours after this article was published.  At the show, Sony referred to it as an x86.  Hence, the leading paragraph.  I've notified GP though.


    Andrew Eisen

  6. 0
    DorthLous says:

    The specs you pasted contradicts your statement. An x86 processor is not the same as an x86-64 (which is what we basically call a x64, unless you work with itanium and the likes…)

  7. 0
    David says:

    Move functionality?  A touchpad?  Something on the system?  I don't want all this crap!  Maybe we'll be lucky and hardly any games will use them, like what happened with the gyroscopic sensor on the PS3.

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