Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 27 December 2014

PlayStation 4 unveiled by Sony in New York

The PlayStation 4 has been unveiled by Sony.

At an event in New York, which was streamed around the world, the Japanese electronics company confirmed widespread rumours of the next generation console.

PS4 system architect Mark Cerny said the fast new system will have a 8 gigabytes of memory and an updated controller called the DualShock 4.

The controller has a touchpad, a headphone socket and a light bar which can be tracked by a camera to detect where the player is.

The expert said the new pad will give the gamer a "tighter sense of control".

The new console has been praised by gaming enthusiasts as having the potential to be "game-changing".

It is the Japanese electronics giant's first major game machine since the PlayStation 3 went on sale in 2006.

Andrew House, the group chief executive of Sony Computer Entertainment, told the audience and millions of people on the internet: "Today marks a moment of truth and a bold step forward for PlayStation as a company.

"Today we'll show how we are strengthening the PlayStation ecosystem."

He spoke of "magical experiences" and worlds that will "come alive" in a computer games experience that had the the gamer at its heart before giving a glimpse into the "future of play".

Technology enthusiast Alex Simmons, the UK editor of gaming website IGN.com, said the announcement of the Playstation 4 with its "incredible cinematic visuals" was a warning to its rivals, adding that Sony's innovations could be "game-changing".

He said: "This was an a show of strength from Sony and a powerful warning to its rivals about their next-generation gaming intentions.

"In the past, Sony has been guilty of making bold claims and not always delivering, but its vision of modern gaming against a backdrop of increased competition from smartphones and tablets with their cheaper games is exciting.

"Thanks to the machine's shared DNA with current high performance PC components, developers have an exciting new system to create their games.

"The PlayStation 4 can deliver incredible cinematic visuals, if what we saw from announced titles like Killzone: Shadow Fall and Driveclub was real, in-game content.

"Sony's innovations, such as the ability to share gameplay experiences with friends, and the rest of the world - and a planned archive of Sony's considerable back catalogue streamed over the internet - could be game-changing."

Games

The lineup of PS4 games shown at PlayStation Meeting 2013 include:

·        Driveclub (WWS Evolution Studios) 
·        inFAMOUS Second Son (WWS Sucker Punch Productions) 
·        KillzoneShadow Fall (WWS Guerrilla Games) 
·        Knack (WWS Japan Studio) 
·        Deep Down (working title) (CAPCOM) 
·        Destiny (Activision Publishing, Inc./ Bungie, Inc.) 
·        Diablo III (Blizzard Entertainment, Inc.) 
·        The Witness (Jonathan Blow) 
·        Watch_Dogs (Ubisoft Entertainment)

The specs

Main ProcessorSingle-chip custom processor 
CPU :  x86-64 AMD “Jaguar”,  8 cores 
GPU : 1.84 TFLOPS,  AMD next-generation Radeon™ based graphics engine
MemoryGDDR5 8GB
Hard Disk DriveBuilt-in
Optical Drive 
(read only)
BD 6xCAV 
DVD 8xCAV
I/OSuper-Speed USB (USB 3.0) 、AUX
CommunicationEthernet (10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX, 1000BASE-T) 
IEEE 802.11 b/g/n 
Bluetooth® 2.1 (EDR)
AV outputHDMI 
Analog-AV out 
Digital Output (optical)


Landmark for the classic Sony console

The PlayStation, in its various reincarnations, has grown up with a generation of gamers. It has gone from a pure gaming console to a device that can also play movies, download data, and enable gamers all round the world to communicate with each other. Here are some of the brand's milestones.

  • September 1995 - PlayStation is introduced to the UK a year after it is launched in Japan. UK price: £299.
  • September 2000 - PSone is introduced in Britain, essentially a slimmed-down facelift of the PlayStation. UK price: £79.
  • November 2000 - PlayStation2 is launched in the UK, featuring a built-in DVD-player and superior gaming power with a new line-up of games. UK price: £299.
  •  September 2005 - PlayStation Portable Value Pack handheld console is introduced to the European market.
  • August 2006 - Suggested UK retail price of PlayStation2 falls below £100 for the first time. UK price: £94.99 - less than a third of its launch price.
  • March 2007 - PlayStation3 (60GB version) featuring DVD player and online connectivity is launched in Europe at 599 euros.
  • 2008-10 - PlayStation3 models with greater storage capacity, including 160GB, 250GB and 320GB, developed and introduced.
  • January 2011 - PlayStation2 exceeds 150 million unit sales worldwide, making it the world's best-selling console to date.
  • February 2012 - The portable PlayStation Vita, with wifi and 3G wifi capacity, introduced in Europe at 249 and 299 euros respectively.

'Amazing success story'

Computer gaming was about to get serious when Sony unveiled its PlayStation to British customers in 1995.

In less than a decade, the brand would take consoles from the clutches of children and teenagers and open them up to adults as grown-up gaming devices and multimedia entertainment hubs.

It would also catapult the company from the periphery of the games industry to its very core as the PlayStation became the world's biggest-selling console to date.

"It's been an amazing success story," said Mark Eyles, a console expert at the University of Portsmouth who developed leading computer games when he worked in the industry in the 1980s and '90s.

"I think the underlying story is Sony deciding they wanted part of the games market in the 1990s. There was already Nintendo and Sega, who had products out there, and Sony looked at them and thought 'this could earn us some money'.

"When the PlayStation came out it was interesting to see a big player like Sony come in an carve out a big market, then continue to invest in it."

While the first PlayStation games can now be played on a smartphone, many were jaw-droppingly advanced when they were launched.

With the rise of games on CD, rather than clunky cartridges used by 1990s market-leaders the Super Nintendo and Sega Megadrive, the PlayStation offered gameplay that was faster, graphics that were sleeker and a package that was all together more engaging.

"A lot of its success was due to good, robust technology but technology that delivered the quality of games people wanted. It's games that sell consoles, not the other way round," said Mark, who worked on early classics including Ant Attack and Alien Vs Predator and is now an educational adviser for TIGA, the independent game developers' association.

"It's not just the technology that's made them successful. Sony has been a master of identifying trends in gaming and predicting what people want.

"If you look at the things they have done with the PlayStation, they've continued to push the boundaries."

PlayStation was the brainchild of Ken Kutaragi, a Sony executive who had just come out of his hardware engineering division.

When it was unveiled to UK gamers in 1995 it cost £299, but the high launch price quickly tumbled - a pattern that has been repeated time and time again in Sony's battle to dominate the market with successive PlayStation reincarnations.

The PS2, which replaced its aging predecessor and the facelift PlayStation one in 2000 at a price of £299, brought the device from the confines of teenagers' bedrooms to the family living room thanks to its ability to do more than just run games.

It had a built-in DVD player and, like the original console, could also play CDs.

Sony had latched on to customers' desire for a more than just a gaming machine, and with its PlayStation3, launched in 2007, it took the concept a step further by making the console compatible with the PlayStation Network - an online platform that lets users communicate, play against each other remotely and access the internet.

"Sony expanded away from just hardcore, traditional games into social technology and the connectivity that goes with it," said Mark.

"I guess the biggest change in the PlayStation over the years is from a games console to an interactive device at the centre of your living room. When the PS2 came out, you could play your DVDs on it, which made it different from most of the other consoles around. Then the PlayStation 3 came out and you could play games and movies and have online access, which meant even more connectivity.

"I don't know what the PS4 is going to be like but I'd be very surprised if some sort of connectivity isn't built in.

"The PlayStation has been involved in a graphics arms race. It's gone from very obvious computer generated cartoon graphics to photo real - it's hard to distinguish the graphics from a photograph.

"It's quite amazing how quickly things have moved forward and how much gaming power we have now got. The challenge for the games industry is keeping up."

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