The PS4 exists - but what does it look like?
So, it's official: the PlayStation 4 exists.
At a two-hour event in New York today (much of it peppered with marketing speak), Sony revealed its next-generation console, and gamers all around the world went berserk. I had to keep up to date on what was happening via The Verge's live text feed. Every live video stream I tried to watch crapped out on me. Every. Single. One.
Strangely, Sony didn't actually show off the PlayStation 4 itself. What was with that? If it actually exists, why not show gamers what it looks like? Or isn't the design finalised yet? Is Sony still working on what the console will look like? Also, no price was given but it will launch later this year in the US.
OK, the PS4 is real but what about Sony's closest rival in the gaming space, Microsoft? Did it sit up and take notice? Or has it has it got something special up its sleeve?
Clearly, Microsoft will have its own strategy for a reveal well under way but I sort of get the feeling that Sony held this event now just so it could get the jump on Microsoft and say ''Hey, we've got a new console, some games for it - but you can't see what it looks like yet''.
So, here are some of the things we learned about the new console: it's been in development for five years, it has ''supercharged PC architecture'' and is powered by a X86 CPU, has an enhanced PC GPU and 8Gb - yes, 8Gb - of unified high-speed memory. The controller, which had prototypes leaked all over the internet last week, has a touchpad on the front, a share button, a headphone jack and a light bar that can be used to identify players.
Sony said the PS4will be able to let you play downloadable games as you're downloading them. Which is all well and good if you've got a solid internet connection but what happens if your internet craps out while you're downloading and playing? Your game freezes? I have questions about that.
You'll be able to put your PS4 to sleep so that you can resume a game instantly without having to reboot the console. That's a handy function.
As I thought, Sony has teamed up with online streaming game service Gaikai - which it bought last year - to create, according to Gaikai co-founder Dave Perry, the ''fastest, most powerful network for gaming in the world''. Again, sounds great, but how will that work in an environment where your broadband isn't that reliable? You'll also be able to remotely play PS4 games on your PS Vita, which will please those people that own a Vita, but the PS4 won't play PS3 games natively, which is a bit of a blow for gamers with a huge PS3 collection.
But a console like the PS4 will live or die on its games - have all the social applications you want, that's what people will mainly buy the PS4 for - and eventually Sony got to them.
Here's a list of what I picked up: Killzone Shadowfall, from Guerrilla Games, which had more bright colours in the pictures I saw than the previous Killzone games ever had;
Driveclub, where you apparently race with your friends in teams (is it online only? I couldn't tell);
inFamous: Second Son, a new game in the series from Sucker Punch, which takes place in a game world under constant surveillance and has a new hero;
Jonathan Blow's The Witness;
A game from Capcom called Deep down;
a tech demo from Square Enix; the hint that perhaps Final Fantasy is coming to the PS4 but we'd have to wait until E3 this year; Watchdogs from Ubisoft, which looks really, really, really, really, really good and everyone suspected at last year's E3 was a next-generation title as well; Blizzard appeared showing Diablo 3, which is coming to PS4 and PS3; Bungie appeared, talking about its new game, Destiny, which it revealed last week and which will have exclusive content for PlayStation.
Strangely, though, there was no mention of the The Last Guardian, a PS3 game that is probably one of the most anticipated titles coming from Sony. Is it still in the works? Who knows.
So, we know there is a PlayStation 4, that developers are making games for it ... but we don't actually know what it looks like. No doubt that will be revealed at E3 this year. Word is that Microsoft is gearing up for something in April. Maybe it'll have an actual console that we can see.
So, what do you think of the PlayStation 4? Are you excited about the future or did Sony's press event leave you underwhelmed? I'm looking forward to seeing what Microsoft has in store for us.
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