Since the release of PlayStation 3 on November 11, 2006 in Japan, Sony game console lovers have had nothing to look forward to apart from the release of new games and hardware/design upgrades, which I must admit, though functional, were never enough to quench the thirst for something totally new and different. After the long wait, Sony has finally announced the successor, the PlayStation 4.
Impressive new hardware and features
The PlayStation 4 uses a single chip custom AMD processor with eight x86-64 AMD Jaguar CPU cores and an AMD Radeon-based graphics engine. The Graphic Processing Unit comes with 18 processing clusters with each having 64 cores, which will do all the heavy work in the PS4 due to its immense parallel processing power. This, coupled with its 8GB of GDDR5 memory, assures us of fast game loads and smooth playing experiences.
In bid to match Microsoft’s Kinect controller, Sony presents the PlayStation 4 Eye, an innovative set of two highly sensitive cameras with wide angled lenses and an 85-degree diagonal angle of view. Sony claims that these cameras, whose resolution total up to 1280 x 800 pixels can pick out the player image from the background and differentiate between players in the foreground and background hence improving on game play.
The PS4 controller, the Dual Shock 4 pad, comes in a classy design with better vibrations and enhanced motion sensors. Apart from these improvements, there is a touchpad on the front, a change in the button layout, the addition of a “Share” button, integration of the “SELECT” and “START” button into a single “OPTIONS” button and the addition of some PlayStation Move technology in a bid to improve on gamer experiences and fully exploit the console’s improved processing power.
Though the PS4 will be capable of 4K/Ultra HD video playback, Sony revealed that it would not support 4K game-play resolutions. Other incompatibility issues coming with the PS4 include the lack of support for Dual Shock 3 and its inability to give native support for PS3 games , a problem that Sony at some point plans to bridge by offering server side emulation for virtually all PS generation games through the Sony Entertainment Network.
Other impressive things the PS4 can do, with the majority being fruits of Sony’s purchase of Gaikai, include playing online games as they download, uploading and sharing game-play video (the share button on the Dual Shock 4 comes in handy for this) among many other cloud-based functionalities.
If Sony stands true to its promises, the days of waiting for almost a minute before your console boots up will be nothing but history. The console will have an instant on/off feature that lets you shut down during a game and pick up from where you left in future after an extremely fast boot up.
Though we did not see the actual hardware during the PlayStation 4 presentation, I am confident that come the holiday season, Sony will once again sweep us off our feet with a console that competes favorably with other brands of gaming consoles and PCs.