Playstation 4 Lowdown

Gaining favorable previews and plenty of per-orders, the PS4 looks like the next-gen console to beat, and Sony says it was designed with an overarching theme of a “frictionless and seamless” gaming experience.

We’ve known that the PS4 will track both the controller in a gamer’s hand, as well as their face, since the console’s launch in February. But during his GDC talk Norden revealed some interesting ways that this technology will be implemented in games. For example, the old multi-player split screen, divvying up television real estate when two or more players go at it, will be aided by this tracking tech. If a gamer gets up and moves right or left, his section of the screen will automatically be swapped.

PS4 release date

The official PS4 release date was announced at Gamescom 2013. The PS4 will go on sale on Nov. 15 in the U.S., followed by the U.K. on Nov. 29. Australia will also see the console then, while Canada too shares the U.S.’s Nov. 15 launch date.

PS4’s new look

The PS4 itself was shown off for the first time at E3 and it’s black, just like the Xbox One. However, it has an angular design and appears to be constructed of a similar plastic to the original PS3 Slim machine.

It looks as though it’s slimmer than the Xbox One but we’re not totally blown away by the design. What do you think?

PS4

The PS4 combines shiny and matte finishes

PS4 price

Sony announced the PS4 price at E3 – it’ll cost $399 in the US, £349 in the UK and €399 in Europe when it goes on sale in November. That’s a whole $100 cheaper than the Xbox One.

That price, it must be said, does not include the PlayStation Camera, whereas the Xbox One will ship with the second version of Kinect.

PS4

The angular design is reminiscent of Sony’s Blu-ray range

PS4 used games/online check-in

The PS4 will offer unrestricted access to per-owned games. So when you buy a titles, you are free to then trade it in at retail, sell it to another person, lend it to a friend or keep it. Microsoft initially intended to restrict these factors with the Xbox One, but significant backlash from the gaming community forced it to backtrack and feature-match the PS4.

PS4’s free features

Microsoft is famous for locking many of its Xbox Live features (Sky Go etc) behind the paywall of its Xbox Live Gold service, while Sony largely allows additional features to run for free. This is set to continue with the PS4, after Sony confirmed that features such as party chat, play free-to-play games like Planetside 2, or online apps like Netflix will all be free to access even if you don’t have a PlayStation Plus subscription.

Synergy with PlayStation Vita

The PS4 will launch with the ability to stream games directly to your PS Vita. In exactly the same way as the Wii U allows you to switch off your TV and continue playing on the tablet controller, the PS4 will wirelessly send your games to the Vita.

There will be similar synergy between “all Sony devices” which means Xperia handsets and tablets, Bravia TVs and BD players.

At the end of July, Sony revealed that the PS Vita will actually be able to control PS4 games themselves, providing that developers bake that functionality into their games.

This is a strong indication that Wii U-like gaming, using the Vita as a second screen, is on the way.

PS4 specs

AMD‘s technology is coursing through this new system’s veins, and Sony recently told us that it believes the PS4 to be the most powerful gaming device every conceived. Sony revealed the system runs on a single-chip custom processor and utilizes eight x86-64 AMD Jaguar CPU cores, with a next-gen AMD Radeon based graphics engine powering the way.

So it’s very much a PC-based system then, which is great news for developers who will find it much easier to code games for the next gen consoles and for PCs. However, that CPU is hardly next-gen – it may have been heavily modified for this system but the AMD Jaguar platform is by no means the fastest of its kind – indeed it’s slower than Intel’s fastest by orders of magnitude.

However, with fewer redundancies than a PC has, the PS4 will certainly be able to make use of every single Watt of power it draws. And the games we’ve seen so far certainly look impressive.

The “highly enhanced PC GPU” is another AMD part – something along the lines of a Radeon 7850 card – and packs 18 GCN units. That may sound a like a lot of tech mumbo jumbo but what it essentially means is that the GPU packs 18 processing clusters, each packing up to 64 cores. That provides a lot of parallel processing power, and will thus handle the majority of the PS4’s grunt work. It hits 1.84 TFLOPS of processing power, a good chunk more than the Xbox One.

The PS4 will also use GPU compute features to take advantage of the GPU’s raw power – it’ll be used for general computation tasks as well as making games shiny.

Memory

The PS4 will ship packing 8GB of GDDR5 memory. That’s some super-fast stuff right there and should enable lightning fast performance.

Indeed, Sony has revealed that you will be able to power down the PS4 mid-game and then switch it on again in seconds and pick up right where you left off. That’s the sort of loading power that this memory enables.

Sold separately

PS4 Eye Sold separately

PlayStation 4 Eye

What’s really grabbing though is the development of the PlayStation Camera, a newly developed camera system that utilises two high-sensitivity cameras equipped with wide-angle lenses and 85-degree diagonal angle views.

Sony said the cameras (amounting to 1280 x 800 pixels) can cut out the image of a player from the background or differentiate between players in the background and foreground, enhancing game play handily. There’s also mention of logging in using facial recognition and using voice and body movements to play games “more intuitively.”

If you want to know how these specs stack up against what we know so far about the Xbox One (clue: PS4 is more powerful) – check out our comparison of PS4 and Xbox One specs.

DualShock 4 a-580-100

The DualShock 4 has been re-imagined for the next generation

PlayStation 4 Specifications

  • CPU: low power x86-64 AMD “Jaguar”, 8 cores
  • GPU: 1.84 TFLOPS, AMD Radeon™ Graphics Core Next engine
  • Memory: GDDR5 8GB
  • Hard Disk Drive: Built –in
  • Optical Drive (Read only): BD 6xCAV, DVD 8xCAV
  • I/O: Super-Speed USB (USB 3.0), AUX
  • Communication: Ethernet, IEEE 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth® 2.1 (EDR)
  • AV output: HDMI, Analog-AV out, Digital Output (optical)

DualShock 4 specifications:

  • External Dimensions: Approx. 162mm x 52mm x 98mm
  • Weight: Approx. 210g (tentative)
  • Buttons: PS button, SHARE button, OPTIONS button, Directional buttons (Up/Down/Left/Right), Action buttons (Triangle, Circle, Cross, Square), R1/L1/R2/L2/R3/L3, Right stick, Left stick, Touch Pad Button, Touch Pad 2 Point Touch Pad, Click Mechanism, Capacitive Type
  • Other Features: Light Bar, Vibration, Built-in Mono Speaker
  • Ports: USB (Micro B), Extention Port, Stereo Headset Jack
  • Wireless communication: Bluetooth® Ver2.1+EDR

PS4 camera specifications

  • External Dimension: Approx. 186mm x 27mm x 27mm
  • Weight: Approx. 183g
  • Video Pixel: (Maximum) 1280 x 800 pixel x 2
  • Video Frame Rate: 1280×800 pixel @ 60fps, 640×400 pixel @ 120fps, 320×192 pixel @ 240fps
  • Video Format: RAW, YUV (uncompressed)
  • Lens: Dual Lenses, F value/F2.0 fixed focus
  • Field-of-View: 85 degrees
  • Microphone: 4 Channel Microphone Array
  • Connection Type: PS4 dedicated connector (AUX connector)
  • Cable Length: Approx. 2m (tentative)

DualShock 4 gamepad

If you have an eye for details you may have noticed that the PS4’s DualShock 4 controller has no Start or Select buttons. It has an Option button instead, as well as the much bandied-about Share button on the rear.

The analogue sticks have been tightened up to be more precise, and the controller also features a brand new three-axis gyroscopic motion sensor with three-axis accelerometer which should be great for getting you immersed in the games. The camera continuously tracks all four controllers with precise accuracy. Rotational tracking is provided by the internal components.

The controller has a two-point Vita-like touchpad on the front with a 1920×900 resolution, and a tactile clicking sound letting you know you’ve pressed it. The light bar on the front will glow different colours depending on whether you’re player 1, 2, 3 or 4 and will be tracked by the new PS Eye camera. The controller also has an Xbox-style headset jack and a mono speaker inside it.

Video-watchers take note

This new PS4 controller won’t accidentally fast forward when you set it down. Norden said this was one of the biggest complaints his team heard about the PS3’s DualShock. The PS4’s controller has triggers designed not to depress when set down. What’s more, Norden even said he’d been dropping controllers without skipping a single frame.

That touchpad on the DualShock 4 will be capable of two simultaneous inputs. The light on the controller will glow blue, red, green or pink light, depending on whether you’re player one, two, three or four.

The Share button

The PS4’s hardware encoder always records the last several minutes of game play without using any additional resources from the game. By pressing the Share button you can then upload or save your game-play, show your friends or keep it just for your own amusement.

Colors

The PS4’s DualShock 4 controller will be available from launch in Black, Red and Blue.

DualShock 4 light-bar

The DualShock 4 controller, you will notice, carries a Move-like glowing light bar. This makes it possible for the PlayStation Camera to track the controller’s position. This, it has been revealed, is a permanent fixture and cannot be turned off, so if you don’t like controller-sourced mood lighting, think about getting a third party pad.

PS4 Streaming

PS4 streaming lets you stream out live gameplay to your friends. This is all built into the hardware and does not need to be supported by developers. Users can react to the video by typing comments in real time. You can do this to friends, or public.

PS4 user interface

The XrossMediaBar (XMB) interface of PlayStations past has been completely ditched in the PS4, with Sony instead choosing to design a new OS that looks a lot more like that of the Xbox 360 than the PS3.

PlayStation Move

Sony has confirmed that PlayStation Move will play a big part in the PS4 ecosystem. However, it has not yet been revealed whether the PS4 will launch alongside a new PS Eye camera and new Move controllers or whether the peripherals are staying the same with all the enhancements made console-side.

By tracking the light bar on the DualShock 4 pad and associating it with faces in the image, the game can identify which player face is connected to which game avatar. By using facial recognition the game can associate a face with a PSN profile.

  • High sensitivity, dual color cameras. Two cameras here.
  • 1280x 800 12 bits/pixel, 60hz
  • Higher frame rates at lower resolutions
  • Wide angles – diagonal field of view is 85 degrees
  • 3 axis acceeletromter, tilt sensor
  • Wide baseline 4 microphone array
  • Dedicated port, exclusive SCE connector
  • Game-loop sync can be changed, depending on framerate of game

PS4 Blu-ray drive

Not only will the PS4’s 64-bit x86 architecture and 8GB of GDDR5 memory blow its predecessor out of the water, its Blu-ray drive will be three times faster.

“If you’re coming from the PS3 you’re probably quite used to the headache of having to split memory architecture, you can’t quite use all of it, the speeds are really wacky on some of it – we don’t have that with PS4,” said Norden.

He added that this would offer developers “crazy high bandwidth”.

PS4 Instant On

The PS4 will be one nippy device if Sony is to be believed. It will have an instant on/off feature allowing your to shut down during a game and then boot up from scratch in seconds and resume where you left off. The days of waiting 60 seconds as your console loads up are about to end.

What’s more, Chris Norden has stressed that Sony has three tenets of PS4 design: simple, social and immediate. Gamers will be able to start playing titles before they’ve even finished downloading.

And with one button sharing, Norden says the goal is to make it so simple users will “do it without thinking about it.”

PS4 launch titles

A number of games have been revealed for the PS4. They Are: Deep Down (Capcom), Destiny (Bungie), Diablo III (Blizzard), Driveclub (Evolution Studios), Final Fantasy (Square Enix), Infamous: Second Son (Sucker Punch), Killzone: Shadow Fall (Guerilla Games), Knack (Sony), The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (CD Projekt RED), Watch Dogs (Ubisoft).

PS4 review

We’ll deliver an in-depth review when we get our review samples later this year, but we’ve had a play at E3 and can bring you our hands on: PS4 review.

Source: TechRadar

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