Not to be outdone by Microsoft's announcement of the Xbox One this week, Sony also used the Electronic Entertainment Expo to unveil and demo their next gen gaming console, the Playstation 4, a $399 machine undercutting the Xbox One by $100 and launching with a handful of titles and features designed to appeal to a core audience of dedicated gamers...
If one was to award points on design, I'd give Sony the +1 for the PS4's near-Brutalist angular box design, each offset top and bottom half (one glossy piano black, the other matte/murdered out) intersected by a glowing purple line which appears when the console is turned on. The system is smaller than the Xbox One, and designed to work stationed vertically or horizontally, making it easy to hide away or highlight as the centerpiece of a home entertainment setup.
Single-chip custom processor x86-64 AMD "Jaguar" with 8 cores
GPU: 1.84 TFLOPS, AMN next-generation Radeon based graphics engine
8GB GDDR5 memory
500GB total hard disk drive
Blu-ray/DVD drive (read only)
USB 3.0 port x2, AUX port x1
Ethernet x1, IEEE 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1 (EDR)
HDMI out port, DIGITAL OUT (OPTICAL) port
1 Wireless DualShock 4 controller, Mono headset x1, AC power cord x1, HDMI cable x1, USB cable x1
The Playstation 4's DualShock 4 was immediately comfortable upon gripping, striking a perfect size for either smaller, larger, or perfectly average hands like my own. Shoulder buttons and the trigger buttons' curvilinear moulding feel just right, with a more substantial hand grip section than the previous DualShock 3, and improved comfortable thumbstick action with just enough tension.
I didn't get much time using the DualShock, just long enough to play a port of the 3rd person action title, Warframe, amongst several other attendees, leaving impressed with the graphical prowess of the new system, alongside the title's team based gameplay. Overall, the system and titles were mostly evolutionary improvements showcasing more, more, more: more particles, higher detail modeling, more interactive environments, with improved in-game physics.
Other announced Playstation 4 launch titles:
InFAMOUS Second Son
Killzone: Shadow Fall
Curiously, Sony remained mostly mum about plans for a cloud gaming service in 2014, but did state online multiplayer gaming for the PS4 will require a $50 per year subscription to PlayStation Plus (a Sony rep clarified further, "gamers who aren’t Plus members can still enjoy single-player games for free"), with discounted games, cloud saves, automatic game updates, early access to beta programs, game collections, and of course, online multiplayer play.
Unlike the Xbox One, I wasn't able to get as much on-the-floor information about the new console or play time (getting a photo of the system itself proved a harrowing shoulder-against-elbows push fest amongst 1st day attendees), but I hope to follow up with a hands-on review, as I plan to upgrade from my trusty PS3 to this new system come fall.
The Sony Playstation 4 is available for pre-order directly from Sony, from Amazon, or Best Buy for $399.99.