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Console packs an x86 GPU, 8 GB of DDR3, a powerful GPU, and a custom processor for background processing

Sony Group President Andrew House kicked off Sony Corp.'s (TYO:6758) 6 p.m. press conference with the expected news, commenting, "The demand for a new console were clear....Today we will give you a glimpse into the future of play.  The most personalized gaming experience available today... the most powerful platform ever.We believe that PlayStation 4 represents a shift from thinking of a box or console... PlayStation is the best place to play."

Sony's fourth generation console, which will enter the eigth generation of console wars has been in the works since at least 2007.  The console packs a new x86 processor replacing the International Business Machines, Inc. (IBM) derived CELL processor from the PS3.  The system has 8 GB of DDR3 RAM (unified) shared by the GPU and CPU.  Sony did not specify the hard drive size, but it promises it is "huge".

The new controller has a light bar, which is recognized by a 3D camera on the console, allowing motion control (similar to the Wii, Kinnect, etc.).  The new controller also features a headphone jack and share button, as rumored.  The controller also features a power button that can pause games; all games will be equipped with power save features.

Sony DualShock 4 Controller
Games can be downloaded while the console is in the low power/background mode.  The background processing is handled by a secondary "custom" chip.  Lead architect Mark Cerny explains, "[Our] long-term vision is to reduce download times to zero... if we know enough about you we know what game you'll purchase next and download it in the background."

There's also continual support for hardware video compression when the console is on.

The console also supports using smartphones, tablets, and the PlayStation Vita as controllers via custom apps on the latter two (specific platforms were not announced).  Most PS4 titles will be playable on the PlayStation Vita as a secondary screen.

For sharing Sony is pairing up with Facebook, Inc.'s (FB) ubiquitous social network and Ustream.  Describes Mr. Cerny, "By combining the PS4, the PlayStation Network, and these social platforms, our goal is to become the social platform for gaming."

One thing Sony views as key to the upcoming console's success is to woo developers big and small.  Much like Apple, Inc. (AAPL) Sony made it clear that it's all about the developers and will promote small third party studios and big studios alike via abundant resources and a set of accessible APIs.

For big end studios, there's plenty of room for creativity; high end game titles are expected to feature characters with up to 30,000 polygons. Some of the high end games shown off included Killzone: Shadowfall, inFAMOUS: Second Son, Driveclub, Deep (Capcom Comp., Ltd. (TYO:9697)), Final Fantasy (unnamed) (Square Enix Holdings Comp., Ltd. (TYO:9684)), Watch Dogs (Ubisoft Entertainment SA (EPA:SA)), a Diablo III port (Activision Blizzard, Inc. (ATVI)), and (now-independent) Bungie's new title "Destiny".

Source: Sony

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Where the heck was the console?
By Johnmcl7 on 2/20/2013 8:12:18 PM , Rating: 3
Did I miss something or did they not actually show the PS4? I saw the bit early on when they talked about the specs and the controller but didn't see anything of the console itself.


RE: Where the heck was the console?
By nikon133 on 2/20/2013 10:58:12 PM , Rating: 3
No they haven't.

Actually the gave no details about CPU/GPU/APU, outside of AMD based x86. Clock, number of cores... all still unknown.

Since it is x86 and easily upgradeable (as long as same socket is in play), they might want to leave themselves a chance to upgrade specs before console is released. Prototype might be running, say, 4 core 2.8GHz, but production model can still get faster clock, better graphics, or even more cores... without having to change whole logic.

In addition, they didn't hand MS a weapon to beat them (by announcing a bit faster specs in a few months time).

I actually think they played this smart.

RE: Where the heck was the console?
By Morvannec on 2/21/2013 7:47:25 AM , Rating: 2
I'm pretty sure it was mentioned at one point during the presentation that the CPU has 8 cores. Might be remembering it wrong though. There was a lot to take in.

Also just to say I'm disappointed to see that the author obviously didn't watch the presentation, otherwise they'd have known Sony said it was 8GB of GDDR5 (that was a "I can't even do that with my PC!" moment).

By maugrimtr on 2/21/2013 8:39:37 AM , Rating: 3
Of course, PCs don't use 8GB of GDDR5. They use 8GB+ DDR3 and then 2GB+ of GDDR5 on the GPU. The difference is that the PS4 must share its memory between the CPU and GPU so it has to go with GDDR5 to stop the GPU from sucking.

RE: Where the heck was the console?
By Strunf on 2/21/2013 7:54:14 AM , Rating: 2
I don't think they are still on time to change the CPU (or are at least very short), while on a PC it is generally easy to change CPU/GPU on a console it's a whole different matter, they have tougher restrictions on power consumption/dissipation, AMD also has to have them ready by launch time, and they are probably using a slightly different CPU/GPU so it's not like AMD has the time or the will to change their GPU/CPU, validate them, and actually produce them.
Generally speaking you don't change things once you set your needs, you wait few months/years and them release a slim or v2 version of the console.

By nikon133 on 2/21/2013 4:59:06 PM , Rating: 2
I think there is a small space to boost performance before production starts. Current prototypes (and developer kits) might be running on some early stage Jaguar logic, or even non-Jaguar logic with same performance level. The beauty of x86... I mean, Jaguar is officially not out yet, is it?

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