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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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8 GB of DDR3
By Phoque on 2/20/2013 8:15:19 PM , Rating: 2
There seems to be confusion around that, on Gamespot they say it's 8Gb GDDR5 memory with memory bandwidth of 176Gb/s.

RE: 8 GB of DDR3
By Trisped on 2/20/2013 9:40:54 PM , Rating: 2
GDDR5 does not make any sense if the RAM is shared between the CPU and GPU.

RE: 8 GB of DDR3
By Flunk on 2/20/2013 10:16:34 PM , Rating: 2
Sure it does if you want real performance. But for the price, I don't see GDDR5 being worth it. It's just too pricey for the limited benefit. 8GB is a lot.

RE: 8 GB of DDR3
By Wiggy Mcshades on 2/20/2013 10:21:52 PM , Rating: 2
Yes it does. All it would require is a memory controller that supports GDDR5. GDDR does not need to be used with a graphics card. The cpu and gpu only deal with a memory controller they are both ignorant to the type of memory the controller ends up talking to. This is why the same gpu can use ddr3 or gddr5, nvidia and amd both use this fact to create different sku's.

RE: 8 GB of DDR3
By nikon133 on 2/20/2013 10:47:54 PM , Rating: 2
And it was said during the presentation that it will, in fact, have 8GB of GDDR5.

Since RAM is (dynamically?) shared between CPU and GPU, actually having DDR3 would not make any sense. GPU performance would be too much castrated.

RE: 8 GB of DDR3
By Vorian on 2/21/2013 8:46:21 AM , Rating: 2
Last I checked the most recent x86 processors have the memory controller on the chip and none currently support DDR4 let alone DDR5!

RE: 8 GB of DDR3
By webdawg77 on 2/21/2013 10:30:48 AM , Rating: 2

"GDDR5 (Graphics Double Data Rate, version 5) SDRAM is a type of high performance DRAM graphics card memory designed for computer applications requiring high bandwidth. Like its predecessor, GDDR4, GDDR5 is based on DDR3 SDRAM memory"

"On February 20, 2013, it was announced that the PlayStation 4 will utilize GDDR5 as system RAM."

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