Print 77 comment(s) - last by CristinaHurt22.. on Feb 24 at 9:18 PM

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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By Breakfast Susej on 2/20/2013 8:44:35 PM , Rating: 2
I was thinking about the whole X86 thing, and the fact that the ps4 is essentially a mid spec pc with a custom os and case, and thoughts occurred about piracy. If this thing is this close to an X86 off the shelf PC I wonder if it will be possible for the groups like FLT to crack their games for use on a PC?

RE: X86
By cokbun on 2/20/2013 9:11:39 PM , Rating: 2
i think porting a ps 4 games to pc games by someone other then the developer would be hard, but it opens up emulation ideas.

RE: X86
By Wiggy Mcshades on 2/20/2013 9:22:25 PM , Rating: 4
It would come down to apis. The game engine needs to use parts of the OS like input, network, file system, ect and the way you do that is through apis. The ps4 will most likely use proprietary graphics, audio, and input apis (possibly even more than just those). For example, the ps3 uses LibGCM instead of OpenGL. It would require someone to write a translation layer for those apis. Some games may circumvent the graphics api (to get the absolute best performance out of the system) and those games will basically never run on anything but the ps4 without changes to the engine. There are rumors of the ps4 supporting OpenGL natively (it's emulated on the ps3), so those games would be easier to get running on a PC (running linux not windows), but you'd still need a translation layer for all the other apis.

RE: X86
By Flunk on 2/20/2013 10:13:34 PM , Rating: 4
Considering no one has ever made a reasonably functional Xbox (1st gen) compatibility layer I don't think this is any more likely.

RE: X86
By TakinYourPoints on 2/21/2013 3:28:55 AM , Rating: 4
the fact that the ps4 is essentially a mid spec pc

A fixed and easily targetable console and a PC are two very different things. People repeating the basic hardware and are missing the point.

People underestimate what 8GB of UMA RAM does, 2GB for code and 6GB for assets. It will be a long time before a developer can use that as the minimum baseline for PC games. Aside from that you have less software overhead, much lower level access to the hardware, etc etc.

Its the same story as before. PCs will continue to improve through brute force while consoles will deliver multi-generational leaps in visual quality on the same hardware. Look at first gen PS2 titles like The Bouncer and compare it with a later title like God Of War 3. A 1999 PC wouldn't be able to pump out 2007 visuals, but again developers aren't doing nearly as much optimization on the PC.

RE: X86
By maugrimtr on 2/21/2013 8:47:05 AM , Rating: 2
Many of those "leaps" require years of experimentation and experience, careful trade offs to remove effects and polygons while retaining some level of visual quality (e.g. dynamic loading), and other level of detail adjustments. Mass Effect 1 and 2 were night and day for this sort of comparison too.

While PS4 developers go through that process, PCs will have cheap mid-range GPUs released every year that are more powerful, can push greater detail and resolutions, and they will bitterly complain everytime a poor console port is shoved at them ;).

RE: X86
By TakinYourPoints on 2/21/2013 6:29:02 PM , Rating: 2
Yuuuup, same as it ever was ;)

RE: X86
By NellyFromMA on 2/21/2013 9:32:20 AM , Rating: 1
LOL! 8 cores and 8GB ddr3 is mid spec? I just cannot relate.

RE: X86
By theapparition on 2/21/2013 10:11:10 AM , Rating: 4
Dell just ran a President's Day special with an 8 core desktop, 8GB memory and 2TB HD for $699. That's pretty mid-range by most definitions.

RE: X86
By Arsynic on 2/21/2013 10:18:00 AM , Rating: 2
Typical console dunce comment. The PS4 is essentially using a laptop CPU and a laptop GPU. Yes it has 8GB of memory, but it's just memory. It's like having 500 GB SSD over a 500 GB HDD. It's still got slower processors than high end PCs.

I would even call it low-mid spec. The fact of the matter is that in a games console with strict TDP requirements, there's a limit to what Sony could put in the machine and that's just plain physics.

RE: X86
By zephyrprime on 2/21/2013 12:12:49 PM , Rating: 2
Not even a laptop cpu. More like 8 netbook cpu cores.

RE: X86
By Breakfast Susej on 2/21/2013 12:17:40 PM , Rating: 2
I just read the Anandtech article, very disappointed to learn that it's 8 jaguar cores.

RE: X86
By Reclaimer77 on 2/21/2013 3:58:41 PM , Rating: 1
I don't think you understand just how much more efficient the PS4 architecture is at rendering graphics than a high end PC. If these specs are to be believed, the PS4 will absolutely slay any PC. Way less overhead in the hardware, way less in the software. The CPU and GPU married on the same die, so they both share the GDDR5 memory.

RE: X86
By Breakfast Susej on 2/21/2013 11:09:10 AM , Rating: 2
Well, actually the PS4 is using GDDR5, which is quite impressive. I was expecting both Sony and Microsoft to cheap out with 2gb and maybe 4 at most, so I'm pleasantly surprised by this.

I'm fully aware that you can do more with console hardware thanks to the low level access to the hardware and the lack of the overhead of Windows. But considering that If I built an enthusiast PC today it would have probably a six core intel chip, 64 gigs of ram, and dual graphics cards with probably 3 to 6gb of ram each, not to mention performance way out of the league of the gpu in the ps4, yes I would consider it a mid to low spec PC as well.

I see the whole thing as very positive though. Being that it will be very easy to cross develop for the ps4 and pc, I see this as a good thing as far as the likelihood of seeing better pc games rather than hasty console ports.

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