Sony Officially Announces The PS4 To Arrive Q4 2013 On February 20, Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) formally announced plans to launch their next generation gaming console, PlayStation 4 (PS4), for the 2013 holiday shopping season, offering a sneak peak at the capabilities of the new console, upcoming games, as well as an updated DualShock controller and PlayStation Camera in a live press event held in the Hammerstein Ballroom at Manhattan Center Studios in New York, and streamed live over the internet. SCE president and group CEO Andrew House touted the new console as the “most powerful platform ever.” That remains to be seen, as the world is now waiting for Microsoft’s official announcement of their next generation of their XBOX. But still, the specs of the PS4 are quite impressive and a major advance over the current PS3, and places many (but not all) of the rumors to rest. For this new console, Sony has turned to AMD, utilizing the 8-core x86 64-bit Jaguar CPU and a 1.84 Teraflops Radeon Graphics Core Next engine GPU within a single processor chip. They are also beefing up the memory with 8GB of GDDR5 (compared to the PS3’s measly 256Mb system and 256Mb GDDR3 graphics), USB 3.0 support, and 802.11n wi-fi. The PS4 will also include a 6xBD/8xDVD-Rom drive (meaning continued Blu-ray and DVD video support); a built-in hard drive (capacity TBA); Bluetooth 2.1 support; and HDMI, optical audio, and analog a/v outputs. One benefit that many gamers will find extremely useful is the ability to pause a game at virtually any point and place the console in a low-power, stand-by or suspend state, speeding up the time it takes to boot and load a saved game (which usually begins from the last game-specified restart point). Sony did not, however, provide any glimpse whatsoever of what the console will actually look like. Although direct backwards compatibility with PS3 disc-based software will not be available on the PS4, Sony did say that many PSOne, PS2 and PS3 titles will eventually be available through the Gaikai cloud gaming platform (which Sony acquired last year), scheduled to be rolled out in phases. Similar to the announced Little Big Planet 2 DLC at last year’s E3 which allowed players to use their PS Vita as a second screen and controller (much like Nintendo’s WiiU GamePad), the PS4 will support the use of the PS Vita, iOS, and Android devices in a similar fashion. The updated DualShock 4 controller will have a similar look and feel to the previous DualShock 3 and Sixaxis controllers, but with enhanced vibration, reduced latency, a 2-point touchpad, a light bar (for in-game health status and other uses), stereo headset jack, options button (replacing the Select and Start buttons), a share button, and a mono speaker. The PlayStation 4 Eye camera takes a cue from Microsoft’s Kinect controller, utilizing a second camera for increased depth-sensing capabilities, providing an 85 degree viewing angle with a fixed F2.0 focus, and captures images in RAW and YUV formats with a maximum resolution of 1280x800 at 60fps. Additional resolutions are 640x400 at 120fps and 320x192 at 240fps. The camera also includes a 4-channel microphone array. Of course, the true success of a game console is its games, and several launch and/or development titles were announced: [*] Killzone Shadowfall - Guerilla Games [*] Knack - Sony Japan Studio [*] The Witness - Jonathan Blow [*] Driveclub - Evolution Studios [*] Deep Down - Capcom [*] Watchdogs - Ubisoft [*] Destiny - Bungie/Activision [/list] One of the problems with cross-platform titles on the PS3 has been the fact that most are first developed for XBOX 360, then ported to PS3. In most cases, those games are unable to take full advantage of the graphics capabilities (with a few exceptions, such as the Call of Duty franchise). PlayStation Exclusive titles, like Uncharted 3, have always had a more cinematic feel than cross-platformers The Amazing Spider-Man or Prototype 2. Quantic Dream’s David Cage, the creator behind Heavy Rain discussed the evolution of the use of polygons for character creation from 1999 to the present, demonstrating the PS3’s current limitation of 30,000 polygons in the upcoming cinematic Beyond: Two Souls, and what is possible on the new PS4 hardware with a live 3D, 360-degree rendering of the bust of an old man that was eerily lifelike. It will be very interesting to see which platform developers will be using for the next generation of cross-platform titles. Sony, as well as Microsoft, will likely have more finalized details of their next-gen consoles this June at E3 in Los Angeles, and Home Theater Forum will be there to cover it, so stay tuned!