New York: Sony tonight announced the arrival of its next generation video games console: the PS4. PS3 titles will not be 'natively' playable on PS4. They will, however, be available via a Cloud Service... making Sony's purchase of Gakai more immediately valid than we may have hoped.
We do know that the unit will be coming in 2013 for the Holidays and that is has support from most of the major publishers and developers. We don't know a confirmed price. We do know it will have a Dual Shock 4. We do know that it will have Move support. We do know that it will have Vita Remote Play that will, like Wii U, stream from main unit to handheld enabling the Vita to act as a separate screen.
To say that the announcement had been widely expected is to understate the matter by a huge amount. Sites all over the globe, including our good selves, have been flagging up today as the big one. And when Andrew House took the stage saying that today marked a huge change in the entire company there was more hype than most recent E3 shows.
The PS4 was announced quickly and Mark Cerny, system designer, came to the stage to announce that the new machine had been in the works since 'the early days of PS3'.
Hugely to the relief of gamers and game makers, 8Gb of high speed unified memory was confirmed, and the new controller - the DualShock 4 was 'revealed'.
All of this was backed by the mantra that games and gamers were the reason for the machine's existence.
Tech demos soon followed, showing impressive CPU and GPU capabilities. And still we awaited the release date and price. Cerny then showed off 'a game I am directing'. A game called Knack
for some reason… as in, for some reason he showed it off.
Back to the main event and we were informed that PS4 has a separate chip for uploading and downloading. A remarkably obvious and excellent idea.
Social Play was also given an 'always on' video compression and decompression. So far, so leaked - as you can see right here
In social play, however, real names and profiles are to be used, "Most likely seeded from your current social networks" said Cerny in a terribly vague and vaguely threatening manner.
Cerny then stated that 'our final ambition' is Personalisation. With statements such as 'our long term ambition is zero time downloads'. Yes, PS4 will know you so well that it will download games and content that it guesses that you want before you want it.
Think of your wallet… but also the convenience. And also, of course, imagine the Plus nature of this. This will not come for free.
And still a mantra of 'Consumer Focus' and 'Developcentric' rolled on and on.
Next on stage was industry oldster and head man at Sony's recently purchased Cloud Gaming company, Gakai. Perry reeled off the idea that 'Gaming is that the heart of the PS4 experience'. Experience was, in fact, the word of the night.
Perry's main thrust was not Gakai however, it was to bypass Facebook and to create 'the first social network based entirely on gaming'. Perry reinforced the idea that not only can you share gameplay footage, you can actually leap into a friend's game.
He then approached - very quickly and very much at an angle - that question of backwards compatibility. First up, PS Europe was fast to tweet that
, "PS1, PS2 and PS3 games to be playable via the PlayStation cloud service..." as Perry announced that, "PS3 games are not "natively supported" on PS4.