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Published on March 5th, 2013 | by Anders

Impressions: PS4 announcment

While PS4 has impressive hardware, strengths will be software and functionality

Even though the public has not seen the shiny new box that will be the Playstation 4, at least gamers have a detailed sketch of its hardware and functionality.

Its been seven years since the release of the Playstation 3. This console generation, while not the longest in gaming history, has been substantial considering the innovations and changes that the industry has experienced. The graphical improvements have been significant and a slew of motion controllers have changed the way that the mainstream demographic thinks of games. Mobile platforms and digital distribution have also changed how consumers access and play games.

Internet communities have been inspired by the work of game developers. In addition to playing games, gamers look for videos of games on YouTube and share their own experiences over streaming platforms and social media.

Innovations such as Xbox Live Party Chat (which is in my opinion one of the greatest accomplishments of the last generation) change the way that players interact with each other over the internet. Online multiplayer services have become their own social spheres, allowing players to keep in touch with their existing friends and meet entirely new ones online.

It seems as though the Playstation 4 has accounted for all of these improvements on paper. And if Sony’s claims are true, there are a lot of things to be excited for when the new system releases:

Dedicated processor for downloading games in the background:

While the Xbox and Playstation both have the ability to do this now, a dedicated CPU for completing this task will make the interface much smoother. If the PS4 can incorporate its own version of party chat with this extra chip  while simultaneously playing games, the results will be awesome.

Social media integration and dedicated video compression and uploading:

While there are currently many capture devices available that allow gamers to share and edit gameplay, a system that is integrated into the console operating system would be much more convenient. The ability to hit a button on the controller and capture footage would be much better than setting up a laptop and worrying about logging and capturing footage.

The additional processor also handles video uploads and compression, allowing players to quickly cut a clip, and go on playing the game while the video uploads in the background.

Playstation’s partnership with Ustream does not seems ideal however. An incredibly strong community of YouTubers has been built over the past couple of years and its difficult to foresee audiences making the switch to a new video platform. But of course, it is impossible to predict how internet audiences react come launch day.

Software:

While a launch lineup has not been confirmed by Sony, Watch Dogs, Killzone: Shadow Fall, Drive Club, InFamous: Second Son, Destiny and The Witness all look like excellent contenders. The success of a console launch linked to its launch lineup, and PS4 should have a strong one.

Gaikai, game streaming and backwards compatibility:

While the PS4 will not be backwards compatible, Sony Computer Entertainment has partnered with the game streaming service, Gaikai, to provide gamers with hundreds of titles. Sony’s goal is to make all PSone PS2 and PS3 titles available over this streaming service.

While pricing has not been announced, it will allow players to try games out for free.

For consumers that have a large collection of PS3 games, the lack of backwards compatibility will be very disheartening.

While Sony may be reveling in the exposure, nothing has been heard from the Xbox corner. It will be very interesting to see the two behemoths duke it out come E3 this year.

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About the Author

Anders Anders Howmann works as a city reporter for the Orange County Register by day and a contributor for Pixelegends.com by night.



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