After almost six years on the European market it seems the PS3 may be nearing retirement. Its successor – the imaginatively named Playstation 4 – was recently announced at a two-hour long press event in New York, although some rather key information was absent. If you were hoping for images of the console itself or a price-tag then you are going to be disappointed.
What we do have is a solid idea of the PS4’s specifications which, in a clear reaction to early development issues on the PS3, are much closer to the architecture of a PC or an Xbox than its predecessor.
Key to this is the presence of an eight-core x86-64 AMD Jaguar processor, a new GPU roughly on par with an AMD Radeon HD 7850 and 8GB of speedy GDDR5 RAM to share between them. For those who I have just confused – the PS4 will be significantly more powerful than the PS3. Technically speaking it is not as powerful as a high end PC but considering the PS3 has been making do with 512MB of RAM, which is less than you will find in many smartphones, it’s a colossal improvement.
The fact that the hardware inside the PS4 is similar to PC hardware should also help developers transition between the two platforms, making their lives easier and hopefully our games better. If the impressive early demos are anything to go by we’re already seeing the results of this restructure.
Another important addition is the extra processing core which will mean PS4 users will finally be able to perform tasks such as downloading in the background without having to stop what they are doing. Present are also a speedier Blu-Ray drive and USB 3.0 ports along with an internal hard drive, although the capacity is currently unknown
While Sony didn’t reveal what the console will look like the new controller was shown off, sporting a front-facing touchpad and a lightbar to use in conjunction with the new Playstation Eye. The change Sony seemed most enthusiastic about however was the all-new share button. That extra processing core will be constantly recording your gameplay so that with a touch of the share button you can, edit and upload your last 15 minutes of gameplay to social networks. You will also have the ability to stream your gameplay live to others, chat with viewers and even have the ability to ask a friend to take over your controller to help out if you get stuck.
Something that will probably annoy many is the PS4 will not natively support PS3 games. There are plans to provide a game streaming service that will include a catalogue of all legacy Playstation games but it does not seem that this service will be ready for launch.
With much yet to be revealed about the PS4 anyone interested is advised to pay attention to this year’s E3 where more information about the console, and its competitors, should be revealed before its holiday 2013 launch.