By Claire Reilly
Sony Computer Entertainment has unveiled the “future of play” at the launch of the PlayStation 4 in New York this morning. But while the brand revealed the device’s name, a new controller for the next generation console and some of the games that will be launched for the PS4, the actual console box was notably absent from the event.
Sony also declined to reveal pricing and availability of the new product, only revealing that it would be available for the “Holiday” period in 2013.
What was not absent from the event was the pomp and ceremony that has come to be expected from these sorts of global launches, with Sony trotting out a number of game developers from across the world and putting on an impressive display of light shows and fast-action 3D graphics.
Taking to the stage at the launch, the Group CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment, Andrew House, said the “stakes are high” for Sony’s latest launch, and that the company had strived to deliver the best possible product, with the needs and wants of gamers at its core.
“Today marks a moment of truth and a bold step forward for Sony,” he said. “We are reconceptualising how the next generation gamer will want to play…now the consumer is changing us.”
“The living room is no longer the centre of the PlayStation ecosystem — the gamer is,” he added. “We must give gamers the kinds of multi-dimensional experiences they not only expect, but quite frankly deserve.
“Today we are revealing the genesis of an expanding idea of the future of play.”
Sony’s lead system architect for the PlayStation 4, Mark Cerny, also took to the stage to share details of what would be inside the mysteriously absent console box. According to Cerny, the PS4 was developed with five words in mind: “Simple, Immediate, Social, Integrated and Personalised”.
However, perhaps gauging the jargon-fatigue of the audience, he admitted that “these are just words”, and proceeded to outline the internal elements of the device, saying the PS4’s architecture was “like a PC in many ways, but supercharged”.
For the serious hardware fans, Cerny listed the new features including an X86 CPU, an Enhanced PC GPU for graphics and 8GB of system memory. There is also an updated controller, known as the Dual Shock 4 Controller, which features a touchpad “as a new form of input” as well as a headphone jack and a dedicated Share button “to enhance social interactions”.
The PlayStation Network will also get a social makeover, with options for consumers to share games with friends in real time, follow and spectate other gamers and create a network of “real world friends”. The Network store will also allow gamers to try new games before they buy them.
While there was plenty to tease consumers and, indeed, the retailers that will be selling the device, the firm details about when the PS4 will hit stores, how much it will cost and event the basics of what it will look like were all missing. And with a “Holiday” (presumably Christmas) launch date, it will be months until Australians can learn more.
Sony Computer Entertainment's lead system architect for the PlayStation 4, Mark Cerny, reveals the new controller for the console.