Since the PlayStation brand was first introduced in 1994 by Sony Computer Entertainment, the three home consoles have been a dominant force in the gaming world. From Christmas 2013, gamers can now also get their hands on Sony’s latest offering, the imaginatively named, PlayStation 4.
The PlayStation 4 has been deemed the first in Sony’s new generation of consoles as it was revealed this February in the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York’s Manhattan Center. The power that comes with the new model is far greater than previous Sony and Microsoft consoles. Sony hopes to set a new standard for gaming, with astoundingly lifelike graphics and more believable game play and virtual worlds.
New features of the PS4 include the redesign of the now iconic controller which has been relatively unchanged since the PS2. The new version will not only have a curvier shape but will also have a touchpad and a blue reflector strip which will interact with a PlayStation Eye camera that is included with the console. This will enable the technology to form a motion-sensing system.
Following with the increasingly interactive ways in which we can now share information, the console will also be able to connect to smartphones, which will enable users to chat with fellow PS4 gamers and even control their console remotely.
Other new features will include connecting to the cloud and the internet where games can be hosted. This will enable past PlayStation consoles to be playable as well as larger amounts of interactivity between you and your friends. You will be able to record gameplay then share this information by pressing the new ‘share’ button on the controller. The PS4 will also be able to stream games to the PlayStation Vita handheld console via wireless technology. Economically, this technology will also cut costs on compatibility chips, which will also make manufacturing more cost effective.
Games already lined up to work with Sony’s new model is Diablo III from Blizzard, Bungie’s first-shooter game Destiny, and Ubisoft’s hacking game, Watch Dogs.
After the success of its most popular console, the PS2, Sony was then struck with disappointing PS3 sales figures. Firstly, the initial price for the home console at £393 was deemed as being too high. Alongside this, the timing for launching the product was unfortunate as a year earlier, the popular Xbox 360 was launched in the US and Japan. Sony was also curtailed by a shortage of supplies which meant the launch dates in Europe and Australia had to be pushed back by four months. By 2012, the PS3 had eventually become more established with a sales figure increase to 43% alongside its rivals the Wii and Xbox 360. So will Sony learn from the mistakes of its past model and work to keep the PS4 price down? Gamers will hope so.
However, amongst the details shared in New York, Sony was noticeably quiet on any price announcements for the PS4. Some speculate that this is because they are holding this information for the upcoming E3 gaming conference held in Los Angeles in June. Keep a look out on tech websites such as Visopix for more updates. After making an initial loss in PS3 sales, Sony could be put under financial strain if the same was repeated with its new console. This latest reveal echoes the timing of the PS3 as Microsoft are in the process of putting the finishing touches to their successor of its Xbox 360. So will this clash of consoles put a spanner in Sony’s works as it did back when the PS3 was hoping for similar successes experienced by the PS2?
Stewart Kibbs is a freelancer writer specialising in technology.