PlayStation 4 - Overview

So, did you guys watch the announcement last night? Well if not, today I'm going to go over the main features of the PS4! Now please keep in mind that I'll only be able to cover information that Sony announced, and I will not be talking about any rumors. If Sony didn't flat out say it, then it will not be brought up here! Well anyway, lets get started!

The Controller:

It turns out that the PS4 controller is the controller that has been floating around the net for the past week. As you can see, the PS4 controller is still a lot like the PS1-3; however there are also some core differences and improvements made to the design! First of all, the D-Pad is no longer completely encased in the plastic shell, and it has buttons that are at a slant making it easier to use. It's actually a lot like the Vita's D-Pad and that right there is a big improvement on its own!

The second major difference is that the analog sticks have been updated as well. If you've read my Top 10 Video Game Controller list, you would know that my biggest complaint about their old controller was the analog sticks. Due to the original's rounded top, it was easy for your thumb to slide off, especially when you were playing fighters which required combos such as 421 (left, down, down left). Well anyway, by adding a ring around the top, the grip of the analog sticks has been increased, and that is going to help out quite a bit in the long run!

Other than that, the face buttons are still basically the same, but a few new buttons have been added as well. Now there is actually a "share" button which allows you to actually share videos of your gameplay! You see as you play your games your PS4 is always recording and streaming it live to the internet, so by hitting share you can actually go back and select the times you would wish to upload, then flat out share it to your favorite social networks/with friends! It's a really nice feature, and it makes making gaming videos so much easier!

On top of the share button a touch panel has been added in as well. Apparently it's a lot like the Vita's touch panel, but details on how it'll be used are still limited. It's there, and developers can use it, but we really have no idea HOW they will use it.

Other changes made to the controller include better trigger buttons, and a light on the top of the controller that now shows what player number you are, and the controller also uses a censor bar (placed under or above your TV) to help it tell just where it is located in 3D space.

The Console:

Well, Sony didn't show off what the actual console looks like, but they did share off some of the things it will be able to do! The specs of the system are as followed (for all of you tech junkies out there): 8-core 64-bit x86 central processing unit by AMD, it has a second CPU used only by the system, it's GPU is based on next gen AMD Radeon graphics tech and runs at 1.84 TFLOP/s, the system has 8 GB worth of RAM (which allows for 176 GB/s of bandwidth), and it will feature 802.11 b/g/n Network Connectivity. It also uses USB 3.0, HDMI, and Blue Tooth 2.1.

So, what does all of this mean? Well, it means that it'll be a power house and be able to do things the PS3 can't; although we all already knew that didn't we?

No Wait Times and Background Operations:

According to Sony, the new console is going to be extremely fast, and they wanted to get back to the days of video games where you simply hit the power button and you were playing. Consoles didn't have start up times, you didn't have to wait for a game to load, and all you had to do was turn the console on. Well thanks to  the second CPU, and the way the console is deigned in general, the PS4 will be able to do just that!

There will no longer be load times, the console will start the moment you hit the power button, and it'll also actually start up where you left it when you turned it off! Instead of fully shutting down, when you turn off your console it is going to enter in a very low power state which will save everything that you were doing at a time. Were you in the middle of a game when something came up and you had to leave the house? Well, no problem! Just turn your console off, then come back later and pick up your game right where you left it! Really that right there sounds like a great feature to me, and it is one of the reasons I really liked the PSP and Vita.

Besides that, the second CPU allows for everything to be dealt with in the background on the PS4! Just like with a computer, as you play a game everything else will keep running as well. Downloads will download in the background, updates will download in the background, other apps can be up and running in the background, the social features will be running in the background, and none of it will have any kind of impact on the game you are playing. This is a complete 180 from what the PS3 was, where you could only have a game running and only had access to limit features (such as the friends list) while doing so.

Downloading as you Play:

Another new feature the PS4 will have is the ability to play games as you actually download them! Mixed with Sony's new "fastest internet ever" version of PSN, you will be able to download a game, start playing the game after just a few minutes of wait time, and have the rest of it download as you go through the game. In other words, by the time you reach that next level/area, it'll be downloaded and ready for you to play, and as you do so the next area/level will be downloaded. Basically instead of having to wait a few hours for that 10 GB game to finish, you can just jump in right away.

Streaming and your Friends:

As I said before, there is now a new share button on the PS4 controller that allows you to share video you have streamed; however what I failed to mention is that you are actually STREAMING that video! By clicking on your friends on PSN, you can actually open up a stream of what they are doing at that very moment! A chat box opens up on the right side so you can send messages to them/talk to them (and the other people watching), and you are able to see everything as it happens in real time. On top of that YOU can actually take control of their game if they allow you to, and control it remotely from your PS4! Yep, you can actually play games on other peoples consoles even if you don't own it! Although, this isn't the only way the PS4 uses streaming video!

Vita Connection:

The PS4 will also be able to connect and stream video to the PlayStation Vita as well. You can simply turn the channel on your TV, pick up your Vita, and continue playing on there. No second game is required (unlike the current set up with the PS3 and Vita), and the streaming is seamless! Still, this feature can only be used if you have a Vita, so it's not something everyone will use.

Other Devices:

Although the details are limited here as well, other devices (such as mobile devices) will be able to connect to PSN with a brand new PSN app. This will allow you to interact with your games while you are away from home, and it will be offered on a wide verity of devices.

Tech Demos:

Well to finish off this blog, I figured I would go ahead and post a tech demo or two to show off just what the PS4 can do. Now one of the following demos are from last year, but that doesn't mean it still isn't impressive. Keep in mind that these videos are running completely in real time! This is all in game, and not CGI cutscenes.

Note: I recommend watching these at 720p or 1080p if possible.

List of Games Announced:

Finally, I want to end this blog post with a list of games that were announced for the PS4.

Deep Down - Capcom
Destiny - Bungie (also coming to PS3, Xbox 360, and PC)
Diablo III - Blizzard (also coming to PS3, and Xbox 360)
Driveclub - Evolution Studios
Final Fantasy ? - Square Enix (current number/full title unknown)
Infamous: Second Son - Sucker Punch
Killzone: Shadow Fall - Guerrilla Games
Knack - SCE Japan Studio
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt  -  CD Projekt RED (also coming to PC)
The Witness - Jonathan Blow (also coming to PC and iOS)
Watch_Dogs - Ubisoft

Well that's all for now guys! Although we still don't know how much the console will cost, we do know that it will be coming out THIS HOLIDAY SEASON (Q4 2013)! So if you're interested, I recommend you start saving up!

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