Playstation 4: Sony’s Next Gen Console
Console: Playstation 4
Launch date: 29th November 2013 (Friday)
Comes with: black console, one wireless controller, a headset, power cord, HDMI cable and USB cable for charging controller.
What you should consider: As with the Xbox One, many of the launch titles for the Playstation 4 are new entries in long established franchises, promising a solid experience for veteran gamers exposed to Playstation 3 games, and for those new to the system, high quality introductions to said franchises. There are crossover titles with the Xbox One, including Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, Battlefield 4, Call of Duty: Ghosts, Just Dance 2014, Need for Speed: Rivals, and Watch Dogs to name but a few.
There are also notable titles exclusive to Playstation 4, not least #DriveClub offering a shared, more co-operative style of racing game. Created by Evolution Studios who impressed many with their Motorstorm series on the Playstation 3, the game has a pedigree behind it sure to attract racing fans. Killzone: Shadow Fall is another established franchise key to Sony’s launch, and will differentiate itself from the other two first person shooter games launching at the same time: Call of Duty: Ghosts and Battlefield 4, or indeed may help appeal to fans of the genre who simply cannot get enough action from their shiny new system.
Equally of note is Sony’s strategy to include free-to-play titles on its system, including Warframe and Blacklight: Retribution, promising third and first person action respectively. This gives greater parity between the PC as a games platform and traditional consoles, and is a great way to provide gamers with choice, reducing some of the risk of buying a brand new game retailing for £40-50, only to find out you either finish it in a week or dislike it after two. Of course, the free-to-play games will offer incentives and transactions of their own but these come after the player has had time to decide whether they are enjoying what they are playing. With the advent of phone and tablet gaming, customers are used to being confronted with pay-to-play content in games such as Candy Crush Saga and so Sony are blending the best elements of mobile and PC gaming here.
The Playstation 4’s specifications have been explicitly designed to please game developers, in addition to making the machine a real powerhouse versus its competition. This comes from the legacy of the Playstation 3, which had a custom chip, named “Cell” at its heart. Whilst it was indeed a powerful machine, developers found it sometimes tricky to program for, and so the Xbox 360 often became the standard platform developers used to showcase games. In some cases, performance differences were noted between certain games running on the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360, with Playstation 3 faring the worst. Happily, Sony have altered this approach; a prime example of this is the RAM in the new Playstation 4, which is able to access and push through data far quicker than the GDDR3 RAM seem in the Xbox 360. This should ensure developers feel empowered rather than daunted, and in later years should mean high quality results in game features, graphics or load times that may not be replicable on the Xbox 360. The official Playstation website promises that the Playstation 4 is “tuned specifically to their [developers] needs.”
Two promising features that Sony have ready to unleash are integration and connection between Playstation 4 and the PSP Vita, and their online gaming network, Playstation Network. The Playstation Network has developed into a worthwhile paid service, predominantly because of Playstation Plus. It offers an Instant Game Collection service, whereby subscribers can download highly-rated or recently released games as part of their annual or monthly charge. This is a service well-received by gamers and will only become stronger as the march towards Playstation 4 continues.
Connectivity with the PSP Vita will enhance the features already seen between Playstation 3 and PSP Vita where users can save games or compete in multiplayer across the two platforms. This is not dissimilar to the approach Nintendo have taken by allowing their new tablet controller to continue playing games away from the television screen. Sony and Nintendo are taking gaming down new and exciting avenues, and it remains to be seen the exciting prospects this kind of portable-to-console play has in store for gamers.
CPU: AMD “Jaguar” 8 cores, x86-64
GPU: AMD RaedonTM based, 1.84 TFLOPS
RAM: 8GB GDDR5
Storage: 500GB HDD
Optical: Blu-Ray/DVD drive
Full list of games* available at launch**:
Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag
Call of Duty: Ghosts
DC Universe Online
Just Dance 2014
Killzone: Shadow Fall
Lego Marvel Superheroes
Madden NFL 25
Need for Speed: Rivals
Pool Nation Extreme
Skylanders: Swap Force
* – Some titles are downloadable only.
** – Sony have explicitly said all titles will be available by the end of 2013.