Tuesday, February 26, 2013

4 Things I Liked About the PS4 Announcement

Finally, we know something about the PS4. A lot of it looks awesome. Some of it looks meh. And still more of it is shrouded in mystery. Sony didn't even show us what it will look like! What's up with that?

#1   Do-it-all controller
What Sony did show the world was this: the PS4 controller. It has a touchpad on top, to give it PS Vita/Wii U-like powers. It has a PS Move light sensor in front. (There's also a new camera that has a camera array that's more like the Kinect.) The L2 and R2 trigger buttons are now more similar to those on the Xbox 360 controller, which everyone seems to prefer. And there's a new Share button that lets you share game clips in an instant.

All in all, this controller has got something to please everyone. So predictably, yeah, everyone likes what they're seeing so far. I like Sony's approach to make everything possible. It's up to the developers to make interesting new games given the many tools available.

The new camera.

#2   PC-like, developer-friendly hardware
The PS3 ran on the mighty Cell processor. This was a stunning piece of hardware with one major flaw: it was difficult to develop games for. Developers whined about it for years – especially developers who made games for PC. This time around, Sony is going with an x86 processor, which is the same family of processors found in most modern PCs.

This is important to game developers because if you're making a game for PC and PS4, you don't have to build the game twice. It's doubly important because triple-A titles nowadays are very expensive to develop.

What can gamers expect? Simple. More games that are exclusive to PC will be showing up on the PS4. (That means a truckload of MMO's!) Also, developers should be able to jump right in and make games for the PS4 without too much of a learning curve. Good news for gamers.

#3   8GB of RAM
The other problem of the PS3 was that Sony chose to go cheap on the RAM. The PS3 had a mere 512MB. This shortage of RAM took the blame for lots of graphics issues. No RAM shortage with the PS4. The PS4 will have 8GB, which is all you really need for gaming. The RAM will also be the fancy DDR5 kind. Current PC's use DDR3, so we'll be living in the future with the PS4. That said, DDR5 memory can be found in high-end video cards.

#4 Cloud gaming
Sony's PS4 announcement stood on three legs: the hardware and controller, the games, and the new network. Frankly, the hardware wasn't very exciting – the PS4 will basically be a powerful PC. The games looked really cool, but we've already seen many of them before. The new network though is where the revolution is.

This is cloud gaming. You have streaming of PS3 games. You have predictive downloads. You have video sharing and the ability to watch your friends' games. You have remote play with a PS Vita.

It's the network that makes the PS4 feel like the next generation of gaming. Exciting stuff! The PS4 will be coming out this holiday season. No word on how much. Cross your fingers!

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