Last night, we finally got our first glimpse at the future of next-gen technology. Sony took the stage to announce the PS4, while numerous developers shared the stage and announced some upcoming PS4 titles. (Or, in Square Enix’s case, they showed an old tech trailer from E3 2012 and then announced an upcoming announcement for Final Fantasy at E3 2013.) Now, we’ve got some new reports about a few other titles coming to the PS4 within a year’s time, as well as some details about the new PlayStation Eye that will come pre-packaged with the system.
First, let’s take a look at the new PlayStation Eye:
The upgraded peripheral now sports dual cameras and improved tracking ability, as well as built-in microphones allowing for voice controls. According to SCE Worldwide Studios President Shuhei Yoshida, as revealed during an article with Destructoid, the Eye’s new functionality will allow the two high-definition stereoscopic cameras to take 3D images. He also hinted at it’s potential use for augmented reality games. The detailed specs can be found below:
Additionally, we have the detailed specifications for the new DualShock 4 controller:
Some other new features concerning the DualShock 4 are the share button, which allows players to share screenshots and gameplay videos via social media applications, and a light sensor in the back. The light sensor was described during the conference as being used to differentiate players during couch co-op, but as of this morning we have another example of potential applications. Much like the Move controller, the light sensor will allow the PS4 Eye to track the controller creating the potential for gesture controls. Additionally, as detailed during a post-conference press release, the light sensor can also be used as a health bar indicator; shifting color to indicate lower health. There is no longer a “start” or “select” button, instead replaced by a consolidated “options” button. Overall, Sony says the new controller has an overall better quality to it, giving the analog sticks and trigger buttons a better “feel”.
Getting back to software, In addition to the announcements of inFAMOUS: Second Son and Killzone: Shadow Fall, CD Projekt RED formally announced that The WItcher 3: Wild Hunt “will be released in 2014 simultaneously on all high-end platforms available,” obviously including the PS4. On the subject of the PS4 specifically, studio head of CD Projekt RED Adam Badowski said, “We were thrilled when asked, several months ago, to be one of the developers who were granted early access to the PlayStation 4.” “After yesterday’s PlayStation Meeting we can finally promise: The Witcher 3 is coming to the PlayStation 4,” he continued. “The new hardware gives us the opportunity to create something great. We are able to work with the new console from its birth and this allows our in-house REDengine 3 to push the graphical limits of what the PlayStation hardware can display. The console is fresh and has some innovative solutions that we’re looking forward to using in our game”
As a final update, Sony also confirmed that current PSN purchases made on the PS3 will NOT carry over to the PS4. Yoshida cited that the difference in technology between consoles is simply too great to support any kind of backwards compatibility, and that the company does not want to use up the system’s power to run emulation software. As far as accessing old PlayStation titles, the recently-acquired cloud-based Gaikai will be developing the PlayStation cloud, with the lofty goal of eventually allowing any device to access and run any PlayStation title from any era. “Everything, everywhere,” was the statement made by Gaikai while on stage at the PS4 conference last night.
[Update: Sony has confirmed to Destructoid that it has the ability to honor PSN purchases made through its cloud service. Given the PS4’s focus on streaming content, the idea would be to allow access to previously purchased PSN content via the cloud streaming service. Sony did not, however, specifically mention that they would allow for this to happen. Why they wouldn’t simply confirm this ability as a feature of the PS4 is beyond me, but hopefully it’s not because they plan on forcing customers to repurchase previously owned content; A regrettable mistake that Wii U owners are all too familiar with.
That’s all the breaking news for this morning. Check back soon for more updates surrounding the PS4 hardware and software lineup, which will hopefully include a screenshot of the console design itself. Although, it’s likely Sony will hold off on releasing the actually console design until their E3 spotlight.
Are you excited for the next-gen consoles to usher in a new wave of powerful technology? What types of improvements are you looking forward to in terms of game design? I for one can’t wait to see what developers can do with higher polygon counts, texture resolutions, and advanced AI mechanics.