At a press conference in New York Wednesday evening, Sony officially announced their next-generation console, Playstation 4. Though the console itself wasn't shown, everything from a Holiday 2013 launch window to technical specs to upcoming games were, and all in all it was an impressive display for the company. Sony knows that they have a lot of ground to cover if they want to compete against Microsoft's upcoming Xbox, and it seems to me that they're already on the right track.
According to PS4's system architect Mark Cerny, development of the new console started as early as five years ago, a mere two years after the PS3's troubled launch. Gone will be the days of the developer maligned Cell Processor, which is to be replaced by a new x86 CPU made by AMD. The new CPU is apparently a lot easier to program for and should allow for more parity with various ports from other consoles. Perhaps for once a game's Playstation counterpart won't be the technically inferior version on the market as we've seen time and time again with various releases (I'm looking at you Skyrim and Dishonored).
Sony's new controller, named, not surprisingly DualShock 4 features a touchpad similar to the PSVITA's rear touchpad, a redesigned D-Pad, form fitting triggers and concave Xbox 360-esque analog sticks. The new Share button was prominently featured at the conference as well, it allows "instant" uploading of gameplay footage to the internet. Finally killed a ridiculously difficult dragon in Dark Souls II? Upload the fight in order to share your strategy and help others achieve the same. The Playstation 4 looks to be social media intensified in almost every way, with a Playstation App on the way for use in matchmaking and game purchasing via your iPhone or Droid. These seem like really cool features for the Next-Gen and something that I'm personally looking forward to exploring come launch.
One sadly unsurprising fact of the Playstation 4 is that it won't be backwards compatible in the traditional sense. Your PS3 Blu-Ray games as well as any game you've previously downloaded from the PSN will not be playable on the PS4 due to the new hardware found inside the console itself. This won't be a problem for someone like me who has 6 systems hooked up at once, but for the average consumer this might prove to be a huge stumbling block for Sony come release. However, Sony plans to at least somewhat solve this problem thanks to their recent purchase of Gaikai, a company known for developing cloud gaming services for various platforms. You should be able to stream any Playstation game, past or present, at the touch of a button, which is a pretty nifty approach in my opinion.
So sure, they didn't reveal what the actual console looks like or how much it will cost, but overall I'd say that Wednesday's conference was a success. It's smart that they didn't show everything yesterday, since I'm sure they'll want to release new information throughout the entire year leading up to the Holiday launch.
This weekend I'll be posting some looks at the various games that were shown off, but in the meantime what did you think of Sony's big reveal? Excited? Scared? Angry? All three? Let me know in the comments here, on Facebook, or on Twitter.