New console boasts extreme connectivity, simplicity and a more accessible back-end, but keeps its cards largely close to its chest.
Sony’s Playstation 4 conference today revealed the name of the console, the look and feel of the new Dual Shock 4 controller, a holiday period launch window and a host of developer support.
A few things leap out from the things Sony chose to stress during the conference – firstly that it knows (between the lines) that the obtuse nature of the Cell processor was a barrier to entry for many developers, and secondly that it wanted to prove a change in the winds, which it did successfully by announcing developer after developer after developer.
So crowded was the stage that the recaps of what people saw seemed quite necessary.
Key wins for Sony on the software side included the first trailer for Braid creator Jonathan Blow’s The Witness (considering Braid was originally an Xbox exclusive), more details on Destiny from Bungie and Activision and an impressive demonstration of how the console’s power can interact with the Move controller by Media Molecule (althought it wasn’t attached to a game as yet).
Meanwhile the push towards interconnectivity between devices was heavy, with boasts of ongoing socialising taking place on smartphones outside of gaming, of the Vita being able to handle scaled down versions of games to share the television, and the addition of a ‘share’ button on the new controller which allows instant sharing of photos, videos and more.
Sharing was also a big focus for Sony, with it going so far as to use its recently-aquired GaiKai streaming technology to allow people to play each other’s games remotely when in need of assistance.
The new controller also sports a touch screen and much more sensitive tracking of motion thanks to the LED from the new Playstation Camera.
It wasn’t all roses – there were scant details on the console itself and, truth be told, the Vita-inclusion is remarkably similar to the Wii U’s tech, while the new camera looks awfully familiar as well.
Alongside that, the new games on show were often not demonstrating gameplay, or were, but were also going to be available for current gen consoles. There was some downright gorgeous visuals, and some inspiring people talking the console up, but there’s still a long way for Sony to go from this initial concept phase through to launch hype.
Either way, Sony’s vision for next gen is now clear, even if its specifics aren’t. Microsoft has the next move.