Playstation 4 News Conference

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2/21/2013

We all seen the much hyped about Sony News Conference. What I thought was only going to last about an hour, turned out to be two hours of nothing but the PS4. Good for Sony, but bad for us. Why you ask, I will explain.

Where is the console? Great, you announce it and show off the controller (which I will get to later), but where is the main attraction itself. I want to know what it looks like, the size of it, if it can stand up or has to be laid down. Granted, right now, that is not that important to most of us. Planning for the future, on where to call it home, would be a nice touch. Not even a CG glimpse of a few prototypes or the stages it went through in design. After two hours about the console, I would expect at least to get a glimpse of it. I felt ripped off after it was over it. Maybe E3 will be the true unveiling of the look and design of the console.

While they did announce some of the specs of the PS4, not everything was laid out in front of us. The x86 CPU is a nice feature for the programmers. They should love that over the Cell they had to work around in the PS3. My question is, what are the specs on the processor itself? Is it 2.5GHz, is it 4.0GHz, we don’t know that yet. The speed could be a huge difference in how games can run and how much bandwidth the system can feed itself. I will give them props that an 8-Core CPU is pretty impressive, no doubt.  Since every PS4 will be built the exact same way, will the developers be able to utilize all 8-Cores of the processor? If so, we could see some very impressive games coming in the future with minimal lag in them.

According to Sony it will have a massive internal HDD. This actually scares me a little bit. By “internal” do they mean that it will not be replaceable? Will it still use standard laptop HDD drives? Hopefully it won’t be proprietary like the X360. How big is this massive drive they are talking about? Is it 250GB? Is it 500GB or will they jump up and place a 1TB inside? My thoughts are that they have to at least include a 500GB drive inside to justify the massive claim.

Then we get to the GPU. This is even a bigger mystery itself. Does this thing even have any memory to it at all? If it does, then what would open up the power of the PS4 to an even higher degree. With the console sporting 8GB of RAM in total, I would sure hope it does. I would be willing to take a guess that the entire 8GB of RAM would be used for the entire system, not just for games. Some of my guessing could be off here, but let me run it through for you.

The OS itself, with everything Sony says it could do, will use approx. 1 GB of memory.

The CPU with 8-Cores will use about 512MB of RAM

The GPU itself could be flexible, needing at little as 256MB or up to 4GB depending on how graphical each game is, which does include particles, color shading, effects and so forth.

Then there are the games themselves. By looking at some of the demos being displayed (for example Capcom’s Deep Down) I could see games themselves using about 2GB for performance.

In all, right there, we are using up to 7.5GB out of the available 8GB of total RAM. Like I stated before, I could be totally off on that number. To be honest, I really hope that I am. I would like to see most of the 8GB of RAM used for games. I have a feeling that is not going to happen though.

Then there is one of the most important parts of the console itself, the Dualshock4. Just from some visual inspections of it I would say that it is longer in length and slightly thicker in design. Nothing wrong with that at all, as long as Sony finds the sweet spot for balance. Having either the front or back of the controller heavier than the other side can be a big turn off. There is nothing worse than having to try and hold an off balance controller for an extended period of time. The aesthetics of the controller are really well done. The palm rests seem to be skinner and longer at the same time. The action buttons also seem to be bigger and the placement of them looks to be pretty spot on. The directional buttons do have a small slop to them leading towards the center. This could be really useful in placing your thump directly in the center and quickly just leaning it one way or the other to activate a skill or dodge even quicker. The shoulder buttons seem to be small though which might be a bad thing. My fingers already slip off the DS3 when under heavy use. Smaller ones might make that stand out even more. I do like the slight curve of the L2 and R2 buttons to help minimize that.

 Then of course there is the main attraction and the first thing that draws your eyes to the controller, the touchpad. I am not exactly sure on what this thing can and will do, but it is interesting never less. With the lack of a Select and Start button, the touch pad could be utilized for many different things. It doesn’t seem to be an LCD screen. I am guessing from some of the photos, it looks more like the back of the PS Vita. I can see this being incorporated into games where a certain action is needed to be done. For example, you have to spin around a swinging spiked pole, dodge a sword being thrown at you, work your way across a raging river by jumping on some stones, the list could go on and on. These actions could be done by making certain gestures on the touchpad. Whether it be by copying a design displayed on the screen, sliding your finger(s) in a circular motion or even doing a double tap to jump. Multiple finger gestures could be developed into the games as well. It will be interesting to see what developers can come up. Hopefully it will be used and not just a gimmick.

We come across what some could consider the more important part of the controller, the joysticks. I am all for a concave top. The round tops that normally come on the Dualshocks can be very frustrating. I can’t even being to tell you how many times my thumbs have slipped off after the texture begins to wear down. I am really thrilled to see that not only are they not round anymore but they have a nice little “ring” around them as well. The “ring” seems to be acting as a small sidewall to help hold your thumbs in place. I just hope they are a stiff material and not some spongy soft rubber that will fold over when pressed against.

Overall I say the PS4 is a great leap over the current PS3. It is more of a multimedia machine then anything Sony has created before. Let’s just hope that they don’t go overboard with all the little features it can do and forget first and foremost that it is a gaming machine.

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