PS4 console; release date, specs and price news
The latest PS4 release date, news and specs information right at your fingertips...
Update: The PS4's competitor is expected to be revealed tonight. Keep up with all the latest news and information in our Xbox 720 release date, news and rumours post.
We were supposed to witness history in the making. The next-generation PlayStation should have made its debut at Sony’s press conference in New York in February – as was rumoured for weeks - however, to the frustration of millions worldwide, the console was nowhere to be seen.
It wasn’t a total loss, however, as we did learn one piece of vital information: the PS4 exists and it will go on sale later this year in selected territories. We also caught a glimpse of the DualShock 4 controller and are privy to exciting details such as specifications and features. Here's what we know so far...
PS4: Release date
The PS4’s European release date is unknown, however, reports claim the console will arrive on UK shores early next year. Stock shortfalls are likely to be the reason for this. When the PS3 first went on sale back in 2006 it was exclusive to US and Japanese customers – we European were forced to wait until March the following year to get our mucky paws on it.
Many analysts and games commentators claim this could be the case with the PS4, which is expected to shift millions of units in 2014 alone. Keeping up with demand in both Japan and the US could lead to potential delays on this side of the pond, however, with Microsoft also rumoured to be releasing its new machine the Xbox 720 next year, Sony wouldn't want to keep gamers waiting too long otherwise it could miss out on its slice of the market share.
Aside from the usual specs – Blu-ray and DVD support, HDMI output etc – the PS4 will house some powerful equipment under its glossy black bonnet. Highlights include USB 3.0 ports and an AMD Radeon-based graphics engine, amongst others. The system’s architecture is very much PC-based to the delight of games developers as this will make it easier for them to code games for both platforms.
The PS4 will also house 8GB of GDDR5 memory, which Sony claims will enable ultra-fast performance - both in terms of gameplay,and load and reboot times. The Japanese firm says users will be able to power down the PS4 mid-game, switch it back and resume gameplay in mere seconds. That, dear readers, is how powerful this machine is.
Games developers have already begun raving about the new console, which some claim to be a "revolution". Mark Simon, a designer on God of War: Ascension claims the PS4 will unlock a host of new ideas and possiblities that devs previously had to ditch simply because the current-generation of consoles aren't powerful enough to host them.
In an interview with games site CVG, he said: "The first thing that hit me was just the power of it.
"It's been a long time since the last generation started so it feels like a significant boost. It means that certain scenarios and ideas that we shied away from in the past, because they were too technically demanding, can be re-examined."
• CPU: single-chip custom processor, x86-64 AMD "Jaguar," 8 cores
• GPU: 1.84 TFLOPS, AMD next-generation Radeon-based graphics engine
• Memory: 8GB GDDR5
• Built-in hard disk drive
• 6X Blu-Ray Drive, 8X DVD
• USB 3 and Auxiliary ports
• Gigabit Ethernet port, 802.11 B/G/N built-in WiFi, and Bluetooth 2.1
Nvidia, a manufacturer of graphics processing units (GPUs) and AMD’s main competitor, recently announced that it will offer its PhysX and Apex technology to PS4 games developers. The firm’s technology, it is claimed, will allow them to construct life-like environments and effects (see video, below).
An official statement by the firm reads: "Game designers use PhysX and APEX technologies for collision detection and simulation of rigid bodies, clothing, fluids, particle systems and more across a wide range of platforms, including desktop PCs, game consoles, and mobile and handheld devices.
"NVIDIA APEX technology lets artists create intricate physics-enabled environments. They can expand the quantity and visual quality of destructible objects; make smoke and other particle-based fluids integral to game play; and create life-like clothing that interacts with the character's body to achieve more realism in their games." That's pretty exciting stuff.
Update: Most business bods struggle to hold their heads high after losing out on a lucrative contract to a rival firm and it would seem that Nvidia's senior vice president of content and development, Tony Tamasi, is no exception.
But instead of taking a jibe at his company's biggest competitor, AMD, which is providing the graphics hardware for the upcoming console, he decided to take a rather cheap swipe at Sony's choice of specifications for its upcoming console. In an interview with a tech website, he said: "Compared to gaming PCs, the PS4 specs are in the neighborhood of a low-end CPU, and a low- to mid-range GPU side.
"If the PS4 ships in December as Sony indicated, it will only offer about half the performance of a GTX680 GPU (based on GFLOPS and texture), which launched in March 2012, more than a year and a half ago." Ouch! Although Tamasi has a point, comparing a PC to a console isn't exactly fair, as consoles cannot be upgraded with new GPUs - a bane for many, including us.
Personally, we cannot wait to see his reaction when the Xbox 720 is announced. According to rumours, AMD is also providing the graphics hardware for Microsoft's console, too!
Alongside the DualShock 4 controller, Sony revealed PlayStation Eye, a camera system that unlocks a host of possibilities on the PS4 including facial recognition and motion-controlled gameplay.
Eye uses two high-sensitivity snappers with wide-angle lenses (1,280 x 800 pixels) and four microphones to pick up players’ movements and sounds – and can recognise them based on this information.
It also distinguishes players using the colour of their DualShock 4 controllers and is able to position them accordingly during split-screen gameplay. Alas, we didn't personally get to see this bad boy in action at the launch in Feb, but if it’s half as good as it sounds then we’re impressed.
DualShock 4 controller
The DualShock 4 controller has similar features to the classic PlayStation pad (including the infamous square, circle, cross and box buttons) but with some new additions including a touchpad, PlayStation Move-like light bar and 3.5mm headphone jack.
We’re yet to discover how these features will contribute to gameplay however we understand that gamers can use the touchpad to control elements of the games, while the light bar will allow users to unlock the technical wizardry inside PlayStation Eye.
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