The PlayStation 4 is Sony's entry into The Eighth Generation of Console Video Games
. It was released in North America on November 15, 2013 for the retail price of $399 and in Europe on November 29, 2013 for the retail price of €399 (£349 in the UK). The Japanese release is set for February 22, 2014 for ¥38,980.
Traditionally, Sony developed their own chips for use in their consoles. However, developers complained that these chips were hard to program for. Allegedly there was a lack of proper documentation. And none of the processors Sony developed went beyond the PlayStation
application, such as Sony hoping the Cell in the PlayStation 3
would have a good chunk in the supercomputer market.
As a result, Sony asked what the developers wanted in their new system. In the end, AMD's Jaguar platform was selected and the system will pack 8GB of very fast GDDR5 memory. This had two advantages. The first is that AMD's platform uses the ubiquitous x86-64 architecture, the very one that powers your PCs. Since x86-64 is a popular and a relatively old architecture (debuted in 2004, with x86 itself debuting in 1978), there's plenty of experience and support for the part. The second is that memory is not only plentiful, it's very, very fast. Memory budgets, both the amount and the speed, were always a bane to video game programmers. With this improvement in memory alone, Sony expects the PlayStation 4 to have a long lifespan.
At the announcement conference, Sony only showed the DualShock 4 controller and some of the new upcoming features. The biggest one was the new sharing feature which allow players to stream their games over services such as Twitch.tv. The console itself was revealed later at E3 2013, along with whatever footage developers who were making games.
The DualShock 4 received an overhaul over the previous generations of the controller. The handles are now a bit bulbous and the triggers and thumb sticks are concave, making it more ergonomic. The "Start" and "Select" button were replaced with "Options" and "Share" button, the former more or less renamed while the latter is to start the sharing features. In the center is a clickable touch pad and below that a speaker. The bottom of the controller features a headphone jack for voice chat or if the player wants, all of the audio from the console can be sent over the jack when headphones are plugged in. Lastly on the top of the controller is a light bar similar to the PlayStation Move's scepter, which serves as a status of the controller when not engaging in Move-based titles.
Major features of the console is it's region free and with none of the DRM that Microsoft was (at the time) planning to implement with the Xbox One
. While game installs are mandatory, it supports a "install as you play" feature for games called PlayGo like the Xbox One. As with the PlayStation 3, the hard drive is user replaceable, however, there's no support for external memory (at the moment anyway). There is also a much improved remote play feature to the Play Station Vita
that basically turns the Vita into the tablet controller included in the Wii U
. However, because of its use of a completely different architecture, it will not be backwards compatible
with any previous generation PlayStation games offline. But, Sony will use the Gaikai cloud gaming service, similar to that of OnLive for older PlayStation family games.
While PlayStation Plus is required for online multiplayer, only one subscription is required per console, meaning multiple user accounts can use the same subscription. The subscription will also carry over from the PlayStation 3. The benefits still remain, such as free games and discounts, but subscribers may also have early access to some content.
The head of Sony Computer Entertainment has interest in the Oculus Rift virtual reality HMD
, to the point where it's likely the HMD will be supported.
Unlike the PlayStation 3, which didn't produce a net profit until 2011, nearly five years into its lifespan, Sony expects to break even on PS4 at launch through the sale of online subscriptions, accessories, and games. They also lofted a very ambitious goal of shipping 4 million units by 1 January 2014. This goal seems more realistic when it's pointed out that the console sold 1 million units in its first 24 hours
, and the fact that it currently has 2.1 million units sold after being released on Europe.
- AMD "Jaguar" Accelerated Processing Unit (A CPU & GPU on a single chip)
- The CPU has eight x86-64 cores running at 1.6GHz each.
- The "Liverpool" GPU contains 1152 GPU shaders and runs at 800 MHz, for a performance rated at 1.84 TFLOPS.
- 8 GB GDDR5 system memory running at 5.5GHz with a total bandwidth of 176GB/s. Third-party reports are conflicting but generally agree that the console reserves somewhere between 2.5 and 3.5 GB for the operating system.
- 500 GB Hard Drive. Can be replaced with any 2.5" hard drive.
- Blu-ray drive rated for 6x speed, or about 27 MB per second.
- 1080p output standard.
- 4K Resolution support for some content.
- OpenGL 4.2 API support.
- Performance rated at 25.6 gigapixels per second and 51.2 gigatexels per second.
- 1 HDMI in port; 1 optical audio out port
- 2 USB 3.0 ports
- 1 Gigabit Ethernet port.
- 802.11n and Bluetooth 2.1 wireless capabilities.
- 1 Aux port for the PlayStation Eye camera