Useful Notes: PlayStation 4

aka: Playstation 4

Greatness Awaits.

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, in Europe on November 29, 2013 for the retail price of 399 (349 in the UK) and in Japan on 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 due to poor documentation and complicated designs. Additionally, none of the processors Sony developed went beyond the PlayStation application as Sony had hoped. The Cell processor in the PlayStation 3 for instance failed to break into the supercomputer market despite various attempts.

As a result, Sony asked what the developers wanted in their new system. This led to AMD's Jaguar platform being selected, along with 8GB of very fast GDDR5 memory. Each has its own advantages: AMD's platform uses the x86-64 architecture that powers most PCs. Since x86-64 is a popular, long-running architecture (debuted in 2004, with x86 itself debuting in 1978), there's plenty of developer experience with it. Meanwhile, 8GB of GDDR5 deals with issues of both the size and speed of memory budgets, a constant bane to video game programmers.

The DualShock controller also received an overhaul. The DualShock 4 is more ergonomic, with slightly bulbous handles and concave triggers and thumb sticks. The "Start" and "Select" button were replaced with an "Options" button for game menus and a "Share" button to access sharing features. A clickable touch pad and speaker were added to the middle of the unit. The bottom of the controller features a headphone jack for voice chat or full audio. Lastly, the controller features a light bar on the top, similar to the PlayStation Move's scepter for move support or general status / mood indications depending on the game.

The console is region free, and launched without the online DRM that Microsoft planned to implement for Xbox One in 2013. While game installs are mandatory, PS4 supports a "install as you play" feature on digital and retail games. As with the PlayStation 3, the hard drive is user replaceable. A PlayStation Vita remote play feature adds similar functionality as the Wii U's tablet controller. Due to the PS4's different chip architecture, the system is not backwards compatible with any previous generation PlayStation games. However, the PlayStation Now service provides streaming for older generation games.

Online multiplayer, except for "free-to-play" or subscription games, requires a PlayStation Plus subscription. However, only one subscription is required per console, meaning multiple user accounts can use the same subscription. The subscription also carries over from the PlayStation 3 and Vita. Benefits like free monthly games, discounts and early access content are also provided with the subscription.

Support for VR head mounted displays such as Sony's Project Morpheus and Oculus Rift is currently in development.

Unlike the PlayStation 3, which didn't produce a net profit until 2011, nearly five years into its lifespan, Sony broke even on PS4 at launch through the sale of online subscriptions, accessories, and games. Sony sold 4.2 million units by January 1st 2014, and 6 million by March 3rd 2014, making it the fastest selling console of all time.

Technical specifications

Processors
  • AMD "Jaguar" Accelerated Processing Unit (A CPU & GPU on a single chip), Liverpool variant
    • The CPU has eight x86-64 cores (consisting of two quad-core silicon fused together) running at 1.6GHz each.
    • The GPU contains 1152 GPU shaders and runs at 800 MHz, for a performance rated at 1.84 TFLOPS.
  • ARM-type low-power processor for background processes, network tasks, security and streaming.

Memory
  • 8 GB GDDR5 system memory running at 5.5GHz with a total bandwidth of 176GB/s.
    • 2.5 to 3.5 GB reserved for the operating system.
    • Heterogeneous System Architecture provides a common memory space shared between CPU and GPU.
  • 256 MB RAM chip for secondary ARM processor.
  • 500 GB Hard Drive. Can be replaced with any 2.5" hard drive, including SSDs.
  • Blu-ray drive rated for 6x speed, or about 27 MB per second.

Graphics
  • 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.

Connectivity
  • 1 HDMI output 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

Games announced or released


Alternative Title(s):

Play Station 4