Sony reveals the PS4
It's been seven years since the PS3 came out. We've seen the Sony PlayStation brand blow up ever since its start with the PlayStation in 1995. Ever since then, the graphics have encountered major upgrades, the games have become more immersive and the worlds these games have been set in have become more expansive and realized in the developers' eyes. However, on Feb. 20, we got an exclusive look into the future to see where Sony will take the gaming world next with the PlayStation 4, set to be released this holiday season.
To the thousands of gamers who saw the conference, its announcement and revealing was quite unexpected. What Sony showed off was of similar fashion to that of E3, the massive gaming expo that takes place every June. After doing an initial business "keyword" talk about interactivity, integration and creativity, the real show began when the lead architect designer came out to show off the product. As expected, the graphical leap from PS3 to PS4 was minimal in comparison to the tremendous leap from PS2 to PS3. The focus this time was graphical detail: more polygons with each character and more diverse worlds for the players to live in. The worlds will be bigger, more immersive and more expansive. At one point, they showed 1 million polygons falling into a detailed city, which aimed to show how realistically a mass of objects interacted accordingly with the world around them.
In addition to the visual upgrade, Sony also revealed their new altered controller - the first time they've altered their DualShock design. It boasts a touch pad in the middle, removing the start and select buttons. It also slightly alters the analog sticks and back buttons to be more user-friendly. The coolest feature that they showed off in relation to the console's power was also its simplest: the ability to turn your system on and start playing exactly where you left it, with no boot uptime at all. My thought is that this will lead into the games themselves where loading is minimal to non-existent.
Then came the less exciting reveal - the social side of the new system. My worry immediately skyrocketed because I felt the rest of the show would be dedicated to Sony's focus on bringing the community together. The new main menu, it seems, is something similar to Facebook or Twitter where you have a picture and your latest gaming events lined up in a timeline on the left. With the PS4, we now have the ability to insert ourselves into our friends' single-player game if they're having a tough time. I don't personally see the need for it, but it could become a cool feature if used properly. Also, included on the controller is a "Share" button where at any point in a game you can press it and take a screenshot, or capture a video to send to the World Web.
Then came the games! No one was sure exactly what Sony would be showing off but they shocked us all when game developer after game developer came out to show us their creations. There was "Killzone: Shadow Fall," which showed off the most epic scope possible for first-person shooters. "InFamous: Shadow Son" follows a group of superheroes in the near future as they attempt to combat the much-prevailing security taken by the "World's Police." Bungie, the creators of "Halo," revealed their plans to bring "Destiny," their new epic, to the PS4 and Witness. The creators of "Braid," showed off another indie game about an island that you must discover using hundreds of different puzzles. "Driveclub" from the creators of the "Motorstorm" & "Wipeout" series, is a somewhat intriguing racer that speaks highly of its community-based features. "LittleBigPlanet" creator Alex Evans showed off a new approach to the PlayStation Move, which seems to actually contribute something other than a Wii knockoff. And last but not least was my favorite game from E3 last year, "Watch Dogs," from UbiSoft. The game takes place in a futuristic Chicago where a powerful security system controls everything from discharging electrical fuse boxes, to hacking ATM's, to predicting future bank robberies and murders. We follow Aiden Pearce in a highly detailed open-world environment with something to do around every corner. "Watch Dogs," I believe, is the greatest piece of software to show off the power of the PS4 and easily one of my most anticipated games.
Overall, the reveal of the PS4 was a rousing success. Numerous games were shown and social media features were kept at a minimum, although my worry from its near dominant inclusion is still high. The controller got a fresh breath of air with its sleek look and friendlier approach. The power that went into the system is very impressive, comparing easily to top of the line supercomputers. The PS4, and with almost a 100% certainty, the Xbox 720, will be reaching homes this coming holiday season.
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