PS4 is powerful, always-connected and ready for the online world

The new PS4 hardware was launched last night in New York and has, in concept at least, answered questions about its relevancy to the modern consumer

Share
Related Topics

Sony’s Andrew House – a likeable, cigarette-smoking Welshman – had replaced his usual smile with an expression of mild concern to announce PlayStation 4 in New York last night.

His disquiet was understandable. Sony’s next-generation console will launch into a world where Apple and Google are mopping up gamers with gleeful success, where PlayStation’s position in the industry has been rudely and powerfully challenged. The primary question House needed to answer was not one of price or “graphics”: it was one of relevance.

With half a million people watching online and the ever-cynical games media sneering from the peanut gallery, Sony laid out its next generation plans. PlayStation 4 will release this Christmas. It is a powerful, always-connected machine, one ostensibly easy-to-use by both consumer and developer. Sony said it will form part of an “ecosystem” of services and devices comprising social, mobile, tablet, TV, console and desktop. PS4 is no bachelor. It’s the father of an extended family.

House gave a slick pitch. He showed a machine that has both innovative hardware components – such as a dedicated chip which allows background downloading without disrupting play – and the power to broadcast the PlayStation experience across every screen you own. You’ll be able to access PlayStation Network features on your iPhone or Android tablet, on your computer or through social networks. PS4’s user interface is customisable and bears more than a passing similarity to Windows 8. The modern digital user expects everything everywhere. Major earthquakes have warped gaming’s topography in recent years, and Sony showed it understands the need to architect buildings capable of withstanding future tremors.

One of the biggest shocks of the past console generation has been the impact of the internet, with PC gamers especially benefiting from an explosion in the popularity of online retail services. Streaming and downloading will play a huge part in the PS4 experience, and Sony is right to focus on online content delivery. The world of discs in shops is about to vanish. Sony elaborated on the ability to buy online, promising you’ll be able to start playing games when they’re only partially downloaded. You’l l eventually be able to test games remotely via cloud-based service Gaikai. In time, Sony’s handheld console, PlayStation Vita, will be able to stream any PS4 game to its small screen, freeing up the living room television for other family members.

Streaming and downloading will play a huge part in the PS4 experience

While we’ve yet to see these features in action, there’s no doubting the intent. As for safer bets, the more traditional games shown yesterday hinted at incredible things to come. The demo of dystopian action simulation Watch Dogs blew the roof off. Destiny, too, looked brilliant.

The next big thing from Halo studio Bungie promises to be a reinvention of the console shooter. Its persistent online world and co-operative adventuring is new to PlayStation and Xbox, and Destiny is likely to become one of the first defining experiences of the new platforms. PS4’s major software pitch will be delivered at E3, an American games show, in June.

House looked more relaxed by the end of the presentation. It was enough for now. PlayStation can exist in the mutating world of video games by embracing new platforms and focusing on connectivity. PS4 itself is built from simple PC components, showing Sony has listened to complaints about the technically obtuse PlayStation 3. It has made a platform on which it is easy to create, share and consume content across any number of devices.

Andrew House was able to answer the question of PlayStation 4’s relevancy yesterday, in concept at least. Smoothly delivering some complex promises at a suitable price is another matter, of course, but Sony deserves to feel relieved this morning.

Patrick Garratt is the editor of video games news site VG247

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Bookkeeper

£19000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Small Family Accountancy Practi...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager - OTE £50,000

£18000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is recruiting for ...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Manager / Account Manager

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This B2B software supplier, spe...

Recruitment Genius: Systems Application Analyst - Data, SQL

£22000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing SaaS (Softwar...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

'You’re just jealous', and other common misconceptions about the Protein World advert

Hannah Atkinson
Dave Brown's cartoon for the 28 April edition of The Independent  

After five years of completely flaccid leadership, I'm glad something 'pumps up' David Cameron

Joe Sandler Clarke
Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence