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

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

Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer - OOP, Javascript, HTML, CSS, SQL

£39000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer - OOP, Javascript, HTML,...

Austen Lloyd: Commercial / Residential Property - Surrey

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: SURREY MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Programme - Online Location Services Business

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: What do you want to do with your career? Do yo...

Recruitment Genius: Senior QC Scientist

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This company is a leading expert in immunoassa...

Day In a Page

Read Next
File: David Cameron offers a toast during a State Dinner in his honour March 14, 2012  

I saw the immigration lies a mile off - and now nobody can deny it

Nigel Farage
The Uber app allows passengers to hail a taxi with a smartphone  

Who wouldn’t like a sharing economy? Well, me, for one

Mary Dejevsky
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game