PS4 announced, incites gamer speculation

Photo Courtesy of Sony Computer Entertainment

Sony, the tech mega-conglomerate based in Tokyo, decided to tease the console-gaming world on Feb. 1 with a short video. When viewers watched, the video containing nothing more than their signature controller buttons, the famous PlayStation logo and the date Feb. 20, 2013.

Feb. 20 has passed, and so far, the company’s big announcement has drawn mixed reactions.

In short, this reveal was less of a reveal and more of a hype-builder

Many speculated that this press conference would be the official reveal of the long-anticipated PlayStation 4, more commonly referred to as the PS4; others doubted such a reveal would be made since the majority of the gaming industry traditionally drops its big news at the world-renowned E3 conference (Electronic Entertainment Expo). In the case of the Sony announcement, the public ended up with a mixture of these two possibilities. The PS4 was announced, but not in an epic way as many die-hard fans would hope. The press conference was filled with appearances from industry idols like Mark Cerny, David Perry, Tameem Andonlades, Kazunori Yamauchi, Michael Denny, Jonathan Blow, David Cage and more. Despite having these big names involved, nothing particularly momentous or controversial was announced, at least nothing on which the public had not already speculated. In short, this reveal was more of a hype-builder— a group of famous people came to discuss what the new system will be capable of, which direction they intend to take their gaming philosophy, and they cleared up most rumors about the system. Except, of course, what the machine will look like. Sony fans are torn between being excited for E3 and being upset because of all the hype that has built around the press date. Consequently, Sony may need to step it up at E3. Otherwise there may be a massive fallout from their following, and the frantic hype they have thus far built up will backfire.

But what new information did the public gain from this announcement? Well, for one, gamers can expect a great deal of social networking capabilities to be incorporated into their future gaming experience. Players will be able to be invited to watch others play and will be allowed to speak to the people they are watching. Players will also have the ability to record their gaming sessions and share them with friends using the share function, which will be incorporated directly into the controller (pictured above). The new controller boasts several new functions, including a touch screen, the aforementioned share button, headphone jack and a power button that will let players turn the console on and off. The actual console now attempts to replicate high-end PC performance with a X86 CPU, enhanced PC GPU, 8GB Unified Memory RAM and local HDD storage; specifics on these hardware specs still have yet to be announced.

This PS4 reveal was filled with some incredible content and hints at a great and expansive future for the PlayStation franchise

Looking at the bigger picture, Sony intends to use these tech improvements to lead the way in next-gen gaming and maintain its role as the definitive console company. Since the original PlayStation’s release in 1994, these first three generations of the PlayStation have sold over 320 million units worldwide, with the PS2 being the biggest selling console of all time at 155 million units. With the addition of the social aspects included in the PS4, Sony aims to branch out these numbers from its hardcore gaming scene to a more recreational audience. Games are promised to be even more dynamic and beautiful than ever before as far as graphics and content are concerned, and every bit as intense, but now they will have the social aspect to bring everyone together. Sony’s concept of social interaction within the world of gaming is likely to take a chunk out of rival company Microsoft’s Xbox sales, as well as those of their popular Xbox Live experience and Kinect system. On a side note, rumors have been circulating around the game sphere that the supposed Xbox 720 will be revealed in a press conference in April, and the specs for this console also seem to be raising the bar. History has shown that timing is everything when dealing with profits in an industry like video games. Microsoft got the jump on Sony with their release of the original Xbox 360 by about a year, and sales for the 360 are currently greater than that of the PS3’s by about six million. Whether or not a financial reversal of fortunes lies in the future of both of these companies remains to be seen.

Taking all this information into account, the question of whether or not Sony’s PS4 conference will be strong enough to curb the hype that will be generated by Microsoft’s response this April is on the table. In short, the answer is hard to give right now. With so little legitimate information at our fingertips, a lot of the news in this industry is based on speculation and rumor. This PS4 reveal was filled with some incredible content and hints at a great and expansive future for the PlayStation franchise. It may have shown fans a light at the end of the tunnel, but what lies on the other side is still shrouded in mystery.