Over the years gamers worldwide have grown fond of their PlayStation 3s, but every era comes to an end and the PS3 will soon be replaced. As some of you may know, back in February, the PlayStation 4 was officially unveiled. The new PS will delight its users with more processing power, better graphics, a new controller and more emphasis on social interaction.
Sony has also been present at the 2013 Game Developers Conference where the company has revealed even more details on what makes the PS4 tick.
All in all, the next-generation console looks very impressive. Whether you're a veteran gamer or a casual user, the PS4 should definitely catch your interest.
Some of the most frequently asked questions about the PlayStation 4 concern the gadget's internal hardware. Enthusiasts wonder how much more powerful it will be when compared to the PS3, and whether the PS4 will finally overtake the PC in terms of sheer power.
We'll have to see about that later on in the year. So far though, the PS4 is shaping up to be quite a powerhouse.
According to reports coming from GDC, Sony's next gen console will pack an AMD Jaguar processor featuring 8 cores, a 64-bit x86 architecture and 2MB L2 cache for each quad-core group. Additionally, the PlayStation 4 will feature 8 GB of GDDR5 RAM and an AMD Radeon-based next-generation graphics card, boasting 1.84 TFLOPS.
During the Game Developers Conference it was also revealed that the console's developer tools will run on Windows 7 64-bit. Additionally, various other PlayStation 4-specific tools such as the PlayStation Shader Language have been integrated with Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 and 2012. Supposedly, the Shader Language offers functionality that is either up to par or even better than OpenGL 4.0 and DirectX 11. Tessellation support is also included.
The DualShock 4 Controller and Social Functionality
For those of you who were wondering, the PlayStation 4 will be accompanied by a new, redesigned controller: DualShock 4. Sony hasn't re-imagined the controller just for the sake of making it look a bit different. The new DualShock comes with brand new features that work hand-in-hand with what the next-gen console has to offer.
As such, the DualShock 4 includes a "share" button, a light bar, and a touchpad, as well as a speaker and a headphone jack.
The share button works with Facebook as well as other streaming services such as Ustream. To put it simply, once the player presses the share button, he or she is given the choice of saving and uploading the last few minutes of gameplay. The interesting part is that the aforementioned process will be done in the background and the user won't have to leave the game. While this feature makes extensive use of the Facebook integration, players can also use the share button in order to stream their gaming sessions, in real-time, via Ustream or other similar services.
DualShock 4's light bar will play an important role as well, especially when paired with the PlayStation Eye camera. As such, the camera will detect where the players are located and the light bar LEDs will change their color in order to match the position of in-game characters. The color(s) and pattern(s) will also change depending on the status of the character. For instance, if a character's health has dropped to dangerous levels, the light bar will provide visual feedback accordingly.
Release Date and Competition
Without a shadow of a doubt, the PlayStation 4 is one of this year's most anticipated gaming-related releases. As a result, every enthusiast out there is wondering when exactly the PS4 will be available for purchase. So far, no exact release date has been announced but the console is expected to arrive on the shelves sometime in Q4. Rumors have suggested an October release, but there's no official confirmation regarding the matter.
It should also be mentioned that Sony isn't the only company to prepare a next-gen console for later this year. Microsoft is expected to reveal the Xbox 720 in the following months as well. Needless to say, the competition will be fierce.
How about you? Are you planning on buying the PlayStation 4? Have you been impressed by what the console has to offer? Or do you think it would be best to play it wisely and wait for Microsoft's alternative before making a decision?
Vlad Andrici is editor for gforgames.com and writes about technology issues.