The PS4 has gained a lot of respect in the gaming circles ever since it was announced. The developers simply can’t stop praising the wonderful gaming console. That is because the PS4 has been designed by keeping the development ease in mind. The PS4 follows an architecture which is much closer to the one which PC has and hence has made every developer on this planet instantly familiar with the PS4 hardware.
Remember in the start of the current console cycle, the games were not too amazing? And by the end they are absolutely stunning? Well that is because the developers have become intimately familiar with the architecture of the consoles. By knowing what the console is actually capable of is one thing, being able to milk the resources to the fullest is another and it takes a lot of time. The point is PS4 is a more developer friendly console and it is quite evident because the PS4 share button was suggested by a first party developer.
“I think it was [creative director] Nathan Gary in Santa Monica studios who suggested it,” said Sony’s President of Worldwide Studios Shuhei Yoshida in an interview with Edge Magazine. “So Nathan put together a PowerPoint and pitched in this Share button idea, and we all went, that’s a brilliant idea! So it was a pretty quick decision after he suggested it and I’m sure he’s pretty proud of his contribution.”
So the share button the latest Dualshock 4 controller was pitched using software made by Microsoft, a company which is the archrival of Sony in the gaming console business. Well to be honest, we all use Microsoft products. I love what Microsoft office has to offer, hell this article would have a ton of mistakes if it weren’t for the magic of Microsoft Word. So in a way Microsoft is responsible of enabling Sony to implement their ideas in a more professional manner. The irony while not so strong in this case, is still present nevertheless.
This week on The 3 Cast, we talked about wearable technology like the iWatch and Google Glass, then we asked about the future of Gaming consoles and mice. Make sure to subscribe to our YouTube Channel to watch all our past episodes!
This episode was recorded two weeks ago, but is just now being posted. Matt had some Apple software issues, that prevented the podcast from going up on time. This episode we talked about the playstation 4 announcement and what to expect, we bashed RIM some more, and we talked about Jailbreaking your iPhone.
The day is finally here. The start of the next gen console wars, if you will. Sony on Wednesday announced the PlayStation 4, a newly designed hardware with a new controller and stunning graphics. Of course, they didn’t really announce all that much (the press conference is still going on at time of publication of this story). They didn’t even show the console, just a rectangle with the PS4 logo.
They did show the new DualShock4 controller, which features a “Vita-like” touch screen in the center. According to The Verge:
The controller will come with a dedicated share button and a light bar that identifies players or changes color during play, and it essentially looks like a sleeker version of the classic DualShock. The light bar isn’t just cosmetic: a 3D camera can track the controller’s motion from it, sensing depth.
The console itself is based on a “supercharged PC architecture,” with an X86 processor, enhanced PC-style GPU, and 8GB of GDDR5 unified high-speed memory. According to Sony the PlayStation 4 contains 8 CPU cores, providing almost 2 teraflops of computational performance. The power allows for 30,000 polygons to be rendered in real time. “Overall, our goal has been to architect the system to support a breadth of experiences,” said Mark Cerny who was the project lead.
The PlayStation 4 has many cool features. You can stream the game you are playing and record the video and post it on social sites. Other people can watch the games you are playing as well. You will also be able to stream games over the Gaikai network, which means no waiting for games to download. It sounds as if Sony is eschewing physical media, though no announcement was made on that score.
News never happens right after CES. Never. Except this year. Sony has just announced that it will be holding a PlayStation event February 20th. Sony says that the PlayStation Meeting 2013 will allow us to “see the future” and an attached video teaser might even have given us a first glimpse of the hardware. Could this be the PlayStation 4?
We aren’t positive that this is the PlayStation 4, but what else could it be? If they have sent out invites for a Vita refresh or something like that, it will be majorly disappointing. Chase wrote articles on the next-gen consoles and what we expect: Part 1 & part 2. Now that we suspect that Sony is about the blow the lid off Orbis, will we see Xbox do something quicker than E3? This could get very interesting very fast.
It is likely that the Sony event will be light on details. They will want to save those details for events closer to the actual device launch. Let’s just hope that they aren’t showing it now but planning on releasing it in 2014.
The current generation of consoles is looking very old in the tooth. The PlayStation 3 was released in 2006 and while it has had several updates since then in terms of design and minor specs, it is basically the same console now that it was then. It is way past time for the PlayStation 4 to come out and wow us. We’ve had enough Wii style crap casual games, we need some Holy s$%^ moments on our consoles like we did back in 2006. Let’s hope Sony can deliver that with the PlayStation 4, without it costing us $1000.
I have to say I am really excited for this announcement. In my wildest dreams I thought we would have to wait until at least April or May to hear about something relating to next-gen consoles. What about you? Excited? Leave your comments in the area below!
Rumors suggest that the next-gen Playstation could be called the PS4 Orbis, or the Thebes. An interesting fact about Orbis is that if it’s combined with Vitae (or Vita), it forms Orbis Vitae which in Latin translates to ‘circle of life’. That could hint toward some serious connectivity between the PS Vita and the next-gen console. Most sources seem to think that the name Thebes might be an internal code name for the next-gen Playstation project and that Orbis is probably the final console name.
The most recent rumors include an eight-core CPU clocked at 1.6GHz built upon AMD Jaguar architecture, 4GB of GDDR5 RAM, and a Radeon 7970M clocked at 800MHz with 18 Graphics Core Next units. This brings the total speculative computing power to 1.84 teraflops.
Storage and Drive
Blu-ray is something most analysts agree will be included in the PS4. It’s something that makes Playstation stand out from the crowd. I’m not sure if I completely agree with this idea. It seems dated to me, but then I’m no analyst.
Storage wise, I expect we’ll see something not too dissimilar from what we’re used to. A decent sized SSD.
Based on a patent filed by Sony, it’s speculated that NFC technology may be incorporated into game discs for next-gen use. In essence what we can expect if this is implemented is single-user game discs. No longer will we be able to sell, or let someone borrow a game. Once the new game has been registered via NFC with a specific console, it will no longer be accepted by another system. There is a possibility that, instead of having a completely useless game, the NFC-tagged game might be limited to a trial version, or demo.
What We Can Expect in Both Next-Gen Systems
Interconnectivity. We’re seeing more and more devices becoming universal. The rumors surrounding Playstation’s next-gen console and potential PS Vita controller functionality aren’t farfetched at all. The PS Vita can already be used with PS3 systems. I suspect we’ll see something that is quite similar to what Wii U has done with their Gamepad.
As far as the Xbox is concerned, we’ve already seen great strides in multi-format support with Microsoft Play. I suspect we’ll begin seeing more and more console controls available via our wireless devices.
According to analysts, retail price points for both systems should be between $350 and $400.
The speculated next-gen Xbox and Playstation are much more similar to gaming PCs than their predecessors and that makes perfect sense, especially with the launch of products like Steam Box. I see a real shift in the way PC and console games have been viewed. I believe this may just be the beginning of the end of the PC versus console feud.
The speculation is enough to drive any gamer, or console enthusiast mad. The latest release rumors suggest that Microsoft and Sony will reveal the next Xbox and Playstation consoles shortly before E3 in June, with launches occurring just in time for the holiday season. Personally, I don’t believe these two systems will debut side by side. I think it’s much more likely that we can expect one announcement followed by the other. Why? Because both corporations want to grab as much media attention as possible and announcing a new console at the same time as your competitor is something these two divisions surely have considered and want to avoid. It should then go without saying that there are two options these corporate giants have to choose from, either wait for their rival to release their own new system, or be aggressive and try to launch before the other. So who is going to be first? What rumors hold up to analysis and which of them seem to have too many flaws?
The Next-Gen Microsoft Xbox
Codenamed Durango, the next-gen development kit was first spotted in July 2012. The kit’s legitimacy was verified by multiple developers working on next-gen projects and multiple sources have said that we can expect processing power six times greater than that of the Xbox 360.
Other potential next-gen Xbox names that have been mentioned include the Xbox 720, Xbox Loop and Xbox Infinity. Microsoft did recently purchase www.xbox8.com, so it may not be too much of a leap to assume that either Loop, or Infinity could be the final console’s name. As for Xbox 720, it could very well be the next-gen name. Personally, I tend to agree with the idea that this will not flesh out. Mainly due to the belief that the Xbox 360 was named so to represent either a revolution (360 degrees), or the complete solution (again 360 degrees). Moving from 360 to 720, if this idea is correct, doesn’t make much sense.
Based on reports, it seems that the next-gen Xbox will use an AMD eight-core CPU clocked at 1.6GHz, 4-8GB DDR3 RAM, and an AMD 6670 GPU. Total computing power estimated to be 1.23 teraflops.
Storage and Drive
Due to Playstation’s lead over Xbox in the Blu-ray department, it might seem logical that the next-gen system would include a Blu-ray drive, but I wouldn’t get my hopes up. Microsoft is poised to become a leader in digital content delivery, and including a Blu-ray player for the purpose of watching Blu-ray films isn’t something I find all that likely.
As for storage, I would expect a reasonably sized SSD. Something comparable to what we’re already used to as far as capacity is concerned.
One source has claimed that the next-gen platform will launch with Skype as its default communications program, effectively replacing the Xbox Live chat and messenger application. I don’t find this too hard to swallow. The Live chat has always been just okay. This could be a welcomed addition to the new system.
We’re all familiar with Microsoft’s IllumiRoom tech that has been featured recently. It’s only a proof-of-concept now, but the next-gen Xbox could be the launching pad for this new feature. We’ll have to wait and find out. I personally don’t believe we’ll see IllumiRoom in the next-gen, I think if it is announced it will be part of an upgraded Kinect system.
Last week it was reported that Nintendo Wii U weekly sales had declined by a staggering 30%. Not the best way to start off the new year. Analysts suspect that Nintendo will have to prematurely lower their console price in order to stay ahead and keep sales figures up. So, is the Wii U shelf worthy? Will the speculated Xbox 720 and PS4 knock this component out of the ring, or does the Wii U have what it takes to stay in the game?
Wii U Basics
As most of you should know by now, the Wii U comes in two models – the Basic (MSRP $300) and the Deluxe (MSRP $350). If you’re in the market, I recommend grabbing the Deluxe because you get Nintendo Land included in the box, and a larger 32GB flash storage drive plus a few more accessories. Device popularity aside, who doesn’t like more goodies anyway? Besides, the game and the memory are definitely worth the extra fifty bucks alone. All Wii games and controller accessories are compatible with the Wii U, so there’s no need to buy anymore if you’re already a Nintendo fan boy, or girl, with a small Nintendo hardware stash. One thing I really like about this console is its size. It’s almost half the size of the Xbox 360 and PS3. So if you’re considering sticking this guy on your shelf it won’t take up too much space.
The Gamepad was very responsive in my tests and latency issues, at least for me, were not a problem. The battery lasts about three to five hours depending on what you’re playing and it takes about two and a half hours to fully charge. One of the most unique features on the console is the ability to play off-TV games directly on the Gamepad itself. It’s a great feature if you live with roommates, or others that might not care to watch you play the latest and greatest first-person shooter. But this feature alone doesn’t really set the Wii U apart from the competition. Our devices are becoming increasingly interconnected, and while Nintendo had a good idea here, they may have introduced the console and feature a bit too late. Not every game supports Gamepad-only play, so if you’re considering adding this to your shelf, and this is a feature you’re excited about, make sure that the games you’re buying support it. The range of the Gamepad is decent and during my tests it performed well within about 25 feet of the console. Anything outside of this range, or not within line-of-sight, is shoddy at best.
The Gamepad is LARGE. It works well in the hands, but you might find it a bit odd at first if you’re used to gaming on systems like the Xbox 360, or PS3. There’s definitely a learning curve with the Gamepad, but that’s to be expected with any new device. One thing worth mentioning here is Nintendo’s move away from the already proven physical control design that Microsoft and Sony have perfected. I’m not saying that different is always bad, but interface design and ergonomics are extremely important in product development and I see no significant improvements with respect to either one on this device.
User Interface (UI)
The interface is very similar to the 3DS, incorporating the familiar rows of tiled icons representing games and applications. Overall, it isn’t bad. I wouldn’t say Nintendo went above and beyond here, and it certainly isn’t anything revolutionary, but it works. No significant changes and nothing that really makes this console stand out from the rest of the crowd.
As the first Nintendo console to support HD gaming, games look better than ever. Who knew Mario could get any better? Graphics are on par with the Xbox and PS3, but there are a few texture and frame rate deficiencies that serious gamers may notice. Nothing that the casual gamer should be concerned with. So unless you’re a Mario fan like myself, there really isn’t a good reason to grab a Will U at the moment.
At the end of the day it really comes down to the gamer. If you’re a diehard Nintendo fan, then you probably already have the Wii U. It’s about the games after all. Those that aren’t hypnotized by the exclusive console games like ZombiU, Super Mario Bros., or Nintendo Land might not have any interest in picking up Nintendo’s latest console. The features Nintendo brought to market with this device weren’t anything radically new. In my opinion, the only way Nintendo can keep bringing new customers to the platform is through game development. So let’s hope that we see some great titles for 2013! Fingers crossed.