Sony announced the Playstation 4 to media at a Wednesday night event in New York City, although it did so without showing the actual box.. Hayley Tsukayama reported:

A parade of Sony executives and an impressive lineup of game developers came out to tout the console’s features. Live game demos showed off its high-performance graphics processing unit and central processing unit. The settings of many of the games showed off hyper-realistic textures — gleaming cityscapes, craggy rocks glistening with water, lifelike flames — that take advantage of the system’s 8-core AMD processor with integrated graphics.

That’s just the start of the admittedly impressive specs, showing that Sony is sticking close to its engineering roots. The PlayStation 4 will also pack 8GB of RAM, as compared to 512 MB on the PlayStation 3. It also comes with a Blu-Ray player, Bluetooth capabilities, WiFi, USB 3.0 ports and another (as-yet unspecified) auxiliary port.

As for the all-important player ecosystem, Sony is revamping its PlayStation Plus network to be a more social, sharing-focused network zeroing in tightly on the needs of core video gamers.

While Sony did not show the eager audience the console itself, it did highlight new controller capabilities. The Associated Press reported:

Sony showed an updated controller that adds a touchpad and a “share” button. The controller also features a light bar, which means a new PlayStation camera can more easily track the device for motion control.

Dennis Fong, CEO of the gaming-centric social networking site Raptr, thinks Sony’s focus on sharing with the PS4 will be good for both gamers and business.

“The ability to capture an image, video or instantly broadcast what’s on players’ screen to their friends is transformational for the new generation of consoles,” said Fong. “Providing them with community tools to create videos and live broadcasts is a cool feature for gamers, and also great for business. User-generated content keeps players engaged with the game even while they aren’t playing it and also attracts new users from the buzz generated around this content.”

Will the Playstation 4 be a home run with consumers? Cliff Edwards and Edmund Lee wrote:

The PlayStation 4 makes its debut amid an industry shift toward mobile play on smartphones and tablets, raising the question of whether gamers will shell out several hundred dollars for a new device. The console will allow self- publishing, mimicking the open architecture of smartphones that encourages smaller developers to create and sell titles to the growing ranks of casual players.

“Game-wise, it was an absolute home run,” said Michael Pachter, an analyst at Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles. The console will appeal to Sony’s core gaming audience with exclusive titles, and could give it a lead over Microsoft Corp. by making games easier to develop using a PC-based architecture, he said in an interview.

Sony is working to combat mobile devices with hardware and software that will make games available to play or share at the press of a button on a console, the PlayStation Vita portable player or even a smartphone. Announcing the product now gives the company a head start in building awareness.


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