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The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus

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The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus

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Conference in New York announces newest Sony console

In a much ill-fated Electronics Entertainment Expo (E3) conference seven years ago, Sony made all the wrong moves in announcing the PlayStation 3. Not only was the price too high at $599, but the whole presentation felt awkward with such topics as giant enemy crabs (watch “Sony’s Embarrassing E3 2006 Conference” on YouTube).
Last week, Sony improved upon the PS3 introduction with their PlayStation 4 (PS4) conference in New York City. They are taking things slower by not revealing the physical console or price point just yet.
Sony did give enough details for us to analyze the PS4’s future.
Integration with the PS Vita, Sony’s handheld console, is a key part of Sony’s strategy. This is why Sony bought cloud-based gaming company Gaikai last year. Sony’s hope is that most PS4 games will allow players to continue from their Vita over a wireless internet connection wherever they go.
This surpasses one of the most “unique” options of the Nintendo Wii U because with the Wii U GamePad, gamers can continue playing the entire game from their controller, but only at home.
Sony also wants gamers to use smartphones and tablets with PS4 games, possibly as a second screen in the same fashion as the GamePad.
While the DualShock 4 controller looks similar to the DualShock 3, it comes with some key differences.
The start and select buttons are absent. There is now a headphone jack and speaker. A touchpad is on the top-center of the controller’s front, and a light bar appears between the shoulder buttons on top. A share button sits left of the touchpad, while an options button is on the right.
The light bar can display health status and gives each player a more unique identity by matching the color of the on-screen character. It interacts with a camera, named the PS4 Eye, that will provide some “Kinect-like” features such as motion and depth sensing.
Gamers can stream gameplay to their friends in real-time using the share button, and potentially let friends take control for them over the internet too. This seems intriguing and brings console gaming more in line with the popularity of social media networks. Even “bad” games will become more interesting with people watching.
Sony also improved the process of buying games on the PlayStation Network (PSN). After an initial download, the entire game will finish downloading in the background, so there is no wait to play.
Unfortunately, PSN games that were downloaded on the PS3 cannot be transferred. There is no backwards compatibility with disc-based PS3 games either.
At least the technical specs sound solid enough. A press release states the “PS4 is centered around a powerful custom chip that contains eight x86-64 cores.” In addition, “The GPU contains a unified array of 18 compute units, which collectively generate 1.84 Teraflops of processing power.” The console features “8 GB of unified system memory” and “GDDR5 is used for this memory, giving the system 176 GB/second of bandwidth.”
What the console looks like should not matter. But for those that must know, according to IGN’s interview with SCEA President Jack Tretton, the console “will be plastic, it won’t be triangle shaped or round.”
Lastly, according to Sony Worldwide Studios head Shuhei Yoshida, the console will play used disc games! This is a huge win for poorer gamers.
The Xbox “720” (title not confirmed) is plagued by rumors that it will block used games and require a constant internet connection.
Sony is on the right track so far, with the only misstep concerning the backwards compatibility issue.
They must also be careful on price. Considering the competition from PC gaming service Steam, Android and iOS based games, plus longtime rivals Microsoft and Nintendo, Sony cannot afford to price the PS4 out of range.
Even with these concerns, Sony shows good signs of leading the next generation console race.

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Conference in New York announces newest Sony console