Sony PS4 – will it venture into Virtual Reality?
PS4 – the next iteration of Sony’s home console. The Sony PS4 had arguably the strongest showing at E3 this year. With a sleek design, strong exclusives, and blistering technical specs, the PS4 has taken an early lead in the next generation of the console war. Amazon has already sold all of their available PS4 launch units, and the PlayStation 4 is outselling the Xbox One as well as at the major retailer Gamestop. The Sony PS4’s early successes may be more due to the miss-steps of Microsoft with the Xbox One. But it remains a strong system regardless with many bonuses of its own.
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Sony PS4 – What’s Under the Hood?
A big part of the console war each generation is – which console has the most power and is most able to exploit that power? And a big part of the PC vs. console argument is the idea that consoles’ hardware will quickly go out of date compared to upgradeable PC hardware.
Sony has answered both these issues with tremendously powerful and (to an extent) future-proofed specifications for the PlayStation 4. The system is powered by a 8-core AMD x86-64 processor and a custom AMD Radeon graphics component capable of powering 1.84 teraflops. The most impressive component though – and its biggest immediately-apparent advantage over the Xbox One – is its eight gigabytes of GDDR5 memory This is on par with the current generation of gaming PCs. Along with all this comes less-flashy standards such as:-
- a 500-gigabyte user-removable hard drive.
- built-in 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi.
- Bluetooth 2.1.
- a Blu-ray/DVD optical drive.
- USB 3.0 ports for peripherals.
- HDMI and optical S/PDIF ports for A/V connections.
The system includes a mono headset that can be plugged into the included DualShock 4 controller, and altogether retails for $399. Bundles are available for between $460 and $499 that include different combinations of games and services. Such as one $460 bundle with Ubisoft’s upcoming third-person hacking/action game Watch Dogs. and one $499 bundle with Electronic Arts’ Battlefield 4 and a subscription to PS Plus, the PlayStation 4’s paid online service.
Yeah, Great, What about PS4 Games?
Next-generation games have already been announced for both the Sony PS4 and the Xbox One. They include highly-anticipated sequels in established franchises, such as Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, Battlefield 4, The Elder Scrolls Online, and Call of Duty: Ghosts. Systems often live and die by exclusives, however. And to that end, Sony has announced some exciting launch and lifetime exclusives. Gamers that buy the Sony PS4 at launch will be able to enjoy the latest entry in the inFamous open-world superhero game and the Killzone shooter franchise, as well as a new arcade racer called DriveClub. All three are expected to show off the PS4’s raw processing and graphics power, and trailers coming out of E3 make it look like they won’t disappoint.
After launch, gamers can look forward to the anachronistic steampunk shooter The Order: 1886. As well as stalwart Sony giants Final Fantasy XV and Kingdom Hearts III. The previous instalments of these virtual reality games have always been defining parts of the PlayStation experience, and the sequels should be no exception.
Something that must be noted, though – and may come as a jolt to PlayStation 3 owners – is that PlayStation Plus, the previously-optional paid online service, is now required for all multiplayer games. PlayStation Plus will remain at the price it is now, which is fifty dollars a year in North America. Video streaming services such as Netflix and Redbox, as well as free-to-play games will not require PlayStation Plus to function. Existing PS Plus accounts on the PS3 will continue into the Sony PS4 seamlessly.
What’s the Bottom Line?
Right now, it looks like Sony is mostly staying the course. Rather than make any drastic changes to their console or strategy, they’re simply upgrading and improving the gamer experience. This might not have been so impressive if Microsoft hadn’t made such drastic changes to the user experience of the Xbox One. Between its restrictive used game policies and treatment of games as licenses instead of products, increased price tag because of bundled accessories, and mandatory daily internet connection. Whereas Sony has focused on making the best gaming console they can, Microsoft has attempted to grow the Xbox One into something more.
That approach may or may not pay off in the long run. But gamers are speaking out in polls and comment threads across the Internet, and so far, it seems like the masses are swarming to the Sony PS4. The system is cheaper and has less restrictive DRM than the Xbox One. And cross-platform games displayed at E3 looked equal on both consoles.
It’s possible that the strength of Microsoft’s exclusives, such as the next Halo title, will be enough to tip the scales on release, but at this early stage, the field is Sony’s to control.