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  • 21 February 2013, 13:56

Sony Reveals Next-Generation PlayStation 4

Sony has released details of its PlayStation 4 console at an event in New York, its first major release since the PS3 in 2006.

It will allow users to stream and play video games hosted on servers. Gamers will also be able to record their in-game footage and share it via social networks.

Sony said the console has an eight-core processor, giving it the feel of a "supercharged PC" with much-improved graphics.

The look of the new console and its eventual price were not revealed at the event but a new controller was shown off.

The DualShock 4 will have a touch pad and a "share" button, as well as a headphone socket and a light bar which can be tracked by a camera to detect where the player is, according to lead system architect Mark Cerny.

Sony said it is planning to release the console - in some countries at least - around Christmas.

Andrew House, group chief executive of Sony Computer Entertainment, said: "Today marks a moment of truth and a bold step forward for PlayStation as a company. Today we will give you a glimpse into the future of play."

Sony purchased US cloud-based gaming company Gaikai for $380m in July.

Using their technology, Sony says the new console will also be able to stream games over Wi-Fi to the PlayStation Vita handheld console.

Gamers will also be able to access their friends' gameplay to help them out if they are stuck.

Some of the console's first titles were announced at the event, including racing simulator Drive Club and first-person shooter Killzone: Shadow Fall.

However, a drawback for PlayStation 3 owners is the fact that existing games will not be playable on the new console.

Although Sony said it might make older titles available to download or stream in future.

And despite the console's impressive specs, some technology writers were left frustrated that the physical product was not on display - something that's become customary in presentations by the likes of Apple.

Stuart Miles, founder of gadget website Pocket-lint.com said there were also other unanswered questions.

"We don't know whether it has a Blu-ray in it, whether it can do Netflix, whether it can do anything other than play games or be incredibly social."

But Keza MacDonald, UK games editor of IGN.com, said the lack of a physical "box" at the presentation was no big deal.

"We just saw the experience, we saw their philosophy of the thing. It was very much here's the experience we're trying to give you."

She added: "It's not so much about what's inside the box anymore, it's not about the hardware. It's about what you're offering - the games that you're offering, the services that you're offering."

The event was seen by many as an attempt by Sony to get a head start ahead of Microsoft's expected unveiling of the next Xbox in June - at the E3 video games expo.

Last time around, the Xbox 360 beat the PlayStation 3 to market by one year.

However, there are challenges for the new device. It arrives amid a decline in software sales and a rise in mobile gaming on tablets and smartphones.

Research firm NPD Group said game sales fell 22% to $13.3bn in 2010.

Physical console sales in the UK were also down by a third last year, but games industry body UKIE has suggested the dip may be partly due to shoppers saving their money for next generation machines.

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