Well, that was interesting.
Sony today did what pretty much everyone expected it to, and unveiled the PlayStation 4, the company's first new home console in seven years. The system will run on an x86 CPU, with an enhanced PC GPU and 8 gigabytes of on-board GDDR5 memory. The new controller, titled the DualShock 4, features a touch pad and a move-styled light bar on the back, which will allow it to interact with a new PlayStation Eye device. It was not stated as to whether that device would come with the console or not.
Among the many key features Sony touted, the system's various online and user interface functionalities took center stage. Seemingly responding directly to much of the infrastructural criticism lobbed at the PlayStation 3, the PS4 is aimed to make loading up and getting into a game easier than ever. Players who want to leave their game, for instance, now can actually power the system down to a lower power state, and resume the game exactly where they left off prior. When downloading games off of the PlayStation Network, you will now be able to start a game before it's even finished downloading.
Also much pushed (and occasionally maligned on social media) was the system's new social media functionality. A share button on the new controller lets you recap the last several minutes of gameplay you've just experienced, and share specific portions via your social media networks through a quick, presumably easy-to-use process.
Gaikai was also a big focus of the event. Dave Perry arrived to explain how Gaikai's game streaming service will benefit the PlayStation 4 tech, including allowing streamable demos of every game in the PlayStation Store, and made the case that eventually (but likely not in the immediate future), all PS1, PS2, and PS3 games could be available via cloud streaming. This is sort of key, as the PlayStation 4 will not feature backward compatibility support for PlayStation 3 games.
Of course, the event was also replete with tech and game demos, designed to show off the hardware's prowess. Here's a list of some of the bigger games announced and shown at the event:
Killzone: Shadow Fall
A new sequel in Guerrilla Games' long-running PlayStation shooter franchise. Unlike previous Killzone games, this one appears to be in color.
A new racing title from MotorStorm developers Evolution Studios, which includes numerous social features and challenges. While little in-game action was shown, game director Matt Southern made much ado about the game's visual prowess, and the experience of getting into a virtual car. It was kind of a weird demo, to be honest.
Infamous: Second Son
A follow-up to Sucker Punch's acclaimed superhero action game, which appears to feature a new protagonist, and a decidedly anti-government paranoia-infused storyline.
A fantasy action game from Capcom that was shown largely in tech demo form. This was, in many respects, the most visually impressive demo of the program, though considering the relatively early state of the project, it's tough to say how much of it would carry over into a playable game.
Final Fantasy Something
After showing the same next-gen tech demo it showed at last year's E3, Square Enix also briefly teased that a new Final Fantasy offering would be coming to the PS4, and that we can expect to see it for the first time at E3 2013.
A new demo of Ubisoft's paranoia-fueled open-world game was shown. This marks the first time Ubisoft has directly addressed Watch Dogs as a next-gen title, something it assiduously avoided doing when it debuted the game at E3 last year.
Yes, that Diablo III, from that developer Blizzard, is coming to both the PS4 and PS3 later this year.
Bungie briefly appeared to show off roughly the same footage and content we saw of Destiny earlier this week, but also mentioned that the PS4 version would be featuring exclusive content of some kind.
Finally, Sony let slip that the PlayStation 4 would be arriving on store shelves sometime this coming holiday season. Though no price was announced, nor was the actual form of the PS4 box shown, it seems likely we can expect to hear about those things at E3.
So, honestly, what did you think? If you watched our live chat, you undoubtedly noticed that much of our editorial staff was largely impressed with the quality of Sony's showcase. I think I'd echo that sentiment, especially considering I wasn't really expecting to see more than one or two games demoed during the event. Still, we're early in this process, and haven't had hands-on time with any of this stuff. If nothing else, this Sony event seemed to demonstrate a lot of good ideas. We'll see soon enough if the company is able to execute on them.