Wednesday, November 27, 2013

If you listen closely, you can hear it: the eye of the console storm. We are between technologies and the big hardware makers know it. It's a move from an optical-disk-based, high-heat standalone device. To paraphrase William Gibson: the future is here, it's just unevenly distributed and its on that uneasy plane the new $399 PS4 firmly sits.

This new console is, arguably, the last console to be released before a number of massive shifts in the industry will force sweeping changes to hardware and software. Onlive, though a failure, offered the promise of a cloud-based graphics system that could entertain without heavy hardware. Steam has convinced gamers they don't need disks. 4K, while still a whimsical feature, is the future, and toys like the Ouya and Oculus Rift point to a leaner gaming business model and new interfaces. In short, the PS4 is the best of last generation's consoles and, as such, deserves to be looked at as Sony's last stand and the doorway to an amazing future.

At first glance you can see a certain PC pedigree in the angular lines and large case. There are two hidden buttons – touch-sensitive shards of plastic, really – that turn the console on and eject the well-hidden Blu-ray disk drive.
    It has 8GB of GDDR5 RAM and a 500GB hard drive that will store games and video content. There is no external storage – presumably 500GB will be enough and if it isn't you're going to be juggling the 30+GB games that you download. There is a single HDMI port on the back next to an optical audio port as well as an “AUX” port for the optional $60 PS4 camera.
    The controller is rounder and I'd say a bit more comfortable than the PS3 controller and puts it more in line with the soft edges of the 360/Xbox One controller. There is no power brick and you can, if you wish, simply swap out the HDMI and power cable from the PS3 and plug it into the PS4.
    The controller itself includes a number of interesting features. First there is a built-in gyroscope and Eye-compatible light that allows for some very Wii-like interaction features. It also includes dual rumble motors and a small speaker that can transmit audio as necessary. Battery life has been strong although I haven't fully tested the controllers in the short time I've had the console. The PS4 itself includes a wired headset for in-game chat and cables to charge the controllers.

    You will notice a Share button on the controller which represents Sony's move to grab a more social gamer. The console records the last fifteen minutes of gameplay and clicking share lets you post screenshots to Facebook or Twitter or edit and upload video to Facebook. This ac

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    The PS4 Is Sony’s First Shot In The Next-Gen Console Wars

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