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Sony PlayStation 4 ushers in next generation of video game consoles

Submitted by Alton Young on November 4, 2013 – 5:17 pmNo Comment

Sony’s latest video game system will be unleashed on the world Friday Nov. 15 (or for die-hards, Thursday at midnight).  The PlayStation 4 (or the PS4) will up the ante in the next-gen video game console wars.  Microsoft’s new Xbox One makes it debut Nov. 22, exactly one week later.

Most people with $400 to spend on such things may have already reserved a unit at their favorite retailer.  For those willing to fight for it, there will be units available on the launch date. For the rest of the populace who may be wondering which system to purchase or whether it’s worth the money to upgrade, here’s a quick look at some of the features of the new PS4: the good and the bad.  This information comes from Sony’s own Official PlayStation Blog.

The PS4 comes equipped with a 500GB hard drive and is boxed with the new DUALSHOCK 4 wireless controller, a cable to charge the controller, a mono-headset for voice-chat, an HDMI cable, and of course the power cable.  The games are sold separately.
The system is Blu-Ray based like the PS3, but isn’t capable of CD playback at all.  The new unit also isn’t capable of playing MP3 files.  It is also worth noting that the PS4 isn’t backward compatible with PS3 or PS2 games; only the new PS4 discs will run. The system will need the initial online update in order to watch Blu-Ray or DVD movies, otherwise there is a disc that can be requested from customer service.
According to Sony, the new system is capable of 10 times the processing speed of the PS3 and has a very powerful graphics processor.  In other words, the games look awesome.  The difference may not be noticeable to non-gamers, but to hardcore gamers the difference could mean everything.

The PS4 may also provide a lifeline for the almost-forgotten PlayStation Vita.  Sony has taken a page from the book of Nintendo’s WiiU controller, by allowing remote play with the Vita handheld system.  Players will be able to use the Vita to play their PS4 games, freeing up the television for something or someone else.  Sony expects that most games will be playable this way, unless they use the camera.

Which brings us to the camera, a device that is sold separately and is capable of face-recognition.  The camera can be used in conjunction with the PlayStation Move device to give the player an interactive gaming experience.

A new feature is the ability to use an iPhone or Android phone as another screen while playing certain games.  The extra screen will be used to show items, maps, etc.  The PlayStation controller is an upgraded version of the tried and true DUALSHOCK design.  This version comes with the addition of a Share button that allows the user to show-off gameplay on Facebook.  Also new is a light bar that will be used to show things such as health in a game.  This potentially irritating addition cannot be turned off.

In order to compete online, you will have now have to be a PlayStation Plus member.  This is a drastic change to the free online service PS3 players enjoyed.  However there is some good news, Sony reports that PS3 owners and PS4 will be able to face each other online on some games.  It will apparently be up to the developer if they want to allow the cross-console action.

Last (and maybe least) are the games.  While there are several third-party games that look gorgeous on the new system, these games are available on many other platforms, including the last PlayStation.  There are a handful of games that will allow players to upgrade from the PS3 version to the PS4 for 9.99, but that doesn’t make up for the lack of exclusives.  There are only five first-party games slated for the launch date.

The lack of exclusive games notwithstanding, the PS4 is set up to make a great attempt at establishing itself as THE game system to purchase this year. The first shots of the console wars have been fired.

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