Sony’s PlayStation 4 unveiled

Sony’s PS4 unveiling today was big on game demos, but less so on what it looks like, how much it will cost and whether it might tap into Sony’s huge push towards 4K. However, what was shown in terms of graphics quality and game engine grunt was, frankly, stunning.

What we know

The PS4 will be released this holiday season. It will contain an X86 processor with 8GB of GDDR5 unified system memory. The controller was one aspect Sony gave viewers of their New York City presentation a glimpse of. The new DualShock 4 features share and options buttons, enhanced rumble, headphone jack, touchpad, and a lightbar as a simpler way to identify players. This will work with a stereo camera that tracks the controller.

Quantic Dream’s subsurface skin shader demo.

Media sharing will be one of PS4’s big new features. The idea of multi-casting, remote play and using second screens, such as being able to play PS4 games on your portable Vita, were some of the aspects demo’d.

In terms of hardware, the PS4 will support suspending and resuming play sessions by preserving the game in RAM. A separate chip will handle downloads, which means downloading is handled separately while you play. In fact, it looked like you could play a downloadable game while it was still downloading.

Games and game engine demos

A large part of the presentation involved demos, and one of the most amazing was Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 4 showing a realtime Helmet Tech sequence with some impressive particle effects. Interestingly, it’s still early days in terms of game development with Unreal Engine 4 and its capabilities are likely to be significantly advanced by the time PS4 is released.

Havok’s GPU demo.

Havok showed a live physics engine demo running on the GPU, not the CPU, featuring 1,000,000 objects at once. Quantic Dream also unveiled its new engine via a realistic old man face rendering, with incredible sub-surface scattering. Square Enix demo’d its Luminous Studio game engine, and announced a Final Fantasy title. Not to be outdone, Capcom demo’d its Panta Rei game engine, too. And Media Molecule showed a fun live demo of some rock band characters animated live with the Move controller.

Other game announced included Knack, Killzone: Shadow Fall, Driveclub, Infamous: Second Son, Deep Down, The Witness, Watch Dogs from Ubisoft and Bungie’s Destiny.

Updated: here’s some more stats for the PS4 below from Sony’s press release.