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Playstation 4 (Almost Complete) Info Dump

On the heels of the Playstation Meeting 2013 in New York, SCEA released a good summation of what happened during the two-hour reveal of Playstation 4, which will offer integrated PS Vita support, Diablo III, a game from Jonathan Blow (The Witness), and, my favorite, “emotions that you have never felt in real life.” (That quote from Quantic Dream’s David Cage.) No mention of a release date or price, though I guess SCEA needs to save something for E3 in a few months.

Any meaningful analysis of what happened will likely come in the days ahead as more interviews and information roll out, but overall, the “Meeting” was enough to get a lot of people excited, me included. If you don’t have a couple of hours to watch the whole “Meeting” here’s a relatively quick summation from SCEA:

New York, February 20, 2013 – Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCE) today introduced PlayStation®4 (PS4™), its next-generation gaming platform for the home, alongside the videogame industry’s brightest and most creative minds at PlayStation®Meeting 2013. With unprecedented power, deep social capabilities, and instant accessibility, PS4 allows game creators to unleash their imaginations and deliver new play experiences to gamers that were never before possible. The live audience at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York, along with millions of fans streaming the event around the world, were also provided with a sneak peek of some of the games that will ultimately define the PS4 experience.

Andrew House, President and Group CEO, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. officially announced PS4 and presented the broader vision for PlayStation® evolving from a console in the living room into the best place to play wherever gamers are: “Our vision for the future is consumer-centric, developer-inspired, and characterized by an unwavering commitment to phenomenal play experiences,” House remarked. “Today we are revealing the genesis of an expanding ‘idea’ about the future of play – an idea with enough potential to satisfy the insatiable appetites of our creative community of developers and gamers.”

Acclaimed game designer and industry veteran Mark Cerny then took the stage to discuss PS4 in more detail, including the powerful system components that will give developers the canvas to fully express their creative ideas and deliver more immersive gaming that transcends today’s expectations. Cerny, the lead system architect for PS4, also talked about the five key principles guiding the design of the consumer experience that will surround all games: simple, immediate, social, integrated, and personalized.

“We wanted to ensure that nothing would come between the platform and the joy of play,” Cerny said. “We also wanted to be sure that the system architecture could fluidly connect the player to a larger world of experiences, and provide easy access to everything PlayStation® has to offer – across the console and mobile spaces, and PlayStation®Network. And we were able to create, in PS4, a platform by game creators for game creators.”

David Perry, noted developer and CEO of Gaikai Inc., which joined SCE group last year, announced the ambitions for PlayStation®Network and how PS4 will leverage Gaikai’s cloud technology to deliver a sea change in how consumers discover, access, share and enjoy games. Whether that’s connecting PSN more deeply into social networks or broadcasting the game a user is playing in real time or getting help from friends in new ways, the gaming experience on PS4 is rooted in social interaction. Perry also discussed the company’s goal to make free exploration possible for various games, a concept he described as, “Try it for free, share it if you like it, only pay for games you fall in love with.”

PS4 integrates second screens, including PS Vita, smartphones and tablets, to wrap gamers in their favorite content wherever they are. SCE’s long-term goal is to make almost every PS4 title playable on PS Vita by using Remote Play over Wi-Fi networks. “PS Vita is the ultimate companion device for PS4, enabling gamers to pull their games from their beautiful HDTVs to PS Vita’s beautiful 5-inch screen,” Perry noted.

The spotlight moved toward some of the most creative individuals in the development and publishing community, highlighting how PS4 brings a new synergy between hardware and software to enable new emotional states of play never before possible. “The future of PlayStation is about great games – inspiring, new experiences from the imaginations of the world’s best creators,” said Michael Denny, SVP, Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios.

Denny introduced developers behind some of the first-party titles being created exclusively for the new platform, including Guerrilla Games’ Hermen Hulst, Sucker Punch Productions’ Nate Fox, and Evolution Studios’ Matt Southern.

“‘Next Generation’ no longer just means ‘more powerful hardware,’” Southern said. “We’re a next generation of gamer, we want to play great looking games but in new ways that fit our permanently-connected lives. To us, that means driving in a team. It’s such a thrill for a studio to be asked to help define new PlayStation technology, so that we can bring our vision for team based racing to life.”

Celebrated independent developer Jonathan Blow then unveiled the first official trailer for The Witness, which will be exclusive to PS4 for console and underscores PlayStation’s support of developers interested in pushing the boundaries of play.

PlayStation®Meeting 2013 also featured two of the gaming industry’s most talented creators providing a glimpse into the future of what’s possible on PS4. David Cage from Quantic Dream explored narrative-driven gaming and how PS4’s powerful hardware lets developers forget about technology and focus on creating experiences that trigger emotions. “We can concentrate on what amazing stories we want to tell and what incredible worlds we want to create,” Cage said. “We can take you to places you have never seen before and make you feel emotions that you have never felt in real life, without having to wonder if we will have the horsepower to do so. We are now only limited by our imagination.”

Alex Evans from Media Molecule then re-imagined the concept of user-generated content and creativity. Armed with a PlayStation®Move motion controller, he demonstrated the freedom of expression that PS4 offers to creators, whether they’re professional developers or gamers of all levels. Evans remarked: “PS4, in our eyes, should be ‘the creative console’. It’s the place you go to be inspired; It’s the place to experience other’s dreams, or make your own: it’s the place you go, to make. With PS4, with the creative console, we want to change making in every way: from music to gaming to story-telling.”

Building on PlayStation’s long-standing history of collaborating with third-party partners, PS4 will have software support from virtually every major developer and publisher across North America, Europe and Japan. At PlayStation Meeting 2013, titles in development and technology demos were presented by partners including Activision Publishing, Inc., Blizzard Entertainment, Inc., Bungie, Inc., CAPCOM, Epic Games, Inc., Havok, SQUARE ENIX Co., Ltd., Ubisoft Entertainment, showcasing how the development community has already embraced PS3’s ability to make their imaginations become reality.

Ubisoft Entertainment Co-Founder and CEO Yves Guillemot announced that Watch_Dogs, introduced at E3 2012 to critical acclaim, will launch with PS4. “Today, with PS4, Sony Computer Entertainment is introducing an amazing new platform,” Guillemot said. “It will let developers like ours deliver games that surpass anything previously possible on a home console. PS4 will also help us deliver on what we believe to be the future of gaming.”

Chris Metzen, Senior Vice President of Story and Franchise Development of Blizzard Entertainment, Inc., unveiled that the award-winning Diablo franchise would make its console debut with PlayStation. Diablo III will be adapted for PS4 with an interface custom-designed to work naturally on controllers.

Eric Hirshberg, CEO of Activision Publishing, Inc., announced full support from its developers for PS4. Hirshberg then introduced Bungie, Inc., which is working on “the next great video game franchise – Destiny™.”

Harold Ryan, President of Bungie, Inc., announced that Destiny will have exclusive content for PlayStation gamers. Ryan said: “Like PS4, Destiny is an online, connected experience. Like PS4, Destiny lets you access the content you love from multiple devices. And like PS4, Destiny is designed to entertain you for years to come.”

The lineup of PS4 games shown at PlayStation Meeting 2013 include:

Driveclub (WWS Evolution Studios)
inFAMOUS Second Son (WWS Sucker Punch Productions)
Killzone: Shadow Fall (WWS Guerrilla Games)
Knack (WWS Japan Studio)
Deep Down (working title) (CAPCOM)
Destiny (Activision Publishing, Inc./ Bungie, Inc.)
Diablo III (Blizzard Entertainment, Inc.)
The Witness (Jonathan Blow)
Watch_Dogs (Ubisoft Entertainment)

Additional titles that will be available for PS4 will continue to be announced, demonstrating the full support of SCE Worldwide Studios, third-party developers and publishers, and the independent development community.

“The arrival of PS4 is a critical initiative that presents an enormous opportunity to dramatically evolve the game play experience into something far grander than ever imagined,” House said, as he concluded the event. “From enhanced social capabilities to intensified power to realizing bigger, better, and more immersive game play, to the evolution of our ecosystem to meet the requirements for a simpler, more adaptive interface, we believe PS4 proves we have more to offer than ever before.”

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