PlayStation 4

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PlayStation 4
PlayStation 4 logo and wordmark.svg
PS4-Console-wDS4.jpg
PlayStation 4 console with DualShock 4 controller
Developer Sony Computer Entertainment
Manufacturer Foxconn[1]
Product family PlayStation
Type Video game console
Generation Eighth generation
Release date
Introductory price US$399.99, €399.99, £349.99
Units sold 9 million (as of 2 July 2014)[4]
Media Blu-ray Disc, DVD
Operating system PlayStation 4 system software
CPU Semi-custom 8-core AMD x86-64 Jaguar CPU (integrated into APU)[5]
Secondary low power processor (for background tasks)[6]
Memory 8 GB GDDR5 (unified)
256 MB DDR3 RAM (for background tasks)[6]
Storage Hard drive, 500GB (user upgradeable, supports SSD)
Display
Graphics Semi-custom AMD GCN Radeon(integrated into APU)
Controller input DualShock 4, PlayStation Move, PlayStation Vita
Camera PlayStation Camera
Connectivity 802.11 b/g/n Wireless, Bluetooth 2.1, USB 3.0, Ethernet 10/100/1000
Online services PlayStation Network
Best-selling game Killzone Shadow Fall: 2.1 million sold (as of 2 March 2014)[8]
Backward
compatibility
No native support
PlayStation Now cloud support planned
Predecessor PlayStation 3
Website Official PlayStation website

The PlayStation 4 (officially abbreviated as PS4), is a video game console from Sony Computer Entertainment. Announced as the successor to the PlayStation 3 during a press conference on 20 February 2013, it was launched on 15 November 2013, in North America, and 29 November 2013, in Europe and Australia.[9][10] It competes with Nintendo's Wii U and Microsoft's Xbox One, as one of the eighth generation of video game consoles.

Moving away from the more complex Cell architecture of its predecessor, the PlayStation 4 features an AMD x86-64 Accelerated Processing Unit, in hopes of attracting a broader range of developers and support for the system. The PlayStation 4's GPU can perform 1.843 teraflops, making it the world's most powerful games console.[11]

Sony intends more focus on social gameplay, incorporating a "share" button on the new controller and enabling a view of in-game play streamed live from friends. The console enables interactivity with other services and devices through the following methods: PlayStation Now, a cloud-based gaming service that offers streaming video game content;[12] PlayStation App, designed to enhance gameplay by using smartphones and tablets as a second screen; and PlayStation Vita's design for playing a majority of PlayStation 4 games through wireless Remote Play.

During the 2014 fiscal year, demand for PS4 assisted Sony to top global console sales.[13]

History

According to lead architect Mark Cerny, development on Sony's eighth-generation video game console began as early as 2008.[14] Less than two years earlier, the PlayStation 3 had launched after months of delays due to issues in production.[15] The delay placed Sony almost a year behind Microsoft's Xbox 360, which was already approaching 10 million units sold by the time the PS3 launched.[15] PlayStation Europe CEO Jim Ryan said Sony wanted to avoid repeating the same mistake with PS3's successor.[16] In designing the system Sony worked with software developer Bungie who offered their input on the controller and how to make it better for shooters.[17]

In 2012, Sony began shipping development kits to game developers consisting of a modified PC running the AMD Accelerated Processing Unit chipset.[18] These development kits were known as Orbis.[19] In early 2013, Sony announced that an event known as PlayStation Meeting 2013 would be held in New York City on 20 February 2013, to cover the "future of PlayStation".[20][21] Sony officially announced the PlayStation 4 at the event.[22][23] They revealed details about the console's hardware and discussed some of the new features it will introduce.[22][24] Sony also showed off real-time footage of games in development, as well as some technical demonstrations.[25][26] Sony released more information about the console and presented the device itself in June 2013 at the Electronic Entertainment Expo.[27]

The company revealed release dates for North America, Central America, South America, Europe and Australia, as well as final pieces of information at a Gamescom press event in Cologne, Germany on 20 August 2013. The console was released on 15 November 2013 in the United States and Canada, followed by further releases on 29 November 2013.[2] By the end of 2013, the PS4 was also launched in more European, Asian and South American countries, ahead of the console's Japanese début on 22 February 2014.[28][29] The PlayStation 4 will be the first Sony console to be officially and legally released in China since the PlayStation 2, following the lifting of a 14-year game console ban; a specific release date has yet to be announced.[30][31]

As of July 2014, the PlayStation 4 has been launched in 58 countries.

Release dates

Date Country
15 November 2013 Canada, United States[2]
29 November 2013 Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Denmark, Ecuador, El Salvador, Finland, France, Germany, Guatemala, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom[2][32]
13 December 2013 Bahrain, Bolivia, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Kuwait, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, South Africa, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay[33][34]
17 December 2013 Hong Kong (China), Macau (China), South Korea[28][35]
18 December 2013 Taiwan[36]
19 December 2013 Singapore[28]
20 December 2013 Malaysia[28]
6 January 2014 India[37]
9 January 2014 Indonesia[38]
14 January 2014 Thailand, Philippines[39]
22 February 2014 Japan[3]
TBA Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Iceland, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Shanghai (China), Serbia, Slovenia, Ukraine[30][34]

Hardware

The technology in the PlayStation 4 is relatively similar to the hardware found in personal computers.[40] This familiarity should make it easier and less expensive for game studios to develop games for the PS4.[41][42] The physical console was finally unveiled by Sony at E3 2013.

Technical specifications

The PlayStation 4 uses a processor developed by AMD in cooperation with Sony. It combines a central processing unit (CPU) and graphics processing unit (GPU), as well as other components such as a memory controller and video decoder.[43] The CPU consists of two quad-core Jaguar modules totaling 8 x86-64 cores.[43][44] The GPU consists of 18 compute units to produce a theoretical peak performance of 1.84 TFLOPS.[26] The system's GDDR5 memory is capable of running at a maximum clock frequency of 2.75 GHz (5500 MT/s) and has a maximum memory bandwidth of 176 GB/s.[26][45][46] The console contains 8 GB of GDDR5 memory,[26][47] 16 times the amount of RAM found in the PS3 and is expected to give the console considerable longevity.[40][48] It also includes secondary custom chips that handle tasks associated with downloading, uploading, and social gameplay.[49][50] These tasks can be handled seamlessly in the background during gameplay or while the system is in sleep mode.[51] The console also contains an audio module, which can support in-game chat as well as "a very large number" of audio streams for use in-game.[52]

Its read-only optical drive is capable of reading Blu-ray Discs at speeds of up to three times that of the PS3's.[48][53] The console features a hardware on-the-fly decompression module boosting optical disc reading speed and buffer unread data when a game is not actively accessing the optical drive, forming part of Sony's PlayGo strategy.[52] Although the console supports photos and videos at 4K resolution, the system is not expected to render games at 4K.[54][55] The console includes a 500 gigabyte hard drive for additional storage,[56] which can be upgraded by the user.[57]

The PlayStation 4 features Wi-Fi and Ethernet connectivity, Bluetooth, and two USB 3.0 ports.[26][48] An auxiliary port is also be included for connection to the PlayStation Camera, a motion detection digital camera device first introduced on the PS3.[26] A mono headset, which can be plugged into the DualShock 4, is bundled with the system.[58] Audio/video output options include HDMI TV and optical S/PDIF audio.[26] The console does not have an analog audio/video output.[59]

Although not available on the system at launch,[60] the PS4 features a "Suspend mode" feature. This places the console in a low-power state, while allowing users to immediately resume their game once the console is awoken. The console also is able to download content such as game and OS updates while it is in this state.[61][62]

Controllers

Main articles: DualShock 4 and PlayStation Move
PlayStation Move controllers

DualShock 4 is the PlayStation 4's primary controller, retailing at US$59/€59/£54.[63] Similar to the DualShock 3, it connects to the console via Bluetooth 2.1+EDR.[64] The DualShock 3, however, is not compatible with the PS4.[65] The DualShock 4 is equipped with several new features, including a built-in two-point capacitative touch pad on the front of the controller, which is clickable.[58] The controller supports motion detection via a three-axis gyroscope and three-axis accelerometer and improved vibration,[58][64] as well as being the first PlayStation first-party controller to feature official support for the Windows PC platform.[66] It includes a non-removable,[67] rechargeable lithium-ion battery tentatively capable of storing 1000 mAh.[58] The tentative design weighs 210 g (7.4 oz), has dimensions of 162 × 52 × 98 mm (6.4 × 2.0 × 3.9 in), and has a rubber or etched plastic backing to enhance grip.[64][67] The design shown at Sony's launch event was "near final".[68]

DualShock 4 controller

The controller features several output connectors. Its stereo jack (3.5 mm TRRS connector) supports the connection of a headset to allow a user to speak and hear audio simultaneously.[64] A micro-USB port, an extension port, and a mono speaker is also included. The controller can be charged via micro-USB, a dedicated charging station, or the console (even when the console is off).[58]

DualShock 4 features the following buttons: PS button, SHARE button, OPTIONS button, directional buttons, action buttons (triangle, circle, cross, square), shoulder buttons (R1/L1), triggers (R2/L2), analog stick click buttons (L3/R3) and a touch pad click button.[58] These mark several changes from the DualShock 3 and other previous PlayStation controllers. The START and SELECT buttons have been merged into a single OPTIONS button.[58][67] A dedicated SHARE button allows players to upload videos from their gameplay experiences.[58] The joysticks and triggers have been redesigned based on developer input.[58] The joysticks now features a concave surface.[67]

DualShock 4 also features a light bar that can display different colors. The colors help identify players and alert them with critical messages such as low health.[58] It also interacts with a camera attachment that perceives movement and depth by using the controller's light bar. It is based on the existing technology used in the PlayStation Move. Existing PlayStation Move controllers are supported on the PS4.[64][69]

Camera

PlayStation Camera

PlayStation Camera is an optional motion sensing accessory for the PlayStation 4. It includes two 1280×800px lenses operating with an aperture of f/2.0, with 30 cm focusing distance, and an 85° field of view.[58] The dual camera setup allows for different modes of operation, depending on the target application.[70] The two cameras can be used together for depth-sensing of objects in its field of vision,[71] akin to the Xbox's Kinect peripheral.[72] Alternatively, one of the cameras can be used for generating the video image, with the other used for motion tracking.[73]

PlayStation Camera also features a four-channel microphone array,[58] which helps reduce unwanted background noise and may even be used to receive voice commands.[70] It is tentatively set to be 186 × 27 × 27 mm (7.3 × 1.1 × 1.1 in) (width × height × depth), with a weight of 183 grams (6.5 oz).[58] It records video in RAW and YUV (uncompressed) formats and connects to the console via an auxiliary port.[56][58][63]

Companion devices

Main article: Remote Play

Smartphones, tablets, and PlayStation Vita can interact with the PlayStation 4 as second screen devices.[26] Companion devices can also wake the console from sleep mode.[74]

A PlayStation Vita can be used for streaming video directly from the console to the handheld, allowing supported games to be played remotely.[75] Sony hopes to make all PS4 games playable on PlayStation Vita.[26] Developers can add Vita-specific controls for use via Remote Play.[68]

PlayStation App allows iOS and Android mobile devices to interact with the PlayStation 4, similar to Xbox SmartGlass.[26][76][77][78] Gamers can use this application to, for example, purchase PS4 titles while away from home and have them remotely downloaded to the console, watch live streams of other gamers, and view in-game maps while playing games.[26]

On 19 March 2014, Sony unveiled "Project Morpheus", a virtual reality device for the PlayStation 4 featuring a head-mounted display with 1080p resolution and a 90 degree field of view. Project Morpheus is not the final product and is still a work in progress. There has yet to be any confirmation on pricing and release date for the public.[79]

Software and services

PlayStation 4 user interface.

The PlayStation 4 runs an operating system called "Orbis OS," which is thought to be a modified version of the FreeBSD 9.0 operating system.[80][81] Sony Computer Entertainment's website confirms that Orbis OS uses a FreeBSD kernel.[82]

Although the console does not require an Internet connection to function, it will provide "richer" functionality when it is connected to the internet.[83] PlayStation Network (PSN) allows users to access a variety of online services, including PlayStation Store, and the Music Unlimited and Video Unlimited subscription services.[26] Customers can browse titles and stream games via Gaikai to demo them almost instantaneously.[26][84] Unlike PS3, a PlayStation Plus subscription is required to access online multiplayer in most games; this requirement does not apply to "free-to-play" or subscription-based titles.[85] a new policy introduced with the PlayStation 4, though this is dependent on the game publisher.[86][87] Furthermore, owing to the need to subscribe for online multiplayer, Sony will not allow online passes to be used on the system by any publisher.[88] Sony intends to expand and evolve the services it offers over the console's lifespan.[89]

The PlayStation 4 will support playing audio CDs, MP3 files, or from DLNA servers after launch.[90]

User interface

The PlayStation 4 replaces the functionality of PlayStation 3's XrossMediaBar with a new customizable interface titled PlayStation Dynamic Menu.[62][91][92] The user profile for players shows recent activity, their full name, and other details in addition to their unlocked Trophies.[93] The PS4 home screen features personalized content from friends.[26] Services from third-party vendors, such as Netflix and Amazon Instant Video, are also accessible within the new interface.[94] It is possible to multitask during gameplay, such as opening a web browser while playing a game.[26]

There were 11 digital entertainment apps on the PS4 at the American launch on 15 November 2013: Amazon Instant Video, Crackle, Crunchyroll, EPIX, Hulu Plus, NBA Game Time, Netflix, NHL GameCenter LIVE, Redbox, VUDU and YuppTV.[95][96][97]

Voice control

A microphone or camera enables users to control the system through voice commands. Although limited at launch, Sony plans to expand the number of voice commands in the near future.[98]

Web Browser

The PS4 includes a WebKit based web browser, which is a departure from the PS3 which used the NetFront browser. The PS4 browser is based on the same modern Webkit core as Google Chrome and Apple Safari, and as a result gives it an impressive score in HTML5 compliance testing, putting it top of all the consoles.[99]

Social features

"Ustream's integration within PS4 consoles will put gamers on a new media field. They will have the ability to direct, produce, and star in their own video game production, simply by being an awesome (or not so awesome!) gamer."

— Ustream co-founder Brad Hunstable

Sony is focused on "social" aspects as a major feature of the console.[89] Although the PS4 has improved social functionality, the features are optional and can be disabled.[89] Gamers have the option to use real names with friends, in addition to a nickname in other situations when anonymity is important.[100]

Sharing

The DualShock 4 controller includes a "SHARE" button, allowing the player to cycle through the last 15 minutes of gameplay to select a screenshot or video clip appropriate for sharing. Media is uploaded seamlessly from the console to other PSN users or social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. By 10 December 2013, the "SHARE" button was already responsible for 20 million minutes of live gameplay broadcasts, and accounts for 10% of all Twitch activity.[101]

Live broadcasting

Gamers can browse live video of titles their friends are playing through the PS4 interface, with cross-game camera and microphone inputs, spectate or assist in their game to help them overcome difficult obstacles, and broadcast live video of one's own gameplay via public services Twitch, Ustream and Niconico, allowing friends to view and comment on them from other web browsers and devices.[26][102][103]

Games

Sony Computer Entertainment of America chief executive officer Jack Tretton said games for the PlayStation 4 will range in price from US$0.99 to US$60.00.[104] Games on the PlayStation 4 are not region-locked, so games purchased in one region can be played on consoles in all regions.[105] In response to concerns surrounding the possibility of DRM measures to hinder the resale of used games (and in particular, the initial DRM policies of Xbox One, which did contain such restrictions), SCEA CEO Jack Tretton explicitly stated during Sony's E3 press conference that there would be "no restrictions" on the resale and trading of PS4 games on physical media, while software product development head Scott Rohde specified that Sony was planning to disallow online passes as well, going on to say that the policies were designed to be "consumer-friendly, extremely retailer-friendly, and extremely publisher-friendly."[106][107][108][109]

Sony also took steps to make it easier for indie game developers to develop titles for the PS4.[110][111] The company further announced at least ten indie titles that will make their console debut on the PlayStation 4 by the end of 2013.[112]

In addition to the physical media available at retailers, all PlayStation 4 titles can be purchased online through PlayStation Store.[113] Demos are available for all games.[114] Players can sign into any PS4 console to access their entire digital game library.[115]

All PS4 games, whether digitally or physically purchased, must be cached on the console's hard drive. After the download and/or installation of a game's initial content (such as opening levels), users can begin playing the game while additional content is streamed from the game's disc or downloaded as needed. A secondary processor coordinates the background downloading of games and updates, even when the console is in standby mode.[26][116]

Backward compatibility

The PlayStation 4 does not natively support PlayStation 3 games.[117] While the company has yet to also rule out locally-hosted emulation of some previous generations of game systems,[118] the company detailed plans to leverage Gaikai (which Sony acquired in July 2012) to provide cloud-based emulation of previous generations on both the PS4 and Vita as a long-term solution to the challenges of backwards compatibility. Gaikai is already used by the console as the backend for the Remote Play feature.[119][120]

PlayStation Now

In December 2013, Andrew House indicated that Sony was planning to launch a Gaikai-based cloud gaming service for the PS4 in North America within the third quarter of 2014, with a European launch to follow in 2015.[121][122] At Consumer Electronics Show on 7 January 2014, Sony unveiled PlayStation Now, a service which will initially allow users to access PlayStation 3 games on the PS4 via a cloud-based streaming system, purchasing games individually or via a subscription.[123]

Reception

Pre-release

"It's abundantly clear that PS4 is being driven as a collaboration between East and West, as opposed to a dictation from one side to the other. Developers are fully involved, activated, discussed and doing really cool collaborative things."

Mark Rein, Epic Games[124]

Pre-release reception to the console from developers and journalists was positive.

Mark Rein of Epic Games praised the "enhanced" architecture of Sony's system, describing it as "a phenomenal piece of hardware".[124] John Carmack, programmer and co-founder of id Software, also commended the design by saying "Sony made wise engineering choices",[125] while Randy Pitchford of Gearbox Software expressed satisfaction with the amount of high-speed memory in the console.[126]

Eurogamer called the graphics technology in the PS4 "impressive" and an improvement from the difficulties developers experienced on the PlayStation 3.[48] Ted Price, president and CEO of Insomniac Games, said: "As a longtime partner of Sony's we've enjoyed some pretty awesome console tech over the last couple of decades and it looks like the PS4 will continue that trend. I think most of us in the console development world are always looking for more horsepower, more memory, more storage, faster load times... Sony showed clear evidence that we're getting those boosts with this console. However since we at Insomniac love creating new IP, what seems particularly cool is the Gaikai streaming which should allow you to experience console IP on different types of devices."[127]

After Sony's E3 2013 press conference, IGN responded positively to Sony's attitude towards indie developers and trading games, stating they thought "most gamers would agree" that "if you care about games like [Sony] do, you'll buy a PlayStation 4."[128] PlayStation 4's removable and upgradable hard drive also drew praise from IGN, with Scott Lowe commenting that the decision gave the console "another advantage" over the Xbox One, of which the hard drive cannot be accessed.[129]

GameSpot called the PlayStation 4 "the gamer's choice for next-generation", citing its price, lack of restrictive digital rights management, and most importantly, Sony's efforts to "acknowledge its consumers" and "respect its audience" as major factors.[130]

Brazilian pricing

On 17 October 2013, Sony announced that the PlayStation 4 would cost R$3,999 (about US$1,759) in Brazil.[131] The cost was explained by a Sony Brazil representative to be largely due to the Brazilian government's high import charges,[132] which were estimated to make up 60–70% of the cost.[133] Mark Stanley, Sony's general manager of Latin America, released a statement on 21 October 2013 with regards to the price of the PlayStation 4. The included chart shows the Brazilian government's taxes and import fees are 63% (R$2,524), which in addition to other fees, raised the price of the PlayStation 4 to R$3,999.[134] Stanley also stated that Sony is in discussions with Brazilian officials to reduce the import taxes and fees, and will try to begin producing the console locally, reducing the price, as it did with the PlayStation 3.[135]

Release

The PlayStation 4 has received generally positive reviews from critics. Scott Lowe from IGN gave it an 8.2/10 where he praised the design, the DualShock 4 and the social integration but criticized the fact that the software lacked some features and that the hardware was underused notably the touch pad on the DualShock 4.[136] IGN compared the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 over various categories, allowing their readers to vote for the system they'd prefer. The PS4 won every category on offer, and IGN awarded the PS4 with their People's Choice Award.[137] The Gadget Show gave it a positive review where they offered the console praise for Remote Play, the DualShock 4 also received praise for the new triggers and control sticks while criticizing the console for requiring a paid subscription to PlayStation Plus for online multiplayer and having a lack of media support noting that it can't play files from an external device.[138]

Sales

In August 2013, Sony announced the placement of over a million preorders for the console,[139] while on the North American launch date, one million PlayStation 4 consoles were sold.[140] In the UK, the PlayStation 4 became the best-selling console at launch, with the sale of 250,000 consoles within a 48-hour period,[141] and after five weeks on the UK market, 530,000 PS4 units were sold.[142]

Worldwide, over 2.1 million consoles were sold by 3 December 2013.[143] On 7 January 2014, Andrew House announced in his Consumer Electronics Show (CES) keynote speech that 4.2 million PS4 units were sold by the end of 2013,[144] with over 9.7 million software units sold.[145] On 18 February 2014, Sony announced that, as of 8 February, they had sold over 5.3 million console units following the release of the PS4 onto the North American and Western European markets; the company also stated that the PS4 was the best-selling console in the US in January 2014.[146][147] Within the first two days of release in Japan during the weekend of 22 February 2014, 322,083 consoles were sold.[148]

As of July 2, 2014, 9 million units have been sold worldwide,[4] and as of April 13, 2014, PS4 software sales have surpassed 20.5 million.[149] On July 17, it was announced that the PlayStation 4 was the top-selling console in the U.S. for the sixth consecutive month.[150]

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