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Will Sony PlayStation 4 hit bull's eye?

Last updated on: March 7, 2013 14:51 IST

Will Sony PlayStation 4 hit bull's eye?

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After the failure of PS3 gaming console, consumer electronics giant Sony has placed all its bet on the next iteration, PS4? But will PS4 help Sony humble competition?

Get Ahead reader Jaspreet Singh weighs the pros and cons of Sony's 8th generation gaming console. Jaspreet has a BTech in Computer Science and an MBA in marketing. He works as a functional consultant with a leading IT company in the logistics domain.

Ending months of speculation, electronics giant Sony has announced its 8th generation gaming console, the Playstation 4.  The successor to the Playstation name -- till now known by its development name Orbis – the PS4 looks upon its worthy ancestors the PS and PS2 which were the winners in their generation, a position somewhat diminished with the not so successful run of the PS3.

This time Sony is determined to get it right. The stakes are equally high -- success could breathe fresh life into Sony's home electronics business which has been struggling for the past few years and failure could mean the end of the Playstation brand and Sony vanishing into obscurity.

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Image: Irish video game developer David Perry speaks during the unveiling of the PlayStation 4 launch event in New York, February 20, 2013.
Photographs: Brendan McDermid/Reuters
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Hardware specs

Like its predecessor the PS4 boasts of some very impressive hardware. Powered by an 8 Core AMD CPU based on the X86 architecture and cranking graphics with a Radeon GPU comprises of 18 "compute units" capable of cranking out 1.84 TFLOPS the PS4 is already touching super computer league.

Features like Blu-Ray drive, 802.11n Wi-Fi, USB 3.0, Bluetooth 2.1, HDMI, optical out and surprisingly even a legacy analog AV are retained.

It packs 8GB of unified GDDR5 RAM capable of 176GB/sec of bandwidth. The unified RAM is a departure from the previous practice of dedicated system and VRAM.

Surprisingly Sony has yet to come out on the HDD specs.

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Motion sensing all the way

The seventh generation was dominated by the Wii -- with worldwide sales far above either Xbox 360 or the PS3. The simplistic gameplay coupled with motion sensing attracted full families to gaming and for the first time allowed Nintendo to harvest the casual gamer market.

As a result the Nintendo Wii outsold both its competitors despite being a generation behind in graphics capabilities. Microsoft and Sony tried to incorporate motion sensing in their own consoles but the results were not very encouraging.

Both Microsoft's Kinect and Sony's Playstation Move did not find many adopters.

This time the motion sensing capabilities are built right into the controller. The DualShock 4 features a touchpad (inspired from the handheld PS Vita), a headphone jack and a light bar to identify players. Also included is a share button. Sony projects the share button as the hottest features of the DualShock 4, allowing players to upload video clips and screenshots of their gameplay to Ustream, Facebook and the firm's own PlayStation Network.

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Streaming games -- Old and new

After its acquisition of Gaikai, rumours abounded that the PS4 would incorporate cloud based streaming games. Confirming this Sony promised streaming games including titles from previous generation consoles that won't enjoy native support on the PS4.

Streaming games is a double win for Sony. Eliminating backward compatibility reduces cost of the PS4 while making customers buy digital licenses for the games they already own for their older consoles.

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Social media integration

With PS4 Sony takes social media integration to the next level. The PS4 buffers 15 minutess of gameplay. Did you just complete a killstreak with just a crossbow? Or did you pull off an amazing move combination, or triggered some spectacular explosion? Right on the controller is the share button.

Press it and the PS4 will upload the video of your greatest game achievement to your integrated account without you having to stop your gameplay.

Let the bragging begin.

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Third party support

After its impressively powerful handheld, the PS Vita, ran headfirst into a brick wall, Sony has learnt the lesson albeit quite painfully that having the best console is not going to translate into customer purchases unless the console is supported by a wide variety of games to go with it.

Keeping this in mind, Sony has already announced some big names for its upcoming console.

Assassin's Creed 4, plus the latest offerings will accompany the PS4 launch from Killzone, Infamous and Battlefield franchises. As of date 15 games have been confirmed for the PS4 platform. Hopefully by launch the PS4 will have 25+ high quality titles to give it the launch it needs.

The hype and developer support will only take it that far. After that its Sony's strategies and ultimately, the PS4's value proposition that will decide whether it will win this round or not.

Are you a gadget/gaming wizard/afficianado? Would you like to write on gadgets, gaming, the Internet, software technologies, OSs and the works for us? Send us a sample of your writing to gadgetsandgaming@rediffmail.com with the subject as 'I'm a tech wizard/afficianado' and we will get in touch with you.



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