back to article Sony promises PC-based PlayStation 4 for Christmas

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the Sony PlayStation 4 - or, as we say in the trade, a PC. Yes, the PS4 will indeed be based on an octo-core x86-compatible processor, incorporate 8GB of GDDR 5 and will be equipped with a PC-centric GPU. It’ll have a hard drive too, plus the inevitable Blu-ray drive. It will incorporate …

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  1. Flawless101
    Alert

    Price...

    Price will be the key issue, the PS3 was far too expensive on release and really suffered for it (even though they sold it at a loss). Not to mention the use of a different CPU architecture put some developers off, at least at the start.

    I think it looks good overall, the routing of sound to the controller and being able to plug in a pair of headphones is a neat idea.

    1. Ragarath

      Re: Price...

      Well the cost should be rather low. It sounds to me like it is a PC using off the shelf commodity items. I hope they made the GPU upgradable otherwise people will just buy a PC as it will be cheaper to maintain.

      This is also good news for PC gamers. As the PS4 is basically a PC, cross platform game licensing will mean better ports (both ways).

      1. wolfetone Silver badge

        Re: Price...

        It sounds as well that they're following what Microsoft did with their original Xbox. If the components are ready to come by and cheap, then the profits per console will be huge.

        As well as this, Nintendo have been using ATI for graphics for years. ATI could be found in their GameCube, and anyone who's played Rouge Squadron II (especially the Hoth level) will testify to the beautiful graphics it could generate.

        1. FartingHippo
          Headmaster

          @wolfetone

          "Rouge Squadron II"

          How does wearing blusher help defeat the empire?

          1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
            Coat

            Re: @wolfetone

            > How does wearing blusher help defeat the empire?

            For that you need to ask Princess Leia Orgasma.

          2. Simon Harris Silver badge

            Re: @wolfetone

            "Rouge Squadron II"

            How does wearing blusher help defeat the empire?

            Apparently, there is precident for this... from http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Red_Leader ...

            During the Battle of Endor, Wedge Antilles flew as Red Leader, commanding the squadron formerly flying as Rogue Squadron. He led Red Squadron into the superstructure of the second Death Star, and, along with Gold Leader Lando Calrissian, destroyed the battle station. Following that battle, Red Squadron was once more renamed Rogue Squadron.

            I can only assume that the lingua franca of the Rebel Alliance was actually French and 'Red Squadron' really should have been translated as 'Rouge Squadron'.

        2. Mike Richards Silver badge

          Re: Price...

          Commodity bits aren't always the bargain they seem.

          Microsoft lost lots of money on the original Xbox hardware because they couldn't control the price of key components such as the CPU, graphics chip and hard disk. Specifying and co-designing their hardware pretty much from the ground-up for the 360 actually saved money in the long term.

      2. Mark Allread

        Re: Price...

        Why would they make the GPU upgradeable? Don't you understand the difference between a console and a PC?

        1. JDX Gold badge

          Re: Price...

          Clearly he doesn't The whole point is every console has the same spec, so developers can wring out the last bit of performance and not have to worry about compatibility.

          You code to the specs.

      3. Pie
        Meh

        Re: Price...

        Why would you need an upgradable graphics card? Sony are not going to want to dilute the market by having haves and have nots? Developers are not going to want to limit games only to people who have upgraded? It would just add confusion and dilution.

        1. mark1978

          Re: Price...

          That's the main point of having a console. You buy a game for "PS4" and you know it's going to run well.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Price...

        LOL, "cheaper to maintain"

        My maintenance price on my PS3 in the 6 years I have owned it = £425 / 6 = £70 year.

        And Xbox360 works out at £90 a year when you include Xbox Live, and close to £100/year when you add in all the other shite they make you buy.

        How much will your PC cost? Double the Xbox360 every year?

        1. Ragarath

          Re: Price...

          Whoa! Lots to answer here.

          So what you all seem to be saying is that you are happy to pay over the odds for a non-upgradable PC. I understand the difference between a console and a PC. A console is a way for the manufactures to gouge you for money buying stuff that only works with their implementation and pay again for the same games in some cases.

          Upgrading the graphics does not make it a problem for developers, they have been doing this for years on the PC yet PC graphics still far surpass consoles if you want them to. Or if your content you can play with less flashy graphics and use your PC from a decade ago.

          Maintenance cost, your having a laugh! How much extra are you paying for games over a PC, even if you were to upgrade your OS and graphics card etc. every year (only the hardcore do this) then the price you overpay for games would cover this. I upgraded last year for the first time in seven years and have been able to play all games that have come out for the PC. So I am not sure where this mythical double XBox maintenance cost comes from. I imagine thin air.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Price...

          You do get what you pay for. Xbox Live is an order of magnitude better than anything Sony have. And Microsoft run a secure Azure based environment, not a shoddy LAMP stack like Sony, so you don't get your personal information and credit card numbers published to the Internet.....

      5. Mark Goodwin

        Re: Price...

        Using your reasoning, nobody would buy and XBox.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Price...

          Sorry, but I simply cannot take financial advice from anyone who's surname is Goodwin. I'm sure you understand. :)

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Price...

          Xbox Live is substantially better than anything Sony have and worth paying for....

          1. Daniel B.
            Thumb Down

            @AC on "xbox live is better"

            Xbox live is a pre-internet model of "pay for the privilege of multiplay" which was wiped out by Quake and similar games that gave it away for free. It should eventually get wiped out again, which will probably be sooner if the PS4 "wins" the next console gen wars.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: @AC on "xbox live is better"

              40 million current Xbox Live subscribers says your defination of 'wiped out' is a bit lacking...

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: @AC on "xbox live is better"

                Well I pay for Xbox live and tbh I think it's shit.

                As soon as I get a new TV that does Netflix etc my son can go fuck himself and pay for xbox live himself - though I suspect that he's going to jump ship and upgrade to the PS4.

                Personally I'm more than happy playing for free on steam and I can't stand using sill hand controllers.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: @AC on "xbox live is better"

                  Have you tried Sony's offering? It's substantially more 'shit' than Xbox Live...And it sounds like you don't use it for gaming...

      6. Piro

        Re: Price...

        Uh, not really. 8GiB of GDDR5? I doubt that's going to be especially cheap.

      7. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Price...

        PCs always struggle from having vast numbers of configurations. With varying GPU speeds, varying facilities.

        As a result the code has to be more complex to suit the differing capabilities of each machine, switching on and off various operations depending on if the hardware can cope with it.

        A slower GPU on a console combined with a more optimal API and less code branches can easily equal a desktop machine in some cases.

        Allowing upgrades introduces complexity into the software and complexity into the manufacturing process too. I suspect the GPU will be BGA, soldered to the board with a custom heatsink assembly.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Sony Vs MS

          Any interesting article in Geek.

          http://www.geek.com/articles/games/why-the-playstation-4-should-have-microsoft-worried-20130221/

      8. Comments are attributed to your handle
        FAIL

        Re: @Ragarath

        This is very much complicated by the fact that the PS4 will use a SOC (system on a chip) - one die, containing both the CPU and GPU. So, no user-upgradable GPU.

    2. jai

      Re: Price...

      It was far too expensive for a games console, perhaps yes, but for many it was also the cheapesst blu-ray player at the time, so actually made economical sense to get one.

      Or at least, that's how I rationalised spending that much money to myself.

      Then again, I'm not sure the same laws apply. In a world where we're buying tablets for 500 quid just to surf the web and play "small" games, why would it seem daft to expect people to pay up a lot more for a next gen console that again is not just a games machine but also a full media centre for your living room?

      I wouldn't be surprised to see both the PS4 and the next Xbox with (at least initially) asking prices similar to the expensive tablets.

      1. Captain Underpants

        Re: Price...

        @jai:

        People who aren't audio/videophiles do not see the value in buying a full media centre worth a damn, especially not one whose benefits may be lost on them if it turns out they bought a less-than-amazing-quality TV. A PS3 or PS4 won't be a compelling sales pitch at £600 as "not just a games machine" if the "not just games" stuff is stuff that customers view as unwanted/unneeded extras. That's not a comment on the quality of the other functions, but on whether people place value in them.

        The tablet pricing thing is down to people seeing a large overlap between a laptop and a tablet, and thus being willing to apply similar pricing. (It still seems a bit barmy to me too, but then I've already got a netbook, a laptop and a desktop, so it's hard to see a niche for a tablet. If I just had the desktop, I'd probably see it differently...)

        1. jai

          Re: Price...

          @Captain Underpants

          I disagree, i'd say that people who aren't audio/videophiles would be the ones who see value in buying a single piece of equipment that does the job of 3 or 4 (games / blu ray / dvd / streaming iPlayer/Netflix/LoveFilm / plays music / etc).

          It's the audio/videophiles who will be wanting to spend even more on a high spec blu ray player that's seperate to their home cinema 7.2 surround sound system, and also a seperate dedicated dvd player because it upscales better than the blu-ray player does, and a dedicated NAS box somewhere for streaming their downloaded content, etc etc etc. The PS3 did all that stuff okay, but it wasn't the perfect option, if you were particularly obsessed with sound or image quality..

          Most of the people i know that are non-techies and have gotten themselves a tablet are the ones who only really had a cheap laptop before, sitting on the coffee table. And now they've got a more expensive iPad instead. i'm not sure how that works, must be Apple's RDF in action i guess.

          1. Captain Underpants

            Re: Price...

            Well, I obviously disagree :)

            The PS3 was, at launch, a games platform with Blu-Ray player and a £600 price tag. With Blu-Ray discs rare and stupidly pricey at the time, that was basically "A games console with some function I'll barely ever use". We're not talking "commoditisation of DVD playback" in the way that the PS2 achieved here - for many people this thing was the introduction to the technology. Hell, for plenty of folks today their Blu-Ray collection consists exclusively of discs that they've received as gifts.

            At the time of the PS2 and its integrated DVD player, that was pretty much the only current form of contemporary home video option, with VHS already recognised as being on the way to its grave. It was good enough, and didn't drive the cost of the console up particularly. Whether or not the Blu-Ray playback function drives up the cost of the PS3 is irrelevant - because it appeared to do so, in no small part because Nintendo's console launched at 1/3 of the PS3's price. If the killer feature the PS3 offers is Blu-ray, but the value of that feature has been hobbled by the continued viability of the DVD and the rise of streaming/downloadable content (Blinkbox, 4OD, iPlayer, iTunes etc), then it stands to reason that selling it as anything other than the Sony Games Machine isn't going to work. And you can see this in the fact that they started to shift more units once the price came down to £250-£300 - because when it's more or less the same price as a Wii and can do other stuff as well, it gets people's attention. If it does other stuff as well but costs twice the price, people consider the other stuff and largely decided that they didn't really care all that much.

            And this all before we talk about selling a £600 piece of home entertainment electronics with a horrifically high failure rate and several instances of functionality being removed during firmware updates...

      2. steogede

        Re: Re: Price...

        >> It was far too expensive for a games console, perhaps yes, but for many it was also the cheapesst

        >> blu-ray player at the time, so actually made economical sense to get one.

        >>

        >> Or at least, that's how I rationalised spending that much money to myself.

        That's the key. All they need to do is think of something new that nobody wants or needs, make it really expensive and include it for less on the console. Can't go wrong.

    3. Def Silver badge

      Re: routing of sound to the controller and being able to plug in a pair of headphones

      3DO did this 20 years ago. It's a great idea, but not exactly a new one. :)

      1. Ommoti
        Unhappy

        Re: routing of sound to the controller and being able to plug in a pair of headphones

        20 Years ago... Oh bloody hell I'm old.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sony have dropped the ball

    I can understand Sonys desire to be first out of the blocks with the announcement of their next gen console, but they've dropped the ball for me.

    They had all the hype and build up to yesterdays event and didn't show us a single shot of what the console looks like. Some people may disagree, but I think that is MASSIVELY important. Take Apple for example all their big launches are based around them proudly parading their latest iWhatever in front of a drooling audience but all Sony can give us is a controller and an improved EyeToy....

    For them to capitalise on the hype they had people needed to see a picture of this thing to get it embedded in their minds early doors that this is the next gen console that you should be buying.

    If Microsoft show their new Xbox at E3 and have the finished console there ready for people to see and awe at then they'll come out of the blocks faster than the PS4.

    1. jai

      Re: Sony have dropped the ball

      Thing is, when Apple show off their new shiny shiny, it's generally either available to pre-order (for delivery within the month) immediately after the show is over, or it's in their shops at the end of the week.

      Sony have at least 6 months before putting the PS4 in the shops. If they show off the design now, there's plenty of time for Microsoft to copy and improve on any particularly good aspects of it.

      And it's not like they have any competition at the moment - you can't go an order/pre-order a competitor's next-gen console today because you didn't get to see what the PS4 will look like.

      So they can wait - If Microsoft are going to show the next Xbox at E3, then Sony can also surprise everyone at the same time by showing the PS4. And it'll be the PS4 that gets all the headlines, precisely because they've created all the hype now by not showing it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sony have dropped the ball

        They had twitter and numerous websites foaming at the mouth in anticipation of what the thing would look like and then they just give us fantastic specs and some impressive demos, but no tangible product.

        Sony won't be able to pull the same trick twice, so when they do announce what it looks like they won't generate as much of a media and social frenzy as they had in the build up to yesterdays event. When Microsoft announce the new xbox at E3 they'll get the bulk of the coverage even if Sony show what their PS4 looks like. The majority of the column inches will have already been written about the PS4 by the time E3 rolls around apart from the design.

        I've no preference over either company and I agree it's a long time until we can preorder either console, but I think this launch could've gone so much better for Sony. Microsoft aren't afraid at throwing millions at advertising a product and making sure everyone knows about it. Sometimes it doesn't pay off (like their phone range) and other times it does (like it did with the 360) and no doubt they'll be doing it again, so I hope Sony have a few more tricks up their sleeve with the design of their console.

        I can see Microsoft going down the X86 route too and having the new xbox dual boot with Windows 8, so I'm surprised Sony haven't seen this coming and shipped a fork of Android on there as part of their UI experience

        1. djack

          Re: Sony have dropped the ball

          Yeah, I it would be good for Sony to put a general(er) the purpose OS on the PS4. That way they have some functionality to remove after a year or two.

        2. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: Sony have dropped the ball

          The last two generations of Playstation haven't been an embarrassment to the living room in terms of their looks, so I don't need to see a mock-up of the hardware to be reassured.

          1. Mike Richards Silver badge

            Re: Sony have dropped the ball

            I must be in a tiny minority, but I find the asymmetric angular shapes of the PS2 and PS3 to be bloody ugly. It's only that they're so black that prevents them being a complete eyesore. Much prefer the shape of the original 360.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Up

        Re: Sony have dropped the ball

        Osborne effect.

        See why Ford aren't selling any Mondeos recently (in comparison to Insignias and the likes).

        Get someone used to the new product, they wont buy the current product.

      3. Alan Dougherty

        Re: Sony have dropped the ball

        Or you could just go and buy a PC?

    2. GregC
      Happy

      Re: Sony have dropped the ball

      It'll be a black shiny box with a PS logo, a BD drive and ports for USB/HDMI/whatever else is on the list. It'll be tucked away under the TV for it's life. I don't really care at this point about exactly what shape that box is, what it's packing hardware wise is what's important and that's what Sony have announced.

      No doubt there's be pics and/or hardware at E3 - if they reveal everything now how are they going to keep the hype machine fed until Xmas....

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sony have dropped the ball

        I think they are deciding on what format of media to accept and so can't show the device.

        The dilemma of the PS Go is haunting them. They would love to drop discs but it has a lot of downsides which will kill their market.

        1. Blank Reg Silver badge

          Re: Sony have dropped the ball

          They have already said it has a 6x bluray drive. They didn't show the box because they are saving that for E3.

    3. Annihilator
      Facepalm

      Re: Sony have dropped the ball

      I have never, ever bought a console based on what it looks like. That is all.

    4. mark1978

      Re: Sony have dropped the ball

      Because Apple have devices which people hold in their hand and carry around, the device and how it looks is important. The PS4 is a box that sits under the telly. What it looks like is of little consequence.

  3. wolfetone Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Well hello there...

    I'm quite impressed with what's been said so far. I'm not a Sony fanboi at all (I cut my teeth on the Nintendo 64), and have been out of touch with gaming really. But this has got my interest, especially with the inclusion of a proper processor. This is key, as the PS3 was too difficult to develop for, now that it has an x86 processor maybe now it'll be easier to develop for and we'll receive PC-like games to a console.

    Yes, I'll be getting one.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Well hello there...

      That point was addressed directly in the presentation, a soundbite along the lines of: "designed by developers for developers"

    2. Katie Saucey
      Windows

      Re: Well hello there...

      " we'll receive PC-like games to a console"

      Good luck with that. PC games such as the Civilization series would be a nightmare minus mouse and keyboard (shortcuts). FPS ports to consoles and consoles back to PC also generally suck, mostly because of the lack of precision control on a console forced devs to include the lazy gamer "auto aim" button (and associated strobe-like cross-hair so you know which enemy you might hit). I'll stick with the mouse and keyboard until direct thought interface comes out.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Well hello there...

        >Good luck with that. PC games such as the Civilization series would be a nightmare minus mouse and keyboard (shortcuts).

        The PS4's Dualshock controller has a touchpad on it.

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