Sony PS4: more details revealed at GDC

Written by Edward Chester

March 27, 2013 // 8:58 p.m.

Tags: #interface #playstation-4 #ps4 #share #social #sony #ui #user-account

Sony revealed a few more snippets of information about its upcoming PlayStation 4 (PS4) during a session at the Games Developer Conference (GDC) today, showing details of the new system's user account control, social functions and its new interface.

Chris Norton, senior staff engineer from the strategy team for developer services and support at Sony Computer Entertainment America, showed mockups of the proposed PS4 interface and told how users would be able to see information about the game - such as the latest updates, comments from other users and available downloads - before opening the game fully.

Meanwhile a second mockup showed a 'digest' screen that looks very similar in style to Pinterest and will show news, social updates and what your other PlayStation Network Friends are playing.

Talking more about user account control, Norton also revealed that users will be given the choice to link their account with Facebook to show and instantly share real names and profile pictures. Otherwise only the - potentially gobbledegook - PSN name will be used, with users still able to share real names but only by mutually consenting to exchange details. User accounts will also be independent of the console while the 100 friend limit of the PS3 will be lifted.

Norton also suggested how some of these social features could be used in games with players perhaps able to name a particular corner on a race track after their friend with the fastest time.

Many of the previously revealed hardware features of the upcoming console were also reiterated, along with many details of the development tools. The console will centre around an AMD APU that features an 8-core CPU and an 800MHz GPU capable of 1.843 TFLOPS. This chip will then be accompanied by 8GB of very fast GDDR5 RAM, a feature that has already been lauded by many developers keen to take advantage of the 16x improvement in memory capacity over the PS3.

Meanwhile, the new Dualshock 4 controller will feature a two-finger sensing touchpad, a share button for instantly uploading recently grabbed screenshots and video clips (the console has a constantly on time-shifted record mode) and on the back is the light bar. The latter is an RGB LED-lit section that will be used to identify the controller to both humans and the console, with the accompanying PlayStation Eye camera, able to see the controller. Sony suggested this will enable developers to, for instance, ensure that views in split screen games always match the order of how players are sitting.

One of the final features talked about at length was "play as you download", which will allow developers to split games up into sections such that the game can be played when only the first section has been downloaded. Working in conjunction with the ability to start downloads while remote connected either through a mobile app or with a PlayStation Vita, the proposed vision is that you can be ready to start playing in the time it takes to walk home from your bus stop.

We like the idea of that last part. But what are your thoughts?

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