Sony gave a talk about the PlayStation 4 to assembled delegates at GDC in San Francisco. Unfortunately, this talk clashed with the Kojima Productions presentation of the FOX Engine so we had to dedicate our time to that (which had a live stream) and return to the exciting PlayStation 4 news later in the evening.
So, what’s new? Well, for one thing the resolution of that touchpad on the DualShock 4 has been disclosed and it’s very good. 1920×900 is the magic number – that’s the number of individual points on the panel that can sense touch. If my rough estimation is correct, that’s a higher density than the surface of an iPhone 5 (that would depend on the exact measurement of the touch surface on the DualShock 4).
So the touch panel on the face of your new controller will be extremely sensitive and precise. More so than the pudgy digits you’re prodding it with, I’ll wager!
Sticking with the controller, that light bar along the top is primarily going to be used to identify the players – blue, red, green and pink like the face button symbols. But it will also be capable of some fun uses too – muzzle flash from your assault rifle perhaps, or a health indicator. Oh, and the console will push 32Khz sound to two controllers but that drops to 16Khz if there’s three or more – that’s not great sound quality (CDs are generally 48Khz, which is more than the range of human hearing) but it’s not crippling.
The camera bar will feature two 1280×800 resolution cameras at 12 bits per pixel and 60Hz refresh rate. That should mean that you’ll get a perfectly serviceable image from them, although not comparable to a dedicated or smartphone camera. The 12 bits per pixel should result in decent colour range and depth too. For reference, most of the photos you view on a screen will be JPGs and those are limited to 8 bits per pixel so a camera containing a sensor that utilises 12 bits per pixel is already working with a surplus.
It’s worth keeping in mind that these cameras are basically glorified webcams – they won’t be used to take pictures you’ll keep and share too much – so things like functional light range and contrast depth are much more important to help them work in a wider range of living rooms and bedrooms. They’re suggesting lots of uses for the cameras too, including things like speech recognition and killcam gloating.
They’re stressing their targeting of the “core gamers” a lot too. And there’s plenty to back that up. PC-like debugging for developers, that huge slab of RAM (8GB of 256 bit GDDR5) and claims that the graphics processing will allow for more than DirectX 11 will likely be music to the ears of plenty of the more technically minded among you.
The way Sony is talking about the PlayStation 4 continues to be incredibly promising. There’s plenty of buzz around the system from the developers who have had a chance to see it too. It’s all looking rather promising.