GDC Talk Reveals Some More Little PlayStation 4 Details

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.


  1. I don’t think anyone could’ve predicted the almost perfect flip-flop that we’ve all seen with regards to positivity for the PS4 and either ambivalence or downright negativity with whatever Microsoft divulge soon.

    Then again, how Sony has been over the past handful of weeks has been nothing short of sublime!

    I don’t know what happened in the boardroom, one fateful day, but whoever shook the shit out of Sony deserves an award!

    • The thing is though – I remember everyone talking about how great Vita was going to be, and how it was going to be a game changer for handheld and mobile, and it’s been nothing but a disappointment since it’s release.
      It is great to see all this positivity and buzz though, and I hope when Microsoft announce the new Xbox the same thing happens – having two awesome consoles competing will make it even better for us gamers.

      • Slow sales is not the same as Vita being disappointing.

        Vita is just as fantastic in the flesh as it was promised to be, dare I say, even better. I love the thing, I reckon I put more hours into it in every month than I put into my PSP the entire three years I owned one.

        And because Vita is so capable, it’s becoming an seamless extension of PS4, including near universal remote play for all PS4 games.

        Disappointing? I think not. Underrated? Massively.

      • I think the Vita will become more successful when the PS4 is launched, Sony will probably make a slim model and drop the price over here to make it more appealing for remote play features. They could have pushed that with the PSP, it would have been so impressive to have the fabled PSP rear view mirror this generation! Ah well.

      • Apparently SONY also announced that the remote play option doesn’t require any input from developers and that it’s hardware based.

        This means playing every PS4 game on your Vita. That’s just fantastic news vor the PS4 and the VITA. (Not so fantastic for Ninty, who lose their one selling point).

      • I do hope everybody on PSN+ has been adding the Vita titles to their collection. I don’t own one but intend to at some point & having that library from day 1 is going to smell of total win to me!

      • I started adding the vita titles the other month after not doing for quite a while. Just need to buy a cheap Vita now :)

    • Then that person should be sent to the SCEE store team. Shake up some more useful four letter words.

  2. Something else that seems to of come out from tonight’s talk is the DS4 won’t have pressure sensitive buttons:

    • i don’t know what he is on about! what does he mean “no-one used it on the PS3”?

      • He means no one used it. I can’t think of single game that uses variable pressure inputs.

      • I’m pretty sure, it was used in MGS4, and its definitely used in the MGS HD Collection

      • It was also used in the GTA games I think, triggers have made it obsolete.

      • I thought the main issue was that the 360 only had digital buttons, so devs only used it in PS3 exclusives?

    • I don’t think that was ever used though. Not even for something like GT5.

      • I think you can use it in GT5, but the triggers mean no one does. It’s a shame that such a clever feature is being binned, but if it saves a few pennies and the developers don’t make use of it then I guess there’s no point keeping it.

      • I used to use it for GT games (PS2 controllers had it too) but I did find that I would push my thumbs through the controller when frustrated… :P

    • Nah, that info was around immediately after the reveal.

      • Oh right, as it been confirmed by Sony then?

  3. ohhhh lovely RAM and touchpad!!! love it! =D

  4. Very nice explanation and comparisons for the specs, thank you.

  5. boring fact check…
    CDDA is always 44.1kHz, though you often mix stuff @48kHz.
    JPEG and other image format stores the pixel in 24bit (8 bit per channel of RGB).

    But yeah, the PS4 is going to rock =)

  6. does this mean only four identifiably separate controllers?! not that i can think of i time that I have used up to the 7 that the PS3 can register (correct me if i’m wrong)

    • As far as I’m concerned, the only reason to use controller id 5-7 was to avoid being green on FIFA. Impossible to see against the grass

    • WWE games were good fun with 6 controllers.

  7. PS4 is looking sweet and a huge step in the right direction. I am looking forwards to the next Xbox reveal too. If MS decide to match PS4 hardware and rumours of BF4 being timed exclusive for next gen Xbox are true – then I fear PS4 will struggle to sell to all but the hardcore.
    Then I was thinking perhaps the next Xbox already had 8GB GDDR5 and it was Sony forced to match through developer pressure due to competition offerings. Who knows.

    As for the features on the pad I really don’t care too much. Better triggers is all I wanted to see, everything else is gimmicky. The Six Axis was a gimmick and Sony don’t half hype features up to never actually implement them as hyped. MS do it too, Smart glass etc just a barely useful gimmick. Muzzle flash from a rifle? Next gen right there.

    Just show me games, great UI, social features (I’ll barely use), traditional controls and a better PSN store / LIVE marketplace. Keep your fancy glowing lights.

  8. Sounding great. My concern at the moment is the price. Sony dropped the ball majorly with the PS3 and Vita. Great bits of kit but far, far too expensive, resulting in naff sales. If the new Xbox is, say, £100 cheaper, regardless of whether the PS4 is the better console (I think it will be) Sony will find themselves struggling again. The fact the new Xbox is likely to be here before October won’t help either.

  9. Other interesting news from GDC worth noticing:
    DS4 can be charged when PS is in standby!!! MADNESS!?! :)
    Friends list will be updated from 100 as a max and the “real name facebook” integration is totally optional.
    App for IOS and Android can be used to buy games and trigger download on your PS4.
    Headset confirmed, universal remote play confirmed, automatic record of gameplay confirmed.
    DS4 will have two built-in vibrators.
    The new Eye will use it’s own port and not one of the precious USB ports :)

  10. Just a thought about those camera’s, what difference will it make it you choose to have you PS4 stood on its end. I don’t do this and I doubt too many people do these day’s since the PS3 slim and slimmer aren’t designed for that, but it will surely mean that the PS4 has to be laid flat in order to get the best use of the cameras

    • I thought the cameras were on a separate bar so it doesn’t matter what you do with the base unit…

      • Oh are they, I see, i thought they were in built into the system itself (they were on the photo that was leaked of the dev kit). If that’s the case though then my point is null and void ;-)

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