2013 is shaping up to be an exciting year for video gaming and technology fans, with the unveiling of the next generation of consoles. Hot on the heels of 2012’s Wii U, Sony’s PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One have been unveiled, with full details of the systems finally emerging at the annual E3 conference in June.
The PS4 looks to be on the path to establishing itself as one of the hottest pieces of tech to emerge in 2013, taking advantage of some of the best and most up-to-date advances in the industry, and also meeting some of the most controversial challenges head-on.
Sony’s PS4 will take the phenomenon of dual-screening to the next level. SmartGlass technology will allow players to use the handheld PlayStation Vita console to access extra elements in games, as well as for remote play. The company has said that its goal is to make all of its games playable by the Vita, allowing players to take immersion in their favourite games to a whole new level.
The next-generation console also represents a revolution in downloading technology. The PS4 will allow its users to begin playing games before the download is fully completed: in the case of Killzone: Shadow Fall, at least, as soon as the menu and first level are on the console. Players will also be able to choose whether they download the multiplayer or single-player modes first, for those situations when they just can’t wait to get going.
In the light of uncertainty surrounding Microsoft’s digital rights management (DRM) and online policies for Xbox One, PS4 has come out strongly against the controversial constraints – though Microsoft have since back-tracked. Sony has opposed moves to control lending and resale of games with DRM that links them to a single machine and requires an extra fee if the owner wishes to make a transfer. The PS4 can also be set up and played offline with no Internet connection required at any point.
With a lower price point than its Microsoft rival and a promise to support independent titles, consumers are lining up to pre-order the Sony PS4 and the console is certainly anticipated to be the success story of the year. However, it will only be when players finally plug in their machines of choice that the eventual winner of this year’s tech war will become clearer.