Sony last night unveiled the newest in thire originally-titled line of home systems, this time named the PlayStation 4. The PS4 was announced in New York after much speculation and was for a while one of the worst-kept secrets in gaming. It seems the system will be equipped with an x86-architecture processor, 8GB of RAM and HDD storage as well as a modified PC graphics card. This announcement makes the console the most powerful dedicated gaming device ever made available to the public and should provide some stiff competition, both for Nintendo’s Wii U and Microsoft’s as-yet unrevealed machine. The DualShock 4, the newest controller for Sony devices, features a touchpad, as well as some motion control functionality by way of the PlayStation Eye. The PS4 will not be backwards-compatible with PS3 games except by Gaikai’s streaming services, a move which may irritate long-time console owners who don’t wish to keep their old machine when they upgrade.
Games announced at the press conference included Knack, an action-adventure game that looks like a cross between The Wonderful End of the World, De Blob and Battalion Wars by Japan Studio. There was also the confirmation that highly anticipated Ubisoft title Watch Dogs will appear on PS4 alongside a new installment in the Killzone series entitled Killzone: Shadow Fall.
Soon after the Sony announcement, gaming news network IGN announced that they were to be instituting layoffs and closing popular websites UGO, 1UP and Gamespy in order to focus on esports and other areas. The move comes two weeks after News Corporation sold the network to company j2 Global. News is supposed to be non-partisan in these issues, but as an aspiring games journalist it’s difficult to see this news and take anything positive from it. Journalism is the workhorse of the broad church of writing careers. It commands neither the awe and excitement of the novelist’s prose, nor the poet’s elegance, beauty and careful planning, but when a conference is planned a thousand miles away or a breaking news story comes in the middle of the night, games journalists can be relied upon to bring accurate, reliable information to their readers – even if they only number a few dozen – as much as they can. Games journalism is not without its issues, particularly on bigger sites, but the closure of these websites is a real shame. Commiserations.