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Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Sony Releases Massive PS4 FAQ

Sony has just released a long FAQ for the upcoming PS4, covering almost any of your questions about the new device.

The PS4 system will retail for USD $399.99 (MSRP) in the United States and CAD $399.99 (MSRP) in Canada when it debuts on November 15th, 2013 in North America. PlayStation Camera and additional DUALSHOCK 4 wireless controllers will be sold seperately and will retail for $59.99 (MSRP) each.

At launch, the PS4 box will include a PS4 system with a 500GB hard drive, a DUALSHOCK 4 wireless controller, a micro-USB cable for charging the DUALSHOCK 4 controller, a Mono-headset for voice chat, a power cable (1.5m), and an HDMI cable (2.0m).

Sony started a conceptual discussion of PS4 five years ago, in 2008. The result is a device capable of 10x the processing power of the PS3 system. The system features an optimized design featuring a unified 8GB of high-speed GDDR5 RAM, an eight core X86 CPU, and a powerful graphics processor. More realistic lighting models, more complex physics and particle effects, more varied and realistic character animations, sharper environment and object textures, higher screen resolutions (up to 1080p), higher frame rates (up to 60 frames per second), larger multiplayer matches and more will be possible thanks to PS4's next-generation hardware.

PS4's graphics processing unit (GPU) contains a unified array of 18 Compute Units, which collectively generate 1.84 teraflops of processing power that can freely be applied to graphics, simulation tasks, or a mixture of the two. PS4 is also equipped with 8 GB of unified system memory. High-speed GDDR5 is used for this memory, giving the system a total of 176 GB/second of bandwidth and providing a further boost to graphics performance.

PS4 will support 480p, 720p, 1080i, and 1080p video standards via HDMI output. It will not support 4K output for games and although it technically supports 3D gameplay at launch in North America, no launch titles are currently 3D compatible.

Physical PS4 games come on Blu-ray Disc. The PS4's Blu-ray Disc reader operates at a higher speed than the model featured in the PS3 system, and includes a range of Blu-ray Disc sizes. All PS4 Blu-ray Disc games must be cached to the hard drive to ensure a smooth gaming experience. However, certain titles may not require you to wait for the game data to be fully cached before starting gameplay.

You will be able to watch both Blu-ray and DVD mvies with the PS4. However, you will need to download and install PS4's day-one system software update 1.50, and then activate your Blu-ray Disc video capability with a one-time activation through the internet. The PS4 will not support audio CDs.

There's bad news in store for home theater enthusiasts, though. Sony says you'll be unable to use the PS4 as a client for your media server. The next-gen console is shipping without DLNA support.

On the gaming side of things, Sony interestingly notes that cross-platform play between the PS3 and its successor is "technically possible." The console's user interface is referred to as the "PlayStation Dynamic Menu." Sony says the menu system has been designed around five principles: simplicity, immediacy, social, integration, and personalization. Sony isn't guaranteeing that all games will be available from the PlayStation Store on the same day they hit retail shelves. "Ultimately, the decision lies with publishers on whether to make digital versions of games available on the same release date." Sony says it expects same-day availability to be the norm, and the company's strong showing with its Day 1 Digital program on PS3 sets a good precedent.

The inconvenient delay of downloading game patches is also being mitigated. "Users can continue playing on a PS4 system while the game's patch is being auto detected and downloaded," Sony says.

At launch, the PS4 will stream content from Video Unlimited and the Music Unlimited, although Sony says more will be announced before launch.

The PS4 won't support the PS3's Bluetooth remote and no PS4 remote has been announced.

PS4's Share button, at least at launch, won't share clips to anywhere except Facebook. As for streaming, both Twitch and Ustream are supported.

In addition, you won't be abile to take over a friend's game in order to help them out - at least at launch:.

The PS4 also supports voice commands in six languages (English, Spanish, Italian, French, German, Japanese) at launch with more to come in future updates. You can issue voice commands via the Playstation Camera peripheral (a $60 separate purchase), or via a chat headset (a mono chat headset comes with the PS4).

You can read Sony PS4's complete FAQ here.

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