PlayStation 2016 Meeting Recap

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PlayStation held what they called a “PlayStation Meeting” this week at their PlayStation Theater in New York City. After countless leaks, rumours and even blatant hardware unboxings, everyone knew that they were going to announce the PlayStation Slim. But the majority of the excitement was for the PlayStation Neo, a rumoured impressive upgraded PlayStation 4 hardware that supports 4K and VR. In actuality, the conference was a disappointing hour of Mark Cerny blandly discussing hardware specs and development challenges along with Andrew House promising that improved hardware will allow for better games and more immersive experiences, the standard marketing and PR spiel we’ve all heard before. With all that said, there were a couple interesting announcements made and some cool games shown.

PS4 Slim Officially Announced

What the whole world watched someone unbox on YouTube last week was finally announced as the PS4 Slim. PS4 Slim is the new model going forward and will simply be known as PS4, launching September 15th, 2016 for $299 USD. The slim is 16% lighter than the original PS4 and is slightly smaller, with rounded corners to help shave off that space.

PS4 Pro Officially Announced

What was previously leaked and known as the PS Neo, the PlayStation 4 Pro is real and coming soon. Implementing 4K and HDR for gaming, movies and shows, the PlayStation 4 Pro is aimed at “hardcore gamers” and “high-resolution enthusiasts.” PS4 Pro launches in North America on November 10 for $399 USD.

“[H]undreds of hours of high-quality experiences… PS4 Pro isn’t intended to blur the lines between console generations.” – Andrew House, CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment

 

ps4-proPS4 Pro Specs:

  • Double GPU of the original PS4
  • Upscaled 4K display output
  • High Dynamic Range (HDR) Support
  • Boosted Clock Rate
  • Interoperability
  • 1TB HDD
  • Streamlined Rendering Capabilities

The PS4 Pro will support Netflix 4K streaming initially for Narcos Season 2 and Luke Cage but much more shows in the future. Most notably PS4 Pro will support 4K YouTube videos as well as capturing gameplay in 4K. For some reason, PS4 Pro does not support 4K Blu-ray playback which is baffling for two reasons. First being that Blu-ray is a Sony technology and secondly is that their main competition, Microsoft, does support 4K Blu-ray with their recently launched Xbox One S.

Most baffling of all is that HDR support will be made available for all PlayStations in a patch next week meaning that one of the key selling features of the PS4 Pro is actually not a selling feature as all with a PS4 will have access.

More Importantly… The Games!

What better way to show off 4K and HDR than games! And what better way to breath some life into an extremely dry and boring show than with the reason we’re all here: the games. PlayStation showed off an incredibly brief teaser for Insomniac’s upcoming PS4 title Spider-man which looks incredible as always. They also showed some gorgeous new footage from Bioware’s hotly anticipated Mass Effect Andromeda. We follow Ryder through a creepy cave with all kinds of alien sights, tech and sounds. The wondrous Mass Effect atmosphere remain but it’s been brought to a whole new level on the new hardware.

We also got to see the beautiful city of San Francisco in glorious 4K from Ubisoft’s upcoming Watch_Dogs 2, a title that has a great deal to prove to wash out the unsavoury taste the original left in player’s mouths. We also got to see some more screaming men with big sticks from Ubisoft’s other big title, For Yawner- sorry- For Honor. PlayStation also showed some short clips from released titles Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Killing Floor 2 and Infamous: First Light.

Unquestionably the highlight of the show was Horizon: Zero Dawn. Guerilla’s upcoming third-person robotic dinosaur paradise looks even more incredible in 4K with HDR enabled. We got to see Alloy, the game’s heroine, climb a long neck looking robot dinosaur and use her staff to hack into it and download its knowledge of the surrounding area. It’s similar to how players use synch perches in Assassin’s Creed or radio towers in Far Cry 4 to complete their map. Zero Dawn is easily one of the most anticipated PlayStation titles in development and its presence was a saving grace for this show.

Closing Thoughts

This was a bit of a blunder on Sony’s part. Looking past the technical hiccups of faulty mics, skipping videos and less than smooth transitions we’re still left with close to an hour of dry, technical presentations from some very dry and technical dudes. While Mark Cerny is a brilliant man, he’s hardly a good presenter. His long, drawing explanations of HDR, 4K and game dev strategies had the crowd falling asleep in their seats. With only snippets from a couple exciting games and much more than snippets from released and less exciting games, PlayStation’s first “Meeting” from their new NYC theatre was disappointing.

 

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