PS4 will offer Sony 4K movie service via 100 GB+ digital movie files

sony-ps4The Verge reports that Sony’s 4K content delivery service will be available via the PS4, citing Sony Electronics President and COO Phil Molyneux, who said “I promise you will not be disappointed” when asked if the 4K service would support his company’s new console.

Sony is apparently aiming for a summer launch for the service, which would offer 4K movies as files of “100 gigabytes and plus” depending on length. Molyneux admits that the large file sizes as well as limited broadband speeds are a hindrance but asserts that Sony has ideas that will mitigate these issues. While not discounting a 4K compatible blu-ray drive (there have been reports that Sony has been working with Panasonic to explore the possiblity of higher capacity blu-ray discs ad players), Sony has indicated that digital distribution of 4K content is the most likely outcome even if downloads initially take many hours or even days to complete.

The primary conclusion I draw from the forthcoming arrival of 4K content (and 8K soon after) is that internet bandwidth (in the United States at least) needs to increase drastically. Google Fiber, which offers a 1 gigabit per second connection (about 100 times faster than the connection most Americans have) would enable 4K delivery in a timely fashion, but the current cable company monopolies are willfully holding back technological progress. I hope Google’s rollout of Fiber continues to be successful and that the cable companies change their anti-consumer outlook.  For evidence of the cable companies’ complete lack of respect for their customers, see Time Warner Cable’s recent statement that they “don’t see the need of delivering [gigabit internet] to consumers.”

By the beginning of the 2020′s 8K content delivered at frame rates of 60 fps or higher (and in 3D) will be the norm.  I can’t wait to walk right up to a huge 8K TV or “life wall” and feel as if I’m gazing into an another reality.  But to get to this point some major changes to the status quo need to happen…the cable companies must adapt, or deservedly perish.

PS4 supports 4K video and photos but not 4K games…may output up to 240 fps

ps4-new-playstation-logo-contact-sheet_croppedDuring a roundtable interview Sony Worldwide Studios head Shuhei Yoshida stated that the PS4 will output 4K videos and photos, but not 4K games. Via IGN:

“The PS4 supports 4K output, but only for photos and videos — not games. PS4 games do not work on 4K.”

ArsTechnica interpreted Yoshida’s comments as meaning that 4K resolutions for games wouldn’t become available until the generation after the PlayStation 4. IGN reports that “Yoshida says a single console cannot natively run games in the high-resolution format.”

So there you have it: PS4 may play 4K video from upgraded blu-rays or connected media storage devices, and will be able to display 4K photos, but 4K games are seemingly not in the cards.

The question of whether the PS4 will be capable of outputting games at frame rates higher than 60 fps remains to be answered, although Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter thinks it will be capable of rendering games at up to 240 fps.

Sony PlayStation 4 announcement live blog – PS4 reveal

Only 10 minutes until Sony announces the Playstation 4.  I’m watching the livestream of the Playstation Meeting and will be updating this live blog throughout with all the big news about the PS4, with a special focus on its potential HFR and 4K capabilities.

Will it indeed be called the PS4?  Maybe the PS4k?  Will The Last Guardian make a triumphant return?  What have Naughty Dog, Sony Santa Monica, Guerilla Games, Sucker Punch, Insomniac, Media Molecule and others been preparing for Sony’s nextgen console?

4 Minutes to go!

Conference has started! (most recent updates on top) (edit: conference is over)

Coming Holiday 2013! Very cool hype video with clips from all the footage we’ve seen. And the presentation is over! No talk about HFR or, more of a surprise, no talk of 4K (which Sony has been pushing harder than anyone).  But there’ll be much more to be announced between now and E3, and I still think PS4 will have some form of 4K support.

Activision Publishing CEO takes stage. Launch window games promised.  More games will be announced in the coming months.  Bungie’s Destiny is officially coming to PS4! Persistent online world. Co-op play. “First shared world shooter.”  PS3 and PS4 version simultaneous launch. Exclusive PlayStation content.

Blizzard Entertainment rep takes stage.  Sony  / Blizzard partnership announced. Diablo 3 announced for PS4 as well as PS3.

Ubisoft’s Yves Guillermot takes stage. Watch Dogs trailer being shown. Looks great.  Very noir. Nice character lighting and clothing physics. Particle effects, puddle reflections, drifting debris. Some screen tearing, but it might just be the live feed.

Square Enix / Final Fantasy brand manager takes stage. Announces new Final Fantasy title for PS4 this year!

Square Enix’ CTO Yoshihisa Hashimoto takes stage. Agni’s Philosophy demo being shown.  Characters especially look amazing.

Talking about 3rd parties now. Yoshinori Ono from Capcom takes stage. Codename : Phantom Rhei engine for PS4. shows trailer/footage from new IP, Deep Down; takes place underground.  Character models, lighting, cave geometry is stunning. New Street Fighter tease at the end featuring Blanka.

Media Molecule developer takes stage. Talking about using the Move controller to sculpt 3D models, avoiding the “Tyranny of the Polygon”.  Collaborative game where players and their friends create worlds and objects. Showing a video of two people controlling dancing sculpted characters with he Move.

Now, a glimpse of the future: David Cage of Quantic Dream takes the stage. Emotion is his goal. Talking about polygon count increases over time: Heavy Rain to Kara to to Beyond, which uses 30,000. Now showing very advanced “old man” human head model using tons polygons and advanced graphical techniques. Extremely impressive; Hollywood quality. “Now we are only limited by our imagination”

Braid creator Jonathan Blow taking stage.  Introducing The Witness, a “game about epiphany”  Exploration and puzzle solving. Open world. 25 hours of gameplay; compact gameplay; timed exclusive. Trailer shows beautiful world with detailed, pastel foliage, incredible lighting and details. Tesselation I believe.

Sucker Punch’s next game being introduced. Now being shown! Infamous: Second Son! Character models look completely real; a huge leap.

Talking about a game called DriveClub.  Some footage shown, not clear if gameplay.  Painstakingly detailed cars, every microscopic detail modeled. Gameplay footage now being shown.

Games! Guerrilla Games showing Killzone: Shadow Fall gameplay.  Absolutely amazing and beautiful graphics and animation; particle effects, textures, fabrics look nextgen and the scope and scale of the city is incredible.  Better than anything i’ve seen, highend PC games included.

Michael Denny (Worldwide Studios) on stage.

Developers speaking (via pre-made video) about collaboration with Sony for PS4. Taking about Sony’s emphasis on Immediacy: No boot times, no download times. “window” into your PS4 games will be available from your smartphone, tablet, etc.

Sony’s Cloud Services will be released in phases; can’t announce everything today.

Sony’s goal: to put PS1, PS2, PS3, PS4, etc games on any device.  ”Everything, everywhere.” That’s the vision behind the Playstation Cloud Network.

Remote Play: built into architecture of PS4; PS Vita can play PS4 games! Logn term goal is to make every PS4 title instantly playable on PS Vita. PS4 uses Gaikai to stream games to Vita “client”.

Can schedule set time to broadcast your game via uStream.

Spectating experience: “Share” button on PS4 controller can realtime broadcast your game to your friends. Friends can post comments to your game screen. Your friends can take over control of your game midgame.

Partnered with Facebook and Ustream.

“Fastest Gaming Network in World”; gets to know your preferences; immediately jump into any game on Playstation Store for free.

Dave Perry, co-founder and CEO of Gakai (cloud gaming) takes the stage.

Personalization: system can get to know you. System learns your likes and dislikes, places content they predict you’ll like right in front of you.  Their goal is to  predict the net game you purchase and have that game downloaded and ready to go before you even press the play button.

Real names and profile pictures will be emphasized for online multiplayer, sourced from social networks.

Dedicated, “always-on” video compression and decompression.  Sharing video is possible while playing a game simultaneously.  Can observe other players’ games.

Digital titles playable even as they are being downloaded.

Power saving “Sleep Mode” – gameplay saved in RAM.

Trailer for new game being shown, designed by Cerny, called Knack.

Havok physics demo shown..lots of falling debris cascading over structures.

8 CPU cores, almost 2 teraflops, GDDR5 memory[!] 176 Gb/sec bandwidth which further boosts GPU performance. Modified GPU to be useable as general purpose  computation device.

UE4 demo shown

Dualshock 4 being shown.  Touchpad screen on top. Share button.  Headphone jack.  ”Light bar” to identify players.  Designed in tandem with stereo camera that tracks controller and identifies player depth.

Live demos coming up

Cerny: PS4 is a powerfull, accessible system.  Architecture is like a PC in many ways, but supercharged.  X86 CPU. Highly enhanced PC GPU. Memory: 8 GB of high speed memory[!] . “Massive” local harddrive storage.

Cerny: Spoke to dozens of best developers in world.

Cerny: “for PS4, we wanted nothing to come between platform and joy and play.”

Mark Cerny: “The need to radically customize technology can interfere with game creation.”

Lead PS4 system architect Mark Cerny: “[My] role on [PS4] started about 5 years ago.”

“Experiences [of PS4] will surpass gamers’ wildest expectations.”

It’s officially called Playstation 4

“A glimpse into the future of Play, “the most personalized experience” following their pedigree, “most powerful platform ever.”

“Connectivity between devices has been essential”

(paraphrase) “The living room in no longer the center. The gamer is the focal point for our efforts”

Retrospective highlight reel running: “fighting the war against reality”

Sony will unveil PlayStation 4 at February 20th event: might be HFR and 4K-capable

playstation-logoSony just announced a special PlayStation Meeting to be held at 6:00 PM EST on February 20 in NYC. Past PlayStation Meetings have meant new Sony hardware unveils, so it looks extremely likely that this event, to be attended by media and investors, will be the debut of the PS4. Check out the teaser video for the event below:

The debut of the PS4 will be quite significant as far as the world of visual fidelity is concerned. As one of the primary forces behind the Blu-ray standard as well as the first company to offer 4K digital projector solutions back when digital projection was first arriving on the scene (around 2005-ish), it will be interesting to see how the PS4(k?) fits into Sony’s “raise the bar of image quality” MO.  4K support of some kind seems like a pretty safe bet.

05095872-photo-logo-4k.jpgThe Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) in late 2012 established a task force to discuss the feasibility of 4K blu-ray discs.  I could see Sony very much wanting to come out and announce that the PS4 will be the first 4K capable Blu-ray drive, just as the PS3 was a successful trojan horse for getting Blu-ray players into millions of homes worldwide.

And if the PS4 has the optical drive capacity & bandwidth, internals, and HDMI spec necessary to process and output 4K images from disc, it may very likely be capable of handling high frame rate (HFR) or even HFR 3D output of movies from its disc drive as well.

Andy Parsons, President of the BDA, mentions HFR as one of the technologies that his “format extension study task force” will investigate:

The BDA recently decided to form a new task force to study just this sort of possibility. It’s called the format extension study task force, and it will do exactly what its name suggests: to study new technologies such as 4K, high frame rate, color enhancements, etc. Each technology that will be studied needs to be evaluated to determine technical feasibility, market demand, and potential impact on the installed base of Blu-ray players already in the marketplace, projected to be in excess of 50 million in the U.S. alone by the end of 2012.”

05609748-photo-logo-hfr-3d.jpgSo Sony might deliver two bombs on Feb. 20: 1), that the PS4 will be able to play 4K movies from disc or from the HDD, and 2), that the PS4 will support playback of 3D HFR-mastered content at frame rates of up to 60 fps per eye.

What I find unlikely, however, is that the PS4 would be capable of showing 3D (HFR or otherwise) at 4K resolution per eye.  But we shall see: Sony is known for going above and beyond current technical standards in its hardware.

And of course I can’t wait to see next-gen games from the likes of Naughty Dog, Sony Santa Monica, and Quantic Dream (hopefully QD’s PS4 game will be based on that amazing KARA demo).  This console generation has gone on far too long!  So I’ll have my eyes peeled to this PS4(k) event at 6:00 pm EST on Feb. 20th.