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Sony announces PlayStation 4, shows off cloud gaming features and more

The future of games

Sony showed off some games, including a title directed by Cerny himself: Knack, an adventure-style game with a protagonist that can build and rebuild himself from component parts.

Sony Computing Entertainment subsidiary Guerilla Studios showed off Killzone: Shadow Fall, a first-person shooter taking place in a futuristic world where two antagonistic cultures live side-by-side.

Evolution Studios demoed DriveClub, a first-person team-based driving game that lets you compete both asynchronously and in realtime and rewards you for playing in groups, with a focus on closely modeling high-end cars.

And Sucker Punch announced its latest game, Infamous: Second Son, would be exclusive to the PlayStation 4.

And lest you think it’s all about explosions and cars, Sony also gave stage time to indie developers by bringing up Jonathan Blow, developer of the critically acclaimed Braid, to talk about his next title—a puzzler called The Witness—which will debut on the PS4.

Quantic Dreams’s David Cage also took the stage to show demo footage of a wizened old man looking quizzically at the audience, highlighting the ability of the PlayStation 4 to model realistic characters with emotions players can easily see.

For those wondering more about motion controls, Alex Evans from Media Molecule showed off a way to create 3D “sculpts” using the PlayStation Move controller.

A Capcom spokesman showed off a powerful new graphics engine running on the PS4 prototype.

After joking that he wasn’t there to talk about Street Fighter, Capcom’s Yoshinori Ono unveiled the company’s new Panta Rhei engine, which powers a fantasy game with the working title of Deep Down.

Yoshihisa Hashimoto, the chief technology officer of Square Enix, gave a demo of a short video segment that he described as the level of quality the company was targeting for its PS4 titles. And Final Fantasy brand director Shinji Hashimoto announced that the company was developing a new title in the long-running fantasy series.

Ubisoft sent co-founder and CEO Yves Guillemot and creative director Jonathan Moran introduced a live demo of the much-anticipated Watch Dogs.

And Blizzard’s Chris Metzen announced that Diablo III is being developed for both the PlayStation 4 and the PlayStation 3.

Finally, Eric Hirshberg, Activision CEO said that the publisher was committed to bringing multiple blockbuster titles to the platform during the launch window. To demonstrate that commitment, Hirshberg announced that Bungie would be returning to the platform for the first time in ten years; he confirmed the developer’s recently announced title, Destiny, will be coming to the PlayStation 4 with exclusive content.

More to come

As much as we heard about Sony’s new PlayStation over the epic two-hour presentation, there’s still a whole lot we don’t know. Will the system lock down game purchases to a single machine or online ID, preventing used game sales? Will the online interface be full of ads, a sore spot with Xbox Live gamers? Will any of the new video sharing stuff cost extra, or be limited only to PlayStation Plus members? Hell, they didn’t even show what the system looks like, much less a price or release date more specific than the “holiday season 2013.”

Still, that’s more than we’ve seen from Sony’s big competitor, Microsoft, which we expect to unveil its own next-generation console in time to hit store shelves this holiday season. If there is another console war brewing, Sony fired the opening salvo this week, but there are clearly more fusillades yet to come. Stay tuned.

For more, check out PlayStation 4: A few more details come to light.

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