At Gamescom in Germany today, Sony announced the release date of the PlayStation 4 as the main focus of their press conference.
The PS4 will be released in North America on November 15, 2013, and Europe on November 29, 2013, at the previously announced price of $399 US, 399 Euros, 349 Pounds.
The announcement came after a brief demo of the new user interface for the device, where a guy in an armchair played around with the menu. He then watched a friend playing a round of Killzone before jumping into the game in-progress. It was Shuhei Yoshida, President of Worldwide Studios Sony Computer Entertainment. He tweeted a screenshot directly from the PS4, and it showed up on his twitter account instantaneously.
Let's start the show :-) pic.twitter.com/R8nPJXJpqe— Shuhei Yoshida (@yosp) August 20, 2013
"Let's start the show."
Jim Ryan then took the stage and applauded Shu Yoshida for his demo and reveal of the PS4 interface. The PlayStation 3 has not been forgotten, and Ryan continued the show by showing off Gran Turismo 6 for the current-gen console, which includes special concept vehicles created by car manufacturers and Polyphony Digital just for the game - some of which whill actually make the transition to the real world later. A new trailer for the game debuted some of these cars. Ryan also mentioned a Gran Turismo film in development.
LittleBigPlanet Hub is a new free-to-play service launching for the PlayStation 3, based on the popular create-anything game series. The game will be powered by microtransactions to help you create new outfits, challenges, and games-within-the-game. A PS3 hardware bundle and Pulse headset will be available with Grand Theft Auto V, and anyone who pre-orders from the PlayStation Store can also purchase any other Rockstar titles or DLC for 75% off.
The PlayStation Vita was next, with new "megapacks" being introduced for the European market, 35 euro packs with 6-10 games. Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate, LEGO Marvel, Footbal Manager, and Borderlands 2 all got the third-party spotlight from Sony, with the latter making its portable debut this fall.
The PlayStation Vita took a price drop to $199 (199 Euros), and PS Vita memory cards are also taking "significant price reductions," effective immediately.
Michael Denny, SVP of SCE World Wide Studios was next out to talk about the first party titles for the Vita. Murasaki Baby is a new game designed with the touch controls in mind. "You take your character by the hand" to navigate her through a fantasy world. A trailer showed this creepy world come to life, and the player guided their character, with unique touchscreen controls, swiping in new environments, interacting with objects and the character alike.
A new music game called Big Fest puts you in a different role - that of the music promoter, rather than the musician directly. After its debut trailer, a sizzle real of various developers talking about their love for the Vita showed.
Finally, it was time for the main event - the PlayStation 4. The lead system architect, Mark Cerny, was next to take the stage in Germany, and he excitedly talked about the February reveal in New York of the PS4. "PlayStation 4 is the world's most powerful game console," Cerny said. They talked to developers about what features "they wanted to see" in the next generation as the design process continued. Cerny specifically mentioned Watch Dogs, Destiny, and Killzone as major titles that take advantage of the system, before switching gears to their indie line-up.
The technology is there, and Sony supports self-publishing, plus accessibility - loaner dev kits, even some funding. "Heavy content will thrive on the platform, but the creative freedom that made the early years of the PlayStation platforms so successful" return.
Shahid Ahmad took the stage next, announcing that Rogue Legacy will make its exclusive console debut on the PS4 and Vita next year. Multiple other titles were announced as exclusives for the console, including some that will come for the PS+ service as free downloads for the consoles. Dennaton Games' follow-up to Hotline Miami, Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number was the other crown jewel in the list of announcements.
Michael Denny returned for more on what World Wide Studios is up to - this time for the PlayStation 4. The fourteen studios in the group are all working on PS4 titles, including Santa Monica, Media Molecule, and Naughty Dog - developers very familiar to PlayStation fans.
Everybody's Gone to the Rapture, from UK developer The Chinese Room, developed on CryEngine 3, debuted a trailer. The game takes place June 6, 1984, says a scroll of text on an old computer monitor. Broadcasts say to keep the doors shut and don't go outside the house until it's safe. "The story begins with the end of the world" ends the teaser.
Tequila Works was the next developer featured, with their new game RIME which looks gorgeous in its cartoon-style exploration.
Helldivers will be a cross-platform shooter, working across the PS3, PS4, and Vita. Resogun from the creators of Super Stardust HD brings arcade shooter action to the PS4. Shadow of the Beast is being "reimagined for the PlayStation 4," having been originally for the Amiga - which our younger readers will have to look up on Wikipedia.
The Playroom, a tech demo shown at E3, will actually be a pre-installed game on every PlayStation 4. It uses a combination of the ne PS4 camera and the DualShock 4 controler to put you into the game through augmented reality sequences and mini-games.
inFAMOUS: Second Son showed off a new trailer from Sucker Punch. The new heroe's fire powers were on display, as well as some electricity-based ones making their debut.
Those are all "launch-window" titles, meaning in the first 4 months.
Killzone: Shadow Fall showed off new multiplayer footage to close out the World Wide Studios portion of the PlayStation 4. In the game, you can build your own Warzone with options for weapons, enviornmental hazards, and gameplay types. You can brouse a list of popular warzones shared by other gamers if you're feeling less creative. "Play by your own rules" is the tagline for the game.
twitch is free to all PlayStation users, allowing streaming of games (as seen during the opening sequence of the conference).
Music Unlimited will have a brand-new interface for the PlayStation 4, and you can now listen to music in the background through Music Unlimited while playing games.
PlayStation is working with European ISPs to offer broadband offerings for gamers that include pipelines reserved for gaming.
The PlayStation+ service will be free for 14 days for all PS4 owners to tempt them into the yearly purchase. Assassin's Creed III comes to instant game collection for PS3 in September. If you sign up for PS+ in the next month, you'll get 3 months for free on top of a one year subscription at $50.
Ubisoft kept the spotlight to show off one of their launch games, Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, which Jim Ryan says offer the best gaming experience on PS4. Black Flag was demonstrated first on a PlayStation 4, then moved directly over to a PlayStation Vita via remote play. Ryan said that "almost all" PS4 games will be playalbe on the PS Vita via remote play over wifi. A trailer for the PlayStation-exclusive level for Black Flag was then shown, featuring Aveline fro the Vita spin-off.
Yves Guillemot, co-founder of Ubisoft came out on stage and said ACIV is the "best and biggest" of the series yet. Watch Dogs is also coming to the system, and Guillemot announced that a Watch Dogs film is in development with Sony Pictures. A trailer for the game shows Aiden, the game's star, as he hacks the futuristic Chicago, and fights/shoots/parkours his way in and out of danger. That title has an additional 60 minutes of gameplay, 4 exclusive missions for the PS3 and PS4 editions, plus a hacking boost and exclusive skin.
Ryan then said "and now for something a little different," a title ready for launch for the PS4 is Minecraft.
War Thunder is a free-to-play combat game from Gaijin that is dedicated to major WWII battles. Over 200 historical aircraft, 100 ground vehicles, 100 square kilometers of playspace, mission and map editors, massive online battles, and it's exclusive to the PS4.
"There are simply too many PS4 titles available before Christmas for me to talk about each one," Ryan said, before saying it's the strongest line-up of any PlayStation launch.
Andrew House, President and CEO, came out to close out the show. The PlayStation 3 gets a price drop with a 12GB model at $199, 199 Euros. The PS3 versions of Call of Duty: Ghosts, Watch Dogs, ACIV, and Battlefield 4 will get PS4 gamers a "greatly discounted digital edition" of the next-gen versions when the system launches.
House says the PS4 has a "deeply held, consistent focus on you, the gamer." "While others have shifted their message and changed their story, we were consistent in maintaining policies and a model that's fair and in tune with consumer desires," House said, digging at Microsoft.
There have been over one million pre-orders for the console, House said, before announcing the release date. It will launch in 32 countries, on November 15 in North America, and November 29 in Europe.