PlayStation 4: New Controller, Fancy Accounts, Impressive Specs (So Far)

Last March, we gave you an early look at how the PlayStation 4 — codenamed Orbis — was shaping up. Nearly a year later, we're about to bring you a clearer, more timely update, including new technical specs and information on an upgrade to Sony's traditional controller design.

The information you're about to read comes from official Orbis documentation, a hive of more than 90 PDFs about the forthcoming console. The details of the files were shared with Kotaku by an individual known as SuperDae, the same person who last year attempted to sell a pair of next-gen Xbox development kits on eBay.

What follows won't tell you when the PS4/Orbis is coming out or even what it's destined to be called. Our best sources are mixed on whether the new Sony console will be out late this year, to match the expected launch of the next-generation Xbox, or whether Sony will wait until 2014. What you will learn about below are some of the guts of the console (as they stand for now, at least) and how it works. Some of those details were familiar, matching things we'd heard before; others were new and refreshingly specific.

Specs

We'll begin with the specs. And before we go any further, know that these are current specs for a PS4 development kit, not the final retail console itself. So while the general gist of the things you see here may be similar to what makes it into the actual commercial hardware, there's every chance some — if not all of it — changes, if only slightly.

That being the case, here's what we know is inside PS4 development kits — model # DVKT-KS000K — as of January 2013. As you'll see, some things have changed since earlier kits became available in March 2012.

  • System Memory: 8GB
  • Video Memory: 2.2GB
  • CPU: 4x Dual-Core AMD64 "Bulldozer" (so 8x cores)
  • GPU: AMD R10xx
  • Ports: 4x USB 3.0, 2x Ethernet
  • Drive: Blu-ray
  • HDD: 160GB
  • Audio Output: HDMI and Optical, 2.0, 5.1 & 7.1 channels

If you think the HDD is small, remember, these are the specs for a machine that developers are using to make games on, not the console you'll own and be storing media on. And don't worry about having two ethernet ports; as this is a dev kit, one is there for local sharing/testing purposes.

Interestingly, while some of these specs (such as the 8x core CPU) match with those reported by Digital Foundry only a few days ago, others like the RAM (DF reported 4GB of GDDR5, while we've heard 8GB) differ.

We've learned there's a headphone jack on the front of the console, but it's unclear whether that's just for dev kits or is an intended feature of the final retail console.

Controller

Ever since the release of the original PlayStation, Sony has maintained roughly the same basic controller design. This trend may be continuing with the PS4, because we've learned that developers are working with — and dev kits support — both the Sixaxis and DualShock 3 controller. This suggests that, for the most part, the design and capabilities of the PS4's controller will be similar to those on the PS3. The documentation also shows a Move controller, suggesting Sony's Wii-style motion wand will work with the new console.

There is a new controller in development for the PS4, though, known internally as the Orbis Development Tool, and while it keeps many of the same features as the current pads — like the four iconic PlayStation face buttons, two thumbsticks and shoulder triggers — there's one key addition.

The next PlayStation, at a glance

  • 8GB system memory, 2.2GB video memory
  • 4x Dual-Core AMD64 "Bulldozer" CPU, AMD R10xx Liverpool GPU
  • New controller features touch pad
  • Can link PSN accounts to controllers, allowing for multiple logins.

British site CVG speculated last week that, because they'd heard the PS4's controller was "trying to emulate the same user interface philosophies as the PS Vita", that meant it would feature a touch screen. Instead, the Orbis' controller features a capacitive touch pad, like you find on the back of a Vita (presumably it's also on the back of the PS4's controller), that can recognise two-point multi-touch. The entire pad can also be "clicked" for an additional input button.

The PS4's controller will again be capable of motion-sensing, like its PS3 predecessors, only now with improved technology like tilt correction. It will also feature vibration, which Sony has thankfully learned is a next-gen feature you need to launch with. It'll also have an RGB LED light in it.

While there have been reports of the PS4 controller featuring "biometric" technology, there was no mention of it in the information we were provided.

There's one other addition to the PS4's pad you won't find on a DualShock 3: a "Share" button. We're not exactly sure what it does. The most likely use would be to allow users to share some aspect of their gaming experience to Twitter or Facebook. Maybe a screenshot? We have no idea. But that Share button might have something to do with...

Accounts

Sony is trying to change the way you think about user accounts with the PS4. As it stands now, and this applies to the PS3 (and the Wii U), when you log in, you log in as a single user. With Orbis, Sony is moving the place of "ownership" away from the console, with something it calls "multi-user simultaneous logins."

This means that the PS4 will let more than one person be logged into the same system at the same time. It achieves this by linking control pads to user accounts; as each new controller syncs with the system, that player's account can be logged in as well. Accounts won't be "locked" to a controller; you'll simply be prompted to sign in to an account every time an extra pad is connected to the console.

One application we learned about for this feature would be that, were four players in a co-op battle able to defeat a boss, then all four would receive trophies.

We only learned of this feature in relation to local accounts stored on the console itself. It's unclear whether you'd also be able to do this via the PlayStation Network if you were playing online.

***

That's it for now. Remember, none of this information is confirmed, and even the information that is locked down in January 2013 may change before the console's eventual release, which is likely not for at least another nine months, at minimum. This is just what we've been told Sony is working on and planning for as of today. That being the case, how do you think it's shaping up?

Originally published on Kotaku Australia


Comments

    I'm a PC user and always have been. I don't mind the occasional game on a console, however I really can't get into console gaming. It's the graphics, they've always been a MAJOR letdown. To see the new PS4's specifications and to see a tiny 2.2gb on there is extremely disappointing. How many times, just a few months or even a year after having been released, are consoles found wanting for more video processing power? It's all too common and it's pathetic. I'm absolutely sick and tired of seeing PC games graphics being dumbed down because the game has been designed to make sure it runs on a bloody console first and THEN ported to PC. No. PC's have always, and probably will be for a long time, the first avenue people think of when it comes to gaming and the games should be created accordingly. Games should be ported to Consoles, not the other way around.

    I may sound like a self righteous prick but just think about it for a minute. We have games such as Crysis, Far Cry and Battlefield 3 which are SO graphically intensive, they look SO GODDAMN GOOD on a PC, that it's an actual shame to even see them trying to be run on a console. And all because of the graphics card.

      I disagree, i think console gamers are much more content with worse graphics and in general the designers put alot of effort into optimising the content so it looks best and best suits the hardware.

        Please. Console games, for the most part, are just ports of PC games. "optimizing" as you call it is simply reducing graphics and physics realism to work on the console.

        There is no way that a console with 2.2 GB of VRAM can come close to the performance of a PC running with dual 560Ti's with 2GB VRAM each.

          Lol you should try be realistic every once in a while. You cannot expect a console to have those sorts of specs. Dual graphics card setups are expensive, take up lots of room, chew power, and in general the graphics card probably has about 2-3 years of solid reliability (due to the elevated temperature the silicon runs at) before things start misbehaving.

          And if we talk ps3 for a moment, games did not simply get ported to it. It is quiet a bit of work getting games ported to the cell architecture because it is so different to your regular PC architecture. So games ended up being optimized for the cell architecture to get decent performance. But yes your right, they are lower video quality in general.

            I don't think 2.2GB is bad. I have a GTX580 and it only has (lol - only) 1.5gb Ram.

            What will happen is what has always happened. When the console i released, the quality will be directly comparable to a high end PC set up. Within a year, 2 years at the most, they will be looking old. By the end of their lifespan, they'll be relics.

            So for the early adopters, you pay more, but you get to enjoy great graphics for longer.

      I think I have to chime in here and say, not every gamer cares about the ultra high-def graphics... That may be why the PC game section is so small at retail stores....

      There are other things that you may not have heard of such as gameplay, and storytelling that exist in gaming - and arguably there are much better games that provide a better gaming experience than just Crysis/Far Cry/etc. I dont see why OMG HD GRAPHICS on a PC is the be-all and end-all to some gamers. If you get sick & tired of it well thats the way the cookie crumbles - the PC is a smaller market than console gaming. I think its time to accept you may need to expand a few of your gaming horizons.

        The reason why there aren't many games at retail stores for PC is because of services like Steam and MMOs which are usually now download only.

        Graphics can help with immersion and everything looking nice and thus not snapping you back to reality when artifacts happen. But the PC market is much bigger then console. You might want to actually do some research. When you have tens of millions watching eSports for various PC games and places like Steam to get games.

          Not to be impolite, but what research are you citing exactly? Can you cite it?
          I don't even play games very much anymore, but without doing any research I can be quite certain that the combined video game sales of the XBOX 360, PS3 and Wii would easily outstrip that of the PC industry over the past 5 years - particularly when it comes to high end graphics games that require prohibitively expensive PCs. The entire rationale behind the console industry is to allow access to good quality gaming content for people who can't afford to waste $4k on a machine that they don't use in a professional capacity (i.e. the vast majority of people).

          In any case, the level of graphics required for "immersion" is a purely subjective prospect; if games needed hyper realism to be successful, then (note the usage - "then" is in fact different from "than") developers would also start having characters sent off to the hospital for 6 months after every bullet that cut through your characters flesh in your favourite FPS.

          Don't be such a fanboy and step outside into the real world once in a while. Facts can be quite enlightening.

            Completely agree here.

            My only gripe is having to own multiple consoles and in some cases handheld devices to play exclusive titles. No way I'm buying a Wii U just for Bayonetta 2. That's the way it is though.

        I think the reason why the PC game section is so small in retail could be that a strong majority of PC gamers buy games digitally. Just pondering my own collection, I don't think I own a single physical game for my PC. Digital distribution is getting better on console but it is still pricey as all hell.

        Since the vast majority of console games are just ports of PC games, that eliminates your game play and story line theory, and since most popular games are mostly multi-player online, the only difference between PC and console is that PC has better graphics and an overall more mature player base.

        Well said. A real gamer knows that games aren't all about the graphics. Its all about gameplay, story and an important element called fun. Consoles provide players with experiences that you can't get from a PC, which is clearly why Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft still make and support them.

      You're right, you do kinda sound like a prick, although PC graphics are pretty-much always better than consoles it's not a huge leap as you make it out to be, and they are only better because you keep spending more money upgrading graphics cards, RAM, CPU etc.

        I upgrade my machine probably once every 2 years, don't see the need to do it more often than this. People "put up" with the sub standard graphics on consoles because they are more easily accessible for the casual gamer, it's a no brainer you throw in a disc and you play. You don't need to install anything or set anything up, you just turn it on and go. Also, ivandude, you're very wrong about the PC vs Console market. Just because you're not seeing games on shelves doesn't mean they aren't available. Unless you've been living in a cave for the last 5 years you would have noticed that the overall majority of PC games are bought online.

      Since the majority of gaming occurs on smart phones and tablets now (mainly the Apple variety) it is obvious that graphics are for the hobby minded, which is a very small market now. It's all about casual gaming, not 8 hour anti-social LAN marathons of the 1990s.

      This gels with Intels future plans to abandon the upgradable desktop in which current PC fanbois cling to so dearly. PC gaming is not the money maker it used to be because of the cheap and abundant access to mobile casual games (like angry birds), there is (still) only 24hours in a day yet there are now 100 times more options to waste those hours on gaming and the majority are a fraction of the cost. The PC platform is not going to get the same share it used to which means winging about state of the art graphics and affects are going to fall on deaf ears.

      Consoles, phones, tablets and soon all-in-one system on a chip "PCs" are going to be updated on a life cycle just like Apples market strategy. You buy one, use it for years (1-3) and consume content design to run on it and then throw away/sell the whole unit and pick up a new one and go again. All your personal details and files will be cloud based or mirrored to cloud and you'll log in and synchronise to your new unit and so on.

      I can't remember the last time I actually bought a PCI card to plug in to the big dusty box under my desk.

      Do you even know what video memory does? 2.2GB is plenty. And as much as I wish it weren't true, people always think of consoles when they think of gaming.

        Plenty today, and far more than the 256MB on current consoles. But how will that 2.2GB look towards the end of the console's 5-6 year shelf life? Or even 2 years in? 256MB was also plenty once, back in 2005 when the current gen was released.

      How many times, just a few months or even a year after having been released, are consoles found wanting for more video processing power? It's all too common and it's pathetic.

      Sure, the graphics card is limited, but so is the displays pixel ratio... When the 360 came out, 1080p TV's were barely on the market. Look at Halo 3 (2007) vs Halo 4 (2012) and Reach, somewhere in the middle (The others reused the previous games engines), then tell me again developers run out of options quickly. Any console would flog a PC with the same specs in gaming. You also have to remember GPUs build various engines into the chip as time goes by and these are needed, such as shaders, rendering, particle lighting and various lengthy tasks, reducing the need for so much software processing power. Having said that, I agree PC will be always outperform consoles, why wouldn't they? Consoles are more than likely emulated on PCs before even being ported to it's own machine for the years it is in production, meaning the PCs would have to emulate the consoles specs with enough resources to run the development machine. Consoles don't change for years and years, PC's change every other day. Personally, I wouldn't complain if they did up the specs, I just don't think it's as necessary as you think it is... I wouldn't worry about it.

      PC's have always, and probably will be for a long time, the first avenue people think of when it comes to gaming

      I don't think this has been true for many many years now. I know that when I think of gaming, the first thing that comes to mind is a Playstation or Xbox, and a quick survey around the office shows people agree with me.

      Also, console gaming is just plain more fun IMO. You can play them on a massive screen with a bunch of mates playing off the same console. Not so easy with a PC.

    this sounds suspiciously like the durango specs 'leaked' a few days ago...

    Looking forward to this.

    Was hanging out for a backwards compatibility section though.

    I'm not up to date with the new Playstation, but do we know anything about whether it will play PS3 games? Would be good if we could move our save games from the PS3 (I know how to do this) and keep playing them on the PS4. That's probably the biggest selling point for me. I'll snap one up at release if it is backwards compatible.

      Yes, backward compatibility is my big desire, too.

        It would be a problem if it isn't backwards compatible. backwards compatibility was a big + for the PS2 and 3 because it eliminates the problem of few launch games because you can play your old games.

          The original 60Gig PS3 was launched with backward compatibility for PS2 games through the Emotion Engine. However, the EE was soon removed to cut costs and no other version of the PS3 has it. Removing compatibility for PS2 games does not seem to have affected PS3 sales. That's what makes me worry that the PS4 will not be backward compatible.

            but my point is, that had it not had the backward compatability, inital sales may have been lower and reduced or delayed the release of some titles that may have further impinged on sales. It would probably be worth the extra cost on the inital version to build the customer base quickly.

      Given the AMD Bulldozer CPU's, and the fact that they dropped backwards compatability for price so quickly from the PS3, I'd be seriously doubting you will get backwards compatability.

    will it even play ps3 games ?

    also Sonys policies make it a lot less attractive for people who use it as media box ...

      x2, with the new Xbox having bluray, I don't see the appeal of having a Playstation with cinavia having a cry when I try to play files locally.

    (DF reported 4GB of GDDR5, while we’ve heard 8GB)
    Wouldn't the system RAM be DDR3? GDDR5 is graphics ram, which you wouldn't need 8GB of ever, a GTX 690 has 6GB.

      These are just rumours so dissecting the details is futile.

    Maybe if the retards using their old shitty consoles new what good graphics were they wouldn't settle for the shit looking games coming out now and maybe the people using their PC's for gaming wouldn't get shafted with the shit like Dead Space 3 ported straight from console.

    System Requirements
    FOR WINDOWS XP (SP3), Vista (SP1) or WINDOWS 7
    * 2.8 GHz processor or equivalent
    * 1 GB RAM (XP), 2 GB RAM (Vista or Windows 7)
    * NVIDIA GeForce 6800 or better (7300, 7600 GS, and 8500 are below minimum system requirements)
    * ATI X1600 Pro or better (X1300, X1300 Pro and HD2400 are below minimum system requirements)
    * 256MB Video Card and Shader Model 3.0 required* The latest version of DirectX 9.0c
    * At least 10GB of hard drive space for installation, plus additional space for saved games.

    I used to be a major PC gamer, but it got too expensive and frustrating to keep upgrading the hardware due to obsolescence and PC rot. My 8 year old Xbox 360 however can still play whatever game I throw at it, and although I miss the graphics and the keyboard/mouse combo, I just find it much more convenient and reliable.

      I hate the keyboard mouse set up... Its the reason I play Ps3. Ive tried it a few times but just cant get into it as much as analogues and triggers.

        Yeah, I love my controller too, it is more convenient than a keyboard/mouse. I probably should have elaborated a bit more, it's not so much the keyboard/mouse I miss, rather the RTS games I used to play them with, i.e. Starcraft, Warcraft... it's kind of impossible to play those with a controller :(

      My computer is 4 years old. Spent $250 on my graphics card when it was new. Stil runs all my games 1080P no problems.

      Obsolescence in PCs is completely over-hyped. The manufacturers want to make you believe you NEED that new graphics card.....you don't. Mine runs everything at above 40FPS on 1080P which is MORE than enough for 99% of games out there. I'm sure if Sony and Microsoft could get away with it they'd pretend you NEED the new XBox 1440 only 2 years out from the XBox 720....but they know casual gamers won't tolerate that (the VAST majority of the console market).

      The PC gaming "obsolescence" market is aimed at hard-core gamers. Casual gamers know you don't need to spend $250 a year EVERY year on new graphics and $250 on a faster CPU and RAM to keep playing new games.

      That argument is artificial. PC games now work perfectly on decent, high range graphics systems from 4 or 5 years ago. Same as consoles.

        Artificial? My experience says otherwise. Granted, I never used top of the line hardware so my PC started to lag like crazy after 4 years, but within the first year and a half it was perfect. I wouldn't mind building a new PC sometime in the near future, as soon as I can afford to not compromise with second-rate components. Not going to make the same mistake again, hopefully I'll have an experience more similar to yours. But the other thing about PCs is that there are too many variables that can screw up and compromise the rest. Next time I'm going to go for a RAID 5/0+1 setup ;)

        Last edited 25/01/13 8:21 pm

          If you didn't buy high end parts to begin with, can you really expect it to last as long??? That's the biggest mistake people make. If you don't future proof, how can you expect a future? :P

          And a computer running Windows generally needs refreshing about once a year. I've done mine 5 times since I bought it. I still runs almost the same as the day I bought it.

            I apologise for not having the means for such significant outlays back when I was 18, I was on a tight budget lol

              Lol. I saved up for mine. Cost me $1200 :) Has lasted me 4 years. Will last me another 2-3 with just a new graphics card and some RAM in a year or so.

    I'm a PC gamer and don't mind console. Love how people spend all this money on systems, but then can get addicted to a simple mobile game and spend just as much time on them. That's happened to me recently. Don't play DANMAKU DEATH, you won't care about anything until you finish the game.

    I'm mainly a PC gamer but also appreciate and use consoles.

    The PC elitists make me wish I was straight console sometimes. Attitude is just plain unpleasant.

    Good ports to PC are fantastic. We'd have a lot less games on PC if it weren't for ports...the funding isn't there for pure PC games most the time. I'd rather a good port than miss out on the game entirely. Plus, I haven't had to upgrade my PC in ages and the graphics it can put out are still great, and get better as developers optimize. I do look forward to the next gen of consoles though, as it'll mean a significant step up in PC games graphics - worth buying a new PC for.

    I'm having more fun than ever PC gaming. I feel bad for those PC guys who are forever bitter because 'the consolez b ruinin everythinn'

    Last edited 25/01/13 5:49 pm

    That accounts thing is pretty much how accounts works on the Xbox 360, right? Anything new/different?

    Seriously, that is your comparison? Of course a console cant come close. But a single 2GB 560Ti gfx card costs upwards of $250! You honestly cant expect a console to retail for $800 - $1200?

    A console has to sell for less than $600 to remain a chance at the market.

    If you want graphics that only a PC can supply then... use a PC.

    Good to see people still like to shout from the roof tops, so everyone can see how limited they are and justify their limitations and expect everyone else to be just as limited. I think this post is for ps console people. I don't play games on pay pc or ps3. When I purchased my ps3, it was the best blu-ray player, while other plays could take 4 minutes to load, the ps3 did not take that much longer to load a blu-ray then DVD players took to load a DVD. I think a lot of the original sales were for this reason. I still use it to play Blu-ray Disc even after 5 years. 4k tv standards are starting to appear, maybe this could the killer feature that could push the ps4 uptake, like blu-ray and 1080p output did when the ps3 when it came out.
    The ps3 is still relevant today with most tv's 1080p.

      Yah, I still use my PS3 mainly for the home theatre. It's a decent blu-ray player. I can't go back to DVDs now.

    Console specs look great.
    Will be interesting to see how it scales when we start seeing more 4k TVs entering the consumer market.
    I am more concerned about the rumours of Sony killing the second hand game market by locking game discs to an individual console.
    Anyone know more about this??

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