NEW YORK -- Sony's vision for the future of gaming is here.
Sony unveiled the PlayStation 4 at a New York event on Wednesday. The new system features an impressive array of specifications and social enhancements. Here's the rundown:
The Console: The PlayStation 4 will be powered by chips that would make any top-of-the-line PC user drool: A "supercharged" eight-core x86 processor, a PC-style graphics processor, and a stunning eight gigabytes of RAM.
With these guts serving as the PS4's central brain, the console is capable of pushing graphics at 4K resolution, or supporting stereoscopic 3D in full 1080p for high definition televisions. That means it'll likely be ready for the next five to 10 years of living room display technology.
Social integration: Impressive as the graphics are, the real leaps made by Sony were found in the PS4's ability to share content.
The PS4's controller features a share button. When pressing it, users can share clips of the last few minutes of their game play and even broadcast real-time gameplay to friends.
In some instances, friends will be able to communicate with one another and even remotely take over others' games.
The PS4 also features social networking integration and personalized recommendations for downloading games and media. Sony will allow users to log into their PlayStation profiles on phones, tablets or PCs.
The Controller: Like every other iteration of the PlayStation controller before it, the PS4 controller didn't get too much of a makeover, but it packs a few new tricks.
The new DualShock 4 controller sports a touchpad placed smack in the middle, which supports two-finger multitouch. Along the bottom is a 3.5mm headphone jack for connecting a headset, and along the top is a glowing, colorful LED light strip that will identify a player.
The Network: More than ever, the PlayStation network is emerging as a central priority for Sony. And its plans for the PS4 are big.
The biggest announcement Sony made Wednesday was that users will be able to "stream" PS4 games to the handheld PS Vita.
But Sony doesn't want to stop there. Eventually, Sony says it will enable cloud gaming, which will allow users to play every title on any system, streamed from remote servers.
That is how the PS4 will work around the fact that it isn't backwards-compatible with its PS3 predecessor, due to the radically different processors the two consoles have.
The Camera: The PS4 features a built-in camera for 3D tracking and motion control, similar to the Microsoft Xbox's Kinect attachment.
The Games: We're still a ways off from knowing what will be ready in time for the PS4 launch, and what will come after, but Sony already has a couple of big titles lined up. Developers showed off first-person shooter game "Killzone: Shadow Fall," team-based online racing game "Driveclub," and "The Witness," a puzzle solving game.
Quantic, a game developed Heavy Rain, was particularly impressive. The game will feature over 30,000 polygons per video game character. That delivers as close to a photorealistic video game experience as we've seen.
The Release: Sony hasn't given a firm release date aside from the fourth quarter, but generally that means it will arrive in time for the holiday shopping season. In other words, expect the PS4 sometime around November.