Well, it's finally been announced - the Playstation 4 is official, and it's actually going to be called the Playstation 4, despite rumours about Japan's fixation with the number as a symbol of bad luck. But what did we learn during the SONY presentation? Well, for one thing they've played a shrewd game by holding on to the announcement for as long as they did. Developers have played a key part in the construction of the hardware, which shows at least that SONY have learnt from their past mistakes with the PS3 (developing for the console proved to be a bug bear for some studios from launch, with Free Radical's Karl Hilton going so far as to blame technical issues with the console for the release state of the studio's final game Haze in 2009). Also, with 8GB of unified memory, the issues that plagued games like Skyrim should become a thing of the past

They've also learnt a lot from the mistakes made by their (so-called) rival Nintendo. Interconnectivity between SONY devices, especially the Vita, will allow you to navigate the new console's interface using SONY brand tablets and, taking a big leaf out of Nintendo's book, facilitate players who want to move their PS4 game from the big screen to the hand held. Like the GamePad, but nicer to hold (and a tad more expensive). That's right - if for whatever reason you have to switch off the TV, you can carry on playing on the Vita. No specs as to what the range will be - hopefully if the two devices are connected to WiFi or 4G it could effectively turn the PS4 into a "play anywhere" - but that's just speculation on my part.

PhotobucketThe PS4 will still be utilising an HDD - they didn't specify whether it would be solid state, highly unlikely given the cost, but the fact they haven't moved to a complete Cloud memory system is surprising. The online capabilities the company were boasting (the fastest gaming network in the world no less) sound almost too amazing to be true - no more downloading time, instant game downloads, play while you download - it boggles the mind. The impetus was very much on removing the barrier between switching the system on and playing the game, showing that SONY have listened to their loudest critics - anyone who owns a PS3 knows the pain of loading a game, only to find that there's a 20 minute wait for an update to download.

Another great announcement was the addition of a suspend and resume function, something that gamers have been crying out for for quite some time. Anyone who's been playing through Visceral's Dead Space 3 will be familiar with how annoying punitive checkpoints can be - replaying previous sections of a game as a means to create the illusion of difficulty is a facet of game design that really deserves to be consigned to the past. Hopefully, now it has.

SONY are also really pushing the social media aspect of the console, with full Facebook and Ustream integration. Also, at any point during a game you can "share" your experience on the Playstation network in real time, and interact with the friends who watch you play in-screen via a comments system or video chat. It can also be a passive experience, where you watch other people play games, and offer them help or (as I suspect it will quickly descend to) verbally abuse the person playing. But then, I'm a cynical bastard. Editing gameplay footage can be done in game before sharing online practically instantly.

The Playstation network will also be monitoring your game history, and tailoring ads to suit your interests. Perhaps most impressively, any games you are likely to download will have been automatically downloaded on your behalf - even before you decide to buy the game, the game will be there, waiting for you to buy it.

Integrating GAIKAI with PSN also means gamers will be able to play a huge catalogue of games (including PS1, PS2 and PS3 titles, essentially nailing the coffin shut on backwards compatibility) before deciding to buy them. No real details of limitations (most probably going to be limited by time), but it seems very possible that demos are going to become obsolete for anything other than pre-game hype.

PhotobucketNow to the controller: everything you've seen and heard is true. The DualShock 4 will have trigger buttons that are similar to the 360 controller and it will also have touch screen functionality built into the front of the pad. Not only that, but they've integrated some of the move functionality as well. Whether the latter gets utilised or not in major titles remains to be seen - it could all go the way of sixaxis. There's also a share button, which ties in with the console's ability to broadcast gameplay in real time. Just touch the button and bam - you're live streaming, baby.

Perhaps the only disappointing aspect of the reveal was the lack of a hardware shot or recommended retail price. We've still not seen the PS4 nor do we know how overdrawn it's going to send us when it's released in Q4 of 2013. But, with E3 just around the corner, it's only a matter of time.

Games

Check out the playlist below for all of the games officially revealed this evening and a couple of vids that showcase what the console can do.

Killzone: Shadow Fall gets another video mention, as not only was it impressive showcase of the PS4's capabilities graphically, but it also highlighted the use of the "share" button on the PS4 controller. Below is the in game footage that was captured live this evening by Guerilla Games.

Media Molecule were also on hand to show off the capabilites of the console with PS Move. Quantic Dream's David Cage was on hand to show everybody just how far the graphics can be pushed to convey emotion. Check out the respective vids below (courtesy of Gamespot).

Square Enix once again showed off their Luminous Engine showcase video (last seen at E3 2012), but more interestingly pre-announced that the next Final Fantasy game will be announced at E3 2013. Now, every fibre of my being knows it's not going to be a Final Fantasy 7 remake, but Shinji Hashamoto was just vague enough, I feel, to send the rumour mill into overdrive. As much as I hope it happens, it's never going to. I really hope I'm wrong.

Perhaps my favourite gameplay trailer of the evening was for Ubisoft's Watch Dogs, what looks like an open world Cyber Punk Assassins Creed meets GTA. Take a look for yourself below (again, video courtesy of Gamespot).

Last, but by no means least, was the announcement that two third party developers will be returning to support the PS4: Blizzard will be porting over Diablo III for both PS3 and PS4, and Bungie will be ending their decade long trend of Xbox exclusivity by bringing Destiny over to the PS4. You can check out the trailer for the latter below.

That about rounds up 2013's Playstation Meeting. I'm sure I've missed something out, so feel free to lambast me in the comments. I'm going to start working out what I can sell to get my hands on a PS4 this Christmas.