Sony held a press conference in New York this evening, where it talked about the next steps for PlayStation, in the same city that it announced the PS4 back in February 2013. We were all expecting a reveal of the more-powerful PlayStation Neo, reported on by Kotaku in March and confirmed (but not shown) by Sony just before E3. The immediate release of the leaked PS4 Slim was also very much on the cards. But was there anything else in store?
Here's everything that happened.
- Looks like we're just getting on with things straight off the bat: Sony boss Andrew House is here, reminiscing about the PS4 reveal. Understandably, he seems pleased with the results: 40 million sold so far. But even more people will buy the PS4 Slim, he reckons.
-Here are the details: the Slim is exactly as powerful as the original PS4. It'll be in most markets by September 15th, for £259.
-"For the highly discriminating gamer, there is always that desire for advancement, and they want it in this generation," says House. Here we go. PS4 is maxing out what we can do with 1080p TVs, he says: 4K and HDR (high dynamic range) are where it's at, and it's time to "start implementing these tech advancements in the context of gaming".
-Here it is: PlayStation 4 Pro. It will sit alongside and complement the standard PS4: it remains part of this generation, but will offer extra to those who have invested in 4K tech.
-Mark Cerny, PS4's lead system architect, is here to talk the tech babble. (I still think he talks a tiny bit like a serial killer.) Anyway: PS4 Pro has a GPU that's almost twice as powerful. They've boosted the clock rate of the CPU. Existing games will play on it as normal; you can transfer your game library and entitlements easily. It comes with a 1TB hard drive. It's got enhancements for both 4K and HDTV owners.
-Cerny believes that streamlined rendering techniques are the key to realising the potential of 4K in gaming without "unfortunate consequences" on console cost and form-factor. Now we're going to get a look at what it actually looks like, starting with the new Spider-Man game. We also see footage from For Hono(u)r, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, Rise of the Tomb Raider and Watch Dogs 2. So: all of them can output in 4K on PS4 Pro. There are also a couple of scenes from Killing Floor 2.
-Was genuinely wondering for a second there why I couldn't see much difference, before remembering that I'm watching this stream in a small window on my laptop. I'm wondering how many people will even be able to watch this 4K footage when it's released in order to see the difference.
-Cerny is now onto the joys of HDR technology, which allows TVs to display a wider range of colours. He claims that it does not require massive increases in power to support HDR in gaming: just a capable device and the right TV.
-Games that were shown off in HDR: Days Gone, which we saw at E3; Uncharted 4; Infamous: First Light.
-News editor Jules has reminded me that HDR was in Half-Life 2 a decade ago, before anyone gets too excited.
-Here's what a PS4 Pro will do for those of us with "normal" HDTVs": it will enhance the quality of the reflections, effects, texture quality, et cetera. Already-released games may be patched to look much better: Cerny calls this forward-compatibility. Over 12 patches for first-party games are in the works.
-PSVR also benefits from Pro's increased power: developers can choose to go for higher framerates and crisper scenes for a pretty dramatic increase in visual quality.
-Guerrilla Games' Horizon: Zero Dawn is now going to be shown off in full 4K/HDR prettiness (if you've got something you can watch it on). This really is one of those press conferences where you have to be in the room with that 4K projector to get the full effect.
-Andrew House is back now to emphasise that the PS4 will remain a single unified community: Sony is encouraging developers going forward to support both HD and 4K players.
-Here to illustrate this is Activision's Andy Hendrickson, who will now show off Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. "His mic's not on," whispers someone urgently on the stream, before he picks up a handheld one. I'm guessing we're now going to get more footage that we can't possibly appreciate on a laptop screen.
-Hendrickson confirms that Infinite Warfare and Modern Warfare Remastered will support PS4 Pro out of the box, as will Black Ops 3.
-EA is also in on the party: both FIFA 17 and Battlefield 1 will support the new console, as will Mass Effect Andromeda next year. Oh awesome, we're getting some footage! Here it is:
-Still no new games. Will we see some? Please, Andrew House? Oh wait, we're getting an interlude on 4K Netflix streaming: there will be a new 4K Netflix app with 4K, HDR content. YouTube's also developing a 4K app for PlayStation.
-Every PS4 - old and new - will be made HDR compatible via a firmware update next week. Nice.
-PS4 Pro will be out November 10th, for £349.
-The choice remains with gamers, says House. And that's it: no new games, but two new consoles to think about.
And we're done. I think what would have really made that conference sing is one big, new, exclusive game to truly show off the new tech, but I guess we'll have to wait. Now: I'm going to look up 4K TV prices.