Computer Graphics World

March/April 2013

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Gaming ■ ■ ■ ■ The portable Razer Edge Tablet is a high-end gaming system packed into a tablet. Without question, the feature that is getting the most attention is Wii U's touch-screen controller. The 6.2-inch screen is about the size of a tablet computer. However, that is where the comparison to a tablet ends, as the screen in no way functions like a tablet computer. The display on the Wii U controller, though, can work in a few different ways. It can be used to add extra information or control options to a game that is being played on a television screen; it also can display the same information shown on the TV. And, it can serve as the only gaming screen in use when the system is in "Off TV Play" mode. Alas, the system did not meet with the fanfare that the original Wii did back in 2006, when many shoppers were lured by the unique gameplay of the system and its lower price in comparison to the PlayStation 3, released in the same timeframe. The Wii U may have gotten an early jump in 2012, but it appears that 2013 is gearing up to be the big start of the next-generation rollout. And, in all likelihood, there will be some new players in both the console and handheld sectors. To this end, expect E3 to be a very busy place, as companies unveil their plans and provide a look at their new wares. The market is ripe with talk of Microsoft's next-generation Xbox console, expected sometime this year. Details, as you would expect, are slim – well, practically non-existent. The same holds true for Sony's PlayStation 4, also estimated for a late-2013 release. Speculation on whether either system will have 3D stereo capability has been rampant but unsubstantiated. With few hard facts, the industry has been anxious to learn more about Sony's or Microsoft's new gaming vision. Which one would throw down the gauntlet first and reveal details about their offering? The answer: Sony. In a press conference at the end of February, Sony revealed plans to roll out the next generation, indeed called PlayStation 4, in time for the holiday shopping season. "It redefines rich and immersive gameplay with powerful graphics and speed, intelligent personalization, deeply integrated social capabilities, and innovative second-screen features," stated Jack Tretton, president and CEO of Sony, in a recent blog. "When we designed PlayStation 4, we focused on building an architecture that will allow the greatest game developers in the industry to push boundaries and dig deep within their imaginations to create the most immersive and unique games for you to enjoy." Tretton promises that the PS4 will change the way gamers interact when playing with friends. Embracing the social media phenomenon, PlayStation 4 will let players instantly share images and videos of their favorite gameplay moments on Facebook with a single press on the DualShock 4 controller's "share" button; they can also broadcast while playing in real time through Ustream, so friends can comment or jump into the game in new ways. "Leveraging PlayStation Network with Gaikai technology, PS4 will make it easier for you to play your favorite games and access content wherever you are. We see PS Vita as the ultimate companion device for PS4, and it's our long-term vision to make most PS4 games playable on PS Vita, so you can bring your favorite games from the big-screen TV to your PS Vita over Wi-Fi," he noted of the Remote Play feature. Also on tap is a PlayStation app for iPhone, iPad, and Android devices that acts as a second screen, "allowing for unique gameplay possibilities, such as viewing maps during an adventure game or remotely watching friends play during an epic battle – right from a smartphone or tablet," wrote Tretton. In terms of specs, the PS4 will have an eight-core 64-bit x86 Jaguar CPU from AMD, with a next-gen Radeon-based GPU comprising 18 "compute units" capable of handling 1.84 teraflops. Moreover, the machine will have full-3D support with 4k/2k compatibility. It will also support 3D Bluray. So, what is the price of the PS4? That is still unannounced. New Kids on the Block All eyes are not solely on Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony. There are new contenders vying for attention – and a piece of this lucrative market. Expected this summer is an inexpensive console from Ouya that runs a revised version of the Android operating system. The system boasts 8gb internal flash memory and 1gb RAM. The Ouya also will offer users access to the OnLive streaming The GameStick is an Android-based "console" that connects directly into a TV's HDMI slot. March/April 2013 CGW0313-Game Devicespfin.indd 17 1 7 3/14/13 12:14 PM

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