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Sony PlayStation 4: The Next Generation Of Gaming Finally Announced (VIDEO) (PICTURES)

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Sony has announced the PlayStation 4, its next-generation gaming console.

The Japanese electronics giant said the new machine would usher in "the future of play".

But fans were disappointed after neither the console itself nor the price of the machine were unveiled on stage.

Sony will instead showcase the design and further details about the machine at a later date - leaving many frustrated.

Andrew House, head of PlayStation at Sony, said the company was "strengthening the PlayStation ecosystem through hardware and software."

"When combined [that will] create truly magical experiences".

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The new system is powered by a hugely improved "Supercharged PC architecture" with a X86-based graphics processor and CPU, with 8GB of RAM.

Game demos shown running on the system, including a new Killzone title and Drive Club, a next-gen driving game, showed off a level of detail and graphical quality never before possible on a gaming console.

The new 'Dual Shock 4' PlayStation controller includes a touch pad, a 'light bar' to track a player's position in a room and redesigned - although familiar - dual-sticks and buttons.

The PS4 will allow gamers to use the company's existing PlayStation Vita handheld to live stream games from the system when the TV is being used for another function.

Sony said PS3 games will not be supported, but explained it was exploring ways to stream older games on the PS4 - and on any other device it decides.

This will be called the 'PlayStation Cloud', and will require a massive investment in network infrastructure. Sony said it will be rolling these services out in phases but insisted it will "change the way we play", hinting at a future where consoles are simply junction boxes for games played in large part on a server.

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Some of the new games announced alongside previously shown titles such as Watch Dogs and Diablo III included:

  • KIllzone: Shadow Fall - a hugely impressive first-person perspective shooter set in a futuristic world at war
  • DriveClub: an amazingly detailed and realistic driving game focused around collaborative play
  • Second Son: what would really happen if a small group of people gained super powers?
  • Deep Down: a third-person dragon hunting action game from Capcom
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The new console will also have an all-new user experience (above). Among the features of the new system UI include:

  • Background downloading of games, including with the console powered down
  • Digital titles are playable as they are downloaded, rather than waiting for the whole title to finish downloading
  • Sharing video of gameplay is simple, with a 'Share' button placed on the controller
  • Browse live video of your friends playing games - and take over their controller when they reach a difficult portion

Alongside the new hardware, Sony said it was creating the "fastest, most powerful gaming network in the world".

This new gaming network underpins the PS4 user interface, and integrates the streaming games technology of Gaikai, allowing players to try games instantly from the PlayStation Store.