Sony’s PlayStation Meeting: The Liveblog

In just under half an hour, Sony is expected to officially lift the lid on what the PlayStation Neo looks like at their PlayStation Meeting in New York. The slim revision for the baseline model of the PS4 should also make an appearance, and it’d be a surprise if there wasn’t a healthy amount of discussion about life after PlayStation VR as well.

But what precisely will Neo look like? How much will it cost? We’re about to find out.

4:15 AM: Morning, everyone. PlayStation Neo time. But before we get into a wider discussion about what we think we’re going to see, a coffee is in order. None of this green tea nonsense for me.

I think a double long black with a healthy dose of sugar is in order. And while that’s brewing, I’ll have some time to consider what the PlayStation Neo actually looks like — and, importantly, whether Sony will still call it that.

Get yourself a biscuit. A drink. And a warm blanket. Because we’re about to begin.

4:35 AM: So turns out I didn’t end up making that coffee — there’s quite a few things to unpack from the iPhone 7 launch, which our friends at Gizmodo have been in the midst of covering.

One of the more interesting elements from that is the fact that Nintendo are slowly, piece by piece, saddling up to the smartphone market. I don’t really care a great deal about an endless runner, but the prospect of ancient Mario games, perhaps a cut-down version of Mario Kart, another Animal Crossing spin-off … these sorts of things would get me very excited.

Of course, that would just eat into Nintendo’s traditional handheld market. And everything we know about the NX so far makes it seem likely that Nintendo won’t go and just release, say, Pokemon Blue on iOS any time soon.

But one can dream.

In any case, the big things coming out gaming wise will be from Sony. More so than the hardware, however, I’d really like to see Sony talk about the software.

What are they going to do to make the console better to use? We already know about the quick menu and revamped share screen in the upcoming 4.0 update — but what else have they got under their sleeve? Can they, say, match the automated tournament system that Microsoft are implementing on Xbox? Will the PlayStation Store finally be a lot easier and faster to navigate?

I’d like to see a bit about that. It’ll also be good to see what kind of social features Sony tries to implement around PSVR, in terms of what can be shared, what restrictions there are, and so on.

It’s going to be a fun morning.

4:38 AM: Lovely shot of outside the PlayStation theatre here.

4:51 AM: Just for good measure, here’s what my desk looks like right now. I’m liveblogging from the office, rather than doing it from home. Had to catch an Uber in to do it, but it’s nice being in at work when it’s nice and quiet and there’s that small buzz you get before a big conference.

4:54 AM: We’ve got music, and animated graphics. The conference is only a few minutes away.

4:56 AM: If you’re thinking of grabbing a quick drink or a bite, now’s the time to do it. Although I suspect @dropkicksaslytherin’s idea of doing a last-minute Maccas run might be a bit ambitious. You could follow along on your phone, I suppose.

If you’d like to watch the conference on your phone, our post with the livestream works very nicely on mobiles. Or you could stay with the updates here. Either works!

4:59 AM: One minute away now.

Someone made a great point about how they’d like to see Sony make some moves on backward compatibility. I feel like they’re hoping that PlayStation Now will fill that space — although I’d really like to see the price of that rolled into PS+, particularly given how lacklustre the monthly free titles have been for most of the year.

5:01 AM: And we’ve got a liveshot of the crowd now, but nothing else. Slightly behind schedule.

5:03 AM: Still no fireworks yet. The elevator music is nice though. I’d take this as the PS4’s new menu music.

5:05 AM: Things are finally starting. Andrew House takes the stage.

5:06 AM: Andrew House is now talking about how gamers would want to play in the future. “A console with user experience at the core; a network that is faster, more social, more personalised,” he says.

And the PS4 slim refresh gets announced.

5:08 AM:
The new PS4 model “will be in most markets” by September 15. Prices are flashed up, and it’s at $US299:

That’s not too bad. About $399 for Australians, if history is any guide.

5:09 AM: Andrew House adds that “for the highly discriminating gamer, there is always a desire for advancement and they want it in this generation”.

It’s Neo time.

5:10 AM: A picture of a TV comes up, and then Andrew House starts talking about HDR and 4K. We’re going into the basic selling points of both now. “It’s only now that we can start implementing these advancements in the context of gaming … games are a natural for 4K and HDR,” he adds.

5:11 AM: The PS4 Pro is the name for the PS4 Neo. Mark Cerny is now taking the stage to talk about PS4 Pro.

Cerny has a very, very smooth speaking voice.

5:14 AM: The clock rate of the CPU has been increased in the PS4 Pro, while the GPU has gotten an upgrade with the latest Polaris architecture from AMD.

The PS4 Pro will also have a 1TB hard drive by default.

5:15 AM: Making the 4K pitch.

Cerny’s now about to show off a bunch of real-time scenes recorded from the PS4 Pro, played back via a projector.

5:16 AM:
First game is the upcoming Spiderman title, followed by For Honor.

5:18 AM:
We then see some Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, and Rise of the Tomb Raider. Watch Dogs 2 follows that.

Unusually, Killing Floor 2 is then announced. Only a few seconds of footage — with the character not moving — are shown, however.

5:21 AM: The conversation is now moving onto HDR, and Cerny making the argument for the higher dynamic range. “We will not expect all developers to initially support HDR on PS4 Pro.”

Days Gone is announced as one of the first games to support HDR. The luminosity and colours are first restricted, and then HDR is “turned on”, so to speak.

Cerny mentions the “frequent horror”, referring to the zombies in Days Gone. Uncharted 4 now pops up again.

5:23 AM: It’s one of the PS4’s earliest titles. Infamous: First Light. “But you don’t need a 4K TV or a HDR TV to experience the benefits of PS4 Pro,” Cerny adds.

Devs will be free to “tailor the experience to … the type of TV being used”.

Epic’s Paragon pops up, and we get treated to a before-and-after of what you would see if you just hooked up a PS4 Pro to a normal TV.

It’s impossible to really tell much of the difference watching on a Twitch stream, but I imagine we’ll be seeing this kind of demo rolled out in, say, JB Hi-Fi and other retailers to continue to pitch there.

5:26 AM: “Forward compatibility”. That’s what Cerny calls the PS4 Pro’s support for existing titles.

PSVR now gets mentioned. Cerny notes that you can have higher pixel counts or higher frame rates with the PS4 Pro as opposed to the standard PS4 model.

Now it’s never before-seen footage of Horizon: Zero Dawn on the PS4 Pro, and Cerny leaves the stage.

5:31 AM: Damn Horizon: Zero Dawn looks good. I’ll have a GIF for you in a minute.

In the meantime, Andrew House returns. He says games will run across all models of the PS4, although devs will be asked to consider how they can best support 4K and HDR TVs with their titles.

It’s time to welcome Call of Duty to the stage.

5:32 AM: And there’s a small snafu with the mic for Activision’s chief technology officer. “His mic’s not on,” we hear someone whisper into a nearby microphone on the livestream.

5:33 AM: Infinite Warfare and Modern Warfare Remastered will support PS4 Pro “out of the box, day one”. That’s interesting. When is the PS4 Pro coming out again?

Here’s that Horizon bit I promised.

5:36 AM:
Aaryn Flynn takes the stage. Well, I guess if you had Infinite Warfare, you have to have Battlefield.

BF1 and FIFA will support the new console, as well as Mass Effect: Andromeda. Ooh.

5:39 AM: Andromeda is reminding me of Destiny so far, visually anyway.

Don’t mind that.

Andrew House returns to the stage.

5:40 AM: Andrew House says that there will be a new Netflix app for the PS4 Pro before the end of the year.

Is the PS4 Pro being released before the end of the year as well?

5:41 AM:
Every PS4 will support HDR as of next week, thanks to a firmware update. That’s pretty big.

5:43 AM: We’re winding down now, with a showreel of mostly the games we saw previously.

Here’s what the new consoles look like side by side:

And the price: $US399 for the PS4 Pro. That’ll end up shaking out to $549 or $599 for Australians, no doubt.

Most importantly: the PS4 Pro will be launching on November 10, less than a month after the release of PSVR and well before Project Scorpio. That’s huge.

5:46 AM: And that’s a wrap of the main conference! It’ll be followed by a livecast of the PS4 Pro, however, so I’ll hang around for that and see what’s on display.

5:50 AM: Apparently Mass Effect: Andromeda is going to be shown off a lot more at the conference today. That should be interesting.

As for the PS4 Pro — well, it looks like two slim PS4’s stacked on top of each other. What do you think?

5:52 AM: First up, however, is Herman from Guerrilla Games. It’s Horizon: Zero Dawn time.

5:55 AM: There’ll be some commentated gameplay shortly after the interview with Herman finishes. He confirms that it’ll be about tactical combat and an open world environment, although I think most people already knew that already.

6:01 AM:
After having a lengthy chat, it’s now back into the same Horizon footage that was shown off during the HDR segment of the conference.

Damn this game looks sweet.

6:04 AM: Days Gone is up now. The footage shown earlier in the conference really wasn’t anything different to what was already shown at E3, but maybe Chris Reese from Bend Studio will have something new to add.

It’s mostly a technical discussion about the PS4 Pro — resolutions, fidelity, that sort of thing.

Reese is now doing the elevator pitch for Days Gone. It’s two years after a global pandemic ravages the world. “He’s rough and tough as it is,” the dev continues.

6:12 AM: Well I think we’re going to wrap it up here. There’s nothing particularly new being discussed about the games. There’s going to be a panel featuring some devs and tech heads coming up, but if anything intriguing comes out of that I’ll let you know later today.

Thanks so much for tuning in and stay tuned for more news on the PS4 Pro, the slimmer PS4, PSVR and everything else as the year rolls on.

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