Hands On with the Sony PlayStation 4 Chris Higgins July 10, 2013 Previews In a secret venue hidden just off London’s heaving Regent Street last week, Sony unveiled a great heft of their summer line-up for those not lucky enough to jet halfway around the world a month ago. As one of the privileged few, IndieHaven were treated to a sneak peek behind the curtain at all the toys Sony are working on, including THE toy: PlayStation 4. We also got a lengthy demo of Hohokum, Ricky Haggett’s meditative rejection of objective-based game design, and found out more on Sony’s “Indie First” approach to the next generation but that’s another story for another day. First, let’s get a load of what the future holds… A box, inside a box… Thar she glows! It really is quite the thing of beauty (if you get past the iPhone shot quality), but then again throwing a pair of old socks into a brightly-underlit glass case might make them seem oddly charming. Of note: this is the only time I saw the sultry, slanty angles of the PS4 body all night. Every demo screen was being run off large and mysterious wooden boxes with leads emerging from the back, but I guess devkits aren’t exactly pretty. As far as performance goes, those of us watching the Assassin’s Creed E3 live demo will know that Sony are taking some risks running on actual units, but from what I saw the kits seem to have gotten over their first night jitters. Some occasional dropped frames and tearing on high-octane titles like Killzone are the worst of the problems now but considering these aren’t even retail-ready builds, nothing to see here. Now, onto the things that are ready to sell. Real, tangible things you can hold in your hands. Things made to be held in your hands. Dual Shock 4.0: Live Free, Shock Hard Right now, while writing this, I’m holding the PS3 controller in my hands. I feel clumsy, and not because I’m trying to type at the same time, that’s easy. That’s what pinkies are for. This feeling comes from my congenital defect known as dextrogigantism. The PS3 controller has been made for far smaller hands than the ones I wave around helplessly all day. I can get, at most, two fingers around the meagre grips of the Dual Shock 3. If I want to strafe right while turning left my thumbs have an impromptu wrestling match. Every time I snatch for the trigger my freakish talon is left flailing the air below the pad after slipping straight off the right bumper. During online multiplayer matches I must look like a newborn giraffe on rollerskates. Compared to the abject horror of this daily experience, picking up the PS4 controller last week was like slipping into a candlelit jacuzzi to the dulcet tones of Barry Manilow. A strange and new experience, but undeniably comforting. Firstly the weight, heavier than a DS3, and the solid feel of textured plastic gives the impression you’re holding something well-built. The grips are longer, giving your pinkies something to wrap around when they’re not typing. And that large touchpad in the centre pushes the sticks wider apart, so no longer will your thumbs clash without prior declaration of war. The sticks themselves have been indented to fix sweat-related mishaps, and the triggers too have been curved outwards and now have a satisfying flick. An improvement by all accounts then, not to mention the new additions of touchpad and speaker. All that adds up to the amount of £54 ($60) which is a bit hefty, but could see the resurgence of “BYOC” when visiting friends. Now all we need is the return of couch multiplayer, c’mon indie scene. Stay tuned for part two where we find out from Ricky Haggett whether or not that’s likely to happen, and play his wonderful creation Hohokum.