Sony PlayStation 4
Sony announced the PlayStation 4 on Wednesday in New York. Reuters

Sony’s big announcement has lived up to its billing. On Wednesday evening in New York, Sony unveiled the PlayStation 4, the successor to the PlayStation 3. The new videogame system will feature social integration, a new controller and plenty of interesting technology.

At the event, Sony showed off the PlayStation 4's capabilities and the new controller. The console's emphasis is on streaming games and sharing the experience with friends. Sony’s lead PS4 architect, Mark Cerny, said, “Our long-term vision is to reduce download times of digital titles to zero,” the Associated Press reported.

The PS4 controller has been the topic of speculation for weeks, and some prototype photos had been released prior to Wednesday. The controller as revealed looked similar to those photos. The PS4 controller will feature a touchscreen in the center, a "Share" button, motion control, and an LED light bar, which will make it easy for the PlayStation Eye to track during gameplay. The presenters said the PS4 was designed with plenty of input from game creators, and its technology was created with developers in mind, meaning the PS4 could be the ideal system for videogame developers.

Also impressive is the amount of RAM that will help power the PS4. According to Gizmodo, the PS4 will have 8 gigabytes of RAM. Compared to the PS3 and the Xbox 360, which each have just 512 MB of RAM, and it’s clear that the PS4 is not just a small upgrade in the technology department. Other PS4 technical specs revealed in New York include an x86 processor and a local hard drive for storage.

Tech demos revealed some of the power of the PS4, including the display of an old man’s face, which appeared to have nearly life-like skin. All the videos and demonstrations were pre-rendered, but they were still impressive and helped showcase what developers could do with the PS4. The PlayStation Cloud was also announced, which will allow the streaming of PlayStation 3 games to a PS4.

The PS4 promises better download times thanks to a separate processor that will download games as the user plays other games, notes Gizmodo. Sony is also promising games that will boot “instantly” from sleep mode, and another video-processing chip that will unlock plenty of social features.

This dedicated video-processing chip will let friends view your gameplay from their home, and users can stream or upload that footage to YouTube seamlessly without having to interrupt gameplay. Social networks will be important to the PS4 and, in addition to social sharing, Sony is incorporating its handheld device, the Vita, to act as a second console. Users can stream PS4 games onto the Vita and continue their gaming experience.

Some videogames also were shown off at the PS4 announcement including “Knack,” “Killzone: Shadow Fall,” “Driveclub,” “The Witness,” “Infamous: Second Son” and “Down Deep.” Sony said the developers currently working on games for the PS4 include Activision, Capcom, SquareEnix, Konami, Electronic Arts, Sega, Rockstar Games, Lucasarts and Bethesda, Kotaku reported.