This morning, we got our first official hands-on with Sony's brand-new PlayStation 4 -- unveiled last night at E3 2013. Though we got to put our hands on the new DualShock 4 last evening, today we were finally able to play some next-gen games. The first game we played was a new racing game, known as DriveClub, and it uses the PS4 Eye and DualShock 4.
Right when we started, the game took a picture of us using the Eye and it... well it came out kinda blue. The room we're in was very blue, and the image reflected that -- it wasn't the highest quality, and it's a bit of a gimmick, but neat nonetheless. More importantly, when we actually played the game, the DualShock 4 felt great. It's light, responsive, and comfortable -- the new thumbsticks with convex tops cradle your thumbs, and the triggers easily hold your pointer fingers. As for the face buttons, things are nigh identical with previous DualShock iterations. The standard ex / triangle / circle / square combo remains, and looks just about the same as on the DualShock 3. Though the touchpad didn't have any in-game effect in DriveClub, the pad is easily clickable and not too far from your thumbs to quickly jump from face buttons to it.
Sony PlayStation 4 hands-onSee all photos
The next game we got to check out wasn't so much a game as it was a tech demo, known as The Playroom (a working title). It uses the DualShock 4 and Eye in a variety of very interesting ways. While the Eye tracks your controller via the light bar, you're able to flick up on the capacitive touchpad (which is very, very sensitive) and activate a menu to try out a variety of demos. The first one we checked out was "Play with Asobi," which has a little floating orb (a lot like Portal 2's Wheatley) floating around an interacting via the PS4 Eye. He can be tickled, or punched, or a variety of other interactions -- he even shot our head with ice, which we had to shake off physically to remove on-screen.
The Eye's light bar-tracking is very impressive, and allows for some fun stuff: rubbing the trackpad brings out Asobi, like a genie's lamp. There's another demo with little robots that live inside the DualShock 4, which gives you an impression of how the speaker works as well as how quickly the buttons activate. The difference between when you push the button and when you see it activate on-screen is imperceptible, as it should be.
The camera also tracks its Z-axis location in the world because of the PS4 Eye, which allows for some other neat tricks. You can use the DualShock 4 to virtually collect little robots with a vacuum, which tracks where the controller is and sucks up the guys where the controller goes (the vacuum animation even follows along with the DualShock 4 as it moves).
Another neat aspect of The Playroom is how it works with connected devices. Using a Sony Xperia Tablet Z, we were able to draw various items and throw them right into the world (it employs the PlayStation mobile app, so we could've been using any tablet). Not only do the items show up on screen, but they're also implemented in reality (virtually) on-screen as the PS4 Eye captures us in front of it (the various demos in the game are all overlaid on the real world via video capture).
All in all, the new controller feels great, responsive and comfortable. The PS4 Eye works efficiently and interestingly in tandem with the new controller, and the console loaded demos quickly and without pause. Keep an eye out for more PlayStation 4 coverage straight from E3 2013.
Zach Honig contributed to this report.
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