Has it been a year already? On 20th February 2013, Sony held a press conference in New York to break the silence on its PlayStation 4 plans.
It marked a moment of truth for the company; a high-stakes gamble with Sony pouring investment into its console business in the hope that PlayStation could return to the glory days of PS One and PS2. Many, understandably, doubted whether it could be done.
Now, some twelve months later, the PS4 has already surpassed five million unit sales; a remarkable result, even moreso considering the system still hasn't launched in Japan.
But how close does the vision, laid out one year ago, match the final product? How many of Sony's initial PS4 promises have materialised? In the slideshow below, CVG looks through the key promises made during the PlayStation Meeting, and measures them up against the final product.
A "supercharged PC" The Promise:
The first major announcement made by PS4 system architect Mark Cerny was regarding the hardware set-up. He promised that Sony would deliver a "supercharged PC", something that was both powerful and accessible for developers.
PS4 delivers on this promise. It carries 8GB of GDDR5, and its unified architecture results in an extraordinary theoretical bandwidth speed of 176GB per second. The PS4 is also built on highly familiar X86 architecture, meaning games studios have been able to get the most out of the system quickly.
Numerous developers are already testifying to the power and accessibility of PS4, like Hideo Kojima, who says the PS4 can run Metal Gear Solid V at 1080p60 " with room to spare".
Instant suspend and resume The Promise:
Cerny committed to radically reduce the lag time between turning on a console and playing a game. He said it's crucial that players don't have to wait so long as they had in the PS3 era. So PS4, he said, can suspend and resume gameplay at the touch of the power button.
"The minutes it takes today to load a console and boot a game will be a thing of the past," he said. "Hit the power button and you'll be playing at the exact spot you left off"
While it's clear the PS4 is a markedly smoother and more instant experience than its predecessor, the power-suspend functionality is not available. In October, Sony said the technology has been " delayed". It is not clear when the technology will be patched into the system.
Instantly stream demos The Promise:
Gaikai chief executive David Perry claimed that, through the power of cloud technologies, PS4 gamers will be able to "instantly experience anything they want". The theory is that users can go the PlayStation Store and instantly play a streamed demo of a game.
It's not available. PS4 users still need to manually download demos, and little has been said of the service since it was first pitched.
A sentient system The Promise:
Mark Cerny said Sony's long-term ambition is "to reduce download times to zero". The theory is that if the PS4 knows enough about your media consumption and gameplay habits, it can predict what customers will want and pre-download the content.
Sony hasn't once mentioned this technology ever since. One could speculate that, since technological surveillance has become such a thorny issue, that such a feature has been taken off the table for now.
Kinected The Promise:
What many forget is that Sony introduced the DualShock 4 controller and its new PlayStation 4 Camera at the same time. Cerny said the controller was "designed in tandem with a stereo camera" - hence the light bar on the pad. The initial idea was to bundle the camera in with each system.
But at some stage in the months leading up to E3, Sony executives decided to remove the PlayStation Camera from the console. The belief was that undercutting the Xbox One price was more important than offering the camera as standard. Today, the PlayStation 4 Camera is typically used for broadcast streams - in fact, two industrious PS4 owners decided to make their own live TV show through the platform, which was a short-lived success. No games have yet to utilise the camera.
Remote Play The Promise:
This was perhaps the boldest promise Sony made on February 20. The company claimed PS4 users would be able to play their games by streaming the footage onto a PS Vita, freeing up the TV for other members of the family to use.
Though there is always considerations to be made about bandwidth and input lag, Remote Play is a superbly capable service. The PS4 can either be used as a direct server, or games can be played across Wi-Fi. It is even possible to play PS4 games from miles away, providing both the Vita and console are connected to high-speed routers.
Game assist The Promise:
Not only can PS4 owners live stream their gameplay sessions, but spectators can be invited to take over the controller at certain points if, for example, the player is having trouble.
The service, which was initially met with a mixed response, was not available at launch. Sony says online game assist is not cancelled, but delayed.
Play while downloading The Promise:
One key highlight of the PlayStation Meeting was the claim that PS4 owners could begin playing digital games with just a "fraction" of the game downloaded.
As demonstrated here, the play-as-you-download feature works fairly well in practice. EA's PS4 launch game Need For Speed Rivals weighs about 16GB, for example, but only 3.75GB is required to start playing. Understandably, with only a fraction of assets downloaded, at this stage only two levels of the game are playable.
Broadcast central The Promise:
It was pledged that PlayStation 4 would allow gamers to stream their content live across UStream at the touch of a button, while viewing others' gameplay would be just a few button presses away.
PS4 game streaming tech has been available since the system's launch, powered by UStream and also, due to popular demand, Twitch. Using such functionality is as straightforward as pressing the 'Share' button on the DualShock 4. Gamers can also publish recorded videos on Facebook, though not on YouTube.
However, promoting these videos is not PS4's strength. A live gameplay library is only accessible through an application, meaning the footage is fairly secluded.
Social and mobile connections The Promise:
Sony claimed that the PS4 would be the first meaningfully connected social games console. Players could sync the system to their Facebook account, use their real names, and publish content on their social feeds with relative ease. A mobile app for Android and iOS would also allow users to connect with each other, as well as watch their friends playing live.
Overall, PS4 delivers on these promises. Gamers can quickly share images of their games on Twitter at the touch of a button (each message comes with the recommended hashtag #PS4Share). Facebook integration is thorough, meanwhile, with tools that allow users to easily publish gameplay snippets on their News Feed.
The mobile app, however, is still a little basic and doesn't allow users to watch gameplay streams. [ Correction: An Android app update now allows gamers to view streams on their mobiles]
PlayStation Now The Promise:
Twelve months ago the service had no name, but Gaikai CEO David Perry insisted that his cloud computing technology was "so advanced that some day we could put PS1, PS2, PS3 and PS Mobile games on any device". He added that Sony has a specific long-term goal of "making all PS3 games ubiquitous on any device".
In January, Sony took centre stage at CES in Las Vegas to reveal PlayStation Now; a new subscription service that will stream various PS3 games to Bravia TVs, mobiles, tablets, PS Vita and PS4. Games demonstrated at the show included The Last of Us and Beyond: Two Souls.
It is still unclear how much the subscription service will cost, and how many games will be available at first, though Sony has said the full service will go live in North America at some point in 2014.