For many gamers today, the original PlayStation® (released in 1997) was their introduction to the hobby. At the time, the console made a splash with its unprecedentedly realistic graphics and arcade-quality games.

Now, of course, the 32-bit console’s graphics look ancient and Sony has released two successors to the machine to keep up with the times. Today, Sony took another huge step by introducing the PlayStation® 4, its next game console. Watch the PlayStation 4 Announcement. Due to arrive this holiday season, the PS4™ is poised to make the same impact its predecessors did. Here’s why the new games (that look leaps and bounds beyond what we’re used) and hardware make the PS4™ the game machine to beat:

1. Games Look Like Movies
Killzone: Shadow Fall

It pretty much goes without saying, but the games shown so far for PlayStation® 4 look really amazing. Sony itself has demoed the likes of Knack, a colorful platformer that looks like a Pixar movie, and Killzone: Shadow Fall, a sci-fi shoot-’em-up that gives ILM’s Star Wars best a run for its money. These, and other games like InFamous: Second Son, Watch Dogs, and Driveclub absolutely blur the line between the sort of high-fidelity computer-generated visuals seen in blockbuster Hollywood films and video games more than any game system before it.

2. New Ways to Play
When you’re playing games on your PS4™ and connected to the PlayStation® Network, friends will be able to jump in and watch you play, if you’d like. They’ll even be able to take control from you and help you through tricky parts of the game if you need help. What’s more, you’ll be able to share clips of yourself playing games with friends around the world simply by pressing the Share button on the controller. Which brings us to…

3. The Controller
The new DualShock 4 controller. The sleekest PlayStation® gamepad yet packs even more cutting-edge technology into its plastic shell.

Enhanced rumble feedback. A touchpad like the one found on the back of the PlayStation® Vita handheld. New gameplay possibilities. It also works with a Kinect®-like camera bar to allow advanced motion-based gaming, and has other neat little features, such as a built-in headphone jack.

4. Play PS4™ on PlayStation® Vita
Sony’s announced that its PlayStation® Vita handheld will be able to be used to play all PS4™ games remotely, so if you don’t have access to a television when you want to game it’s not a problem. Your games will simply get streamed from the PlayStation® 4 to the Vita, where the device’s awesome OLED screen will display them with remarkable detail.

5. PS4™ Plays PS1™, PS2™ and PS3™ Games!
You’ll be able to play games from every previous PlayStation® on the PlayStation® 4, but not by popping in discs. Instead, the PS4™ will let you stream older games over the Internet, meaning they won’t even take up any space on the system’s built-in hard drive.

6. Free Demos – for Everything
No longer will you need to rent games or download huge files in order to try out a new title you’re interested in. Sony has revealed that every game for PS4™ will have a demo version you’ll be able to access online with one press of a button, which will be instantly playable for a period of time. What’s more, when you buy games online, you’ll be able to play them right away, while waiting for the whole thing to download.

Creating the Next PlayStation® 4 Blockbuster
While it may be bleeding-edge technology, the games on the way for the PlayStation® 4 are being made with most of the same tools used by game creators to build titles for the previous generation of titles. This includes the industry-standard Maya®, which is used by leading developers the world over to design their next big game heroes and bring them to life.

You can get a head-start on making the next generation of games by attending one of Digital Media Academy’s game design camps for teens, ready to start learning Maya? Try a 3D Modeling course aimed at getting you up and running in the world of Maya®. PlayStation® 4 is removing limits on game maker’s imaginations, and DMA can help you unleash yours.