The PlayStation 4, now expected to be revealed in New York on the 20th of February, will feature deeply integrated social gaming features, according to the Wall Street Journal. The big reveal should beat Microsoft to the punch, unless the Redmond giant can pull together a similarly grandiose press conference in less than three weeks.
“In a nod to the changes afoot in the industry,” says the WSJ, referring to the widespread take up of smartphone gaming and social networking, “Sony is planning to incorporate more social gaming aspects into the new machine. Also, while hardware improvements were a key focus of past console upgrades, Sony is more focused this time on the changes in how users interact with the machine.”
Previous rumours suggested the new PS4 controller has a touch pad and a ‘share’ button. That button may be used to push updates to Facebook and Twitter, for example, or within Sony’s newly discovered but still unknown social network BigFest.
The paper also claims that Sony considered removing the optical drive, but added it back in due to slow and unreliable download speeds. The PS4 is highly likely to feature Gaikai functionality in some capacity, presumably via a subscription-based backwards compatibility system (think PlayStation Plus) and the ability to instantly stream game demos.
The 20th isn’t far away, let’s hope Sony’s ‘future’ show lives up to already lofty expectations.