Guesswork is easy. “I don’t think there’ll be a touch screen on the new controller,” I said back on the 3rd of January. “There might be a touchable surface, populated with the same little icons that the Vita’s rear touch pad is.” That now appears to be exactly the case: a Vita-esque touch pad right in the centre of the controller. Why? We’ll find out in just two days. Two days.
I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited about a hardware reveal. It’s not going to be out in two days, of course, we’re not going to get a price, or even a locked down release date. We’re not going to get a bulletpointed list of games and developers, either – or, at least, we’re not likely too. Wednesday will be all about letting people know Sony are back in business, and that the PS4 is coming.
And that’s more than enough. As long as we can finally put at least two years of constant rumours and speculation to bed, that is.
It’s been fun to watch people guess and predict the future and make ridiculously bold claims that never came to fruition (like this) but hopefully by the middle of the week all this messing around will be over and we can actually start to look forward to the games coming out and what the system will deliver, rather than endless guesswork.
It’s going to be called the PlayStation 4, right? I mean, the Vita took a swerve and every time anyone mentions the number ‘4’ there’s some spurious discussion of what it means in Japanese, but that’s just one way of saying the number and Sony have always used a ‘borrowed’ word for the numeral at the end of PlayStation. Four. 4. It’s going to be called PlayStation 4. And besides, Sony say so.
Will it be the best?
Yes, says Tretton.
Will it be download only? No disks?
Of course not, although that was muted a few times over the last couple of years. I’d imagine the next, next gen will be purely digital downloads, but there’s simply not the infrastructure and speed yet to manage downloading 50 GB+ games – besides, even grabbing the massive patches we’re used to this gen can be a real bind. So, no, the PS4 will play disks.
Yes, there’ll be games. WipEout was apparently cancelled, which is gutting, but Evolution are on the case and are more than likely revving something up for this Wednesday. Quantic Dream are working on PS4 games too (this is the first confirmed one, kinda) but we’re hoping for Killzone 4 to be shown off soon enough. Elsewhere there’s a rack of first and second party titles that could really set the PS4 apart from the rest.
Will it play pre-owned games?
Potentially not. Sony have a great patent in place that – unlike Microsoft’s apparent method of locking out resale of games, doesn’t need the internet. They’d be crazy to implement it wholesale, but I can definitely see them leaving it in as an option, like region locking, for publishers to pick up and use if they want. Yes, it’s stinky, but it’s apparently what the industry wants.
Think big. The PS4 will use something called BigFest (although maybe not at first) as a kind of hub for PS4 gamers to share their content. It’ll be rich with user generated stuff and will act like a combination of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, from our guesswork. Social gaming is important to Sony next gen. There’s highly likely to be a revised UI, too, ditching the XMB in favour of something more vertical.
Probably 2014 in Europe, with the US and Japan getting the console at the end of this year. Our sources point to a ‘holiday 2013’ window, which doesn’t mean a great deal. I’m going on holiday in May, for example, but I don’t expect to come back to a brand new console launch.
How much will it cost?
Nobody knows, and we’re not likely to find out for sure until E3. Sony would be crazy to pin down a price point with Microsoft still to even acknowledge that they’re working on a next gen Xbox. Some say $400, although the Japanese price will no doubt vary. Europe will probably see the highest relative price, of course, but that could be as low as just £300…
It seemed that for about three months all the gaming press could talk about was Teraflops and RAM, two things that won’t matter one iota if the games themselves aren’t up to scratch. Blind, wildly ignorant spec wars creates hits, mind, even if it makes the industry a little bit of a laughing stock to anyone outside of the bubble. More interestingly is chatter of speech recognition and some soul-crushingly bad news for gamers. The context-switching thing sounds cool, though.
Sony bought game-streaming company Gaikai in the middle of last year to much excitement. Does it mean we won’t see a PS4, we asked. Well, no. That was crazy. But it does potentially open up the Vita to lots of cool stuff and might mean a solution to the lack of backwards compatibility on the PS4. If you need to buy a PS4 at all, that is.
Yeah. It looks like the last DualShock but it comes with a touch pad, built-in Move and what could potentially be 3D Sound. The leaks were handy – we now know what it looks like – but don’t worry, Sony are digging the leaks. Probably.
Built into the controller, by all accounts. That little strip at the top will help with positioning and depth, and the PS4 is heavily rumoured to come with a dual camera array in place of the Eye. Think Kinect, but called PlayStation Move.
Surely PlayStation Plus is still relevant?
Yes, for sure. Whether it’s for discounts on the Store (as it is now) or to subsidise the Gaikai streaming we don’t know yet. We can say that Sony are still behind Plus 100% (as they should be) and it’s 99.9% likely your Plus subscriptions (and your PSN name, friends list, Trophies etc) will carry over to PS4 when it releases – just look at the Vita.
And the console itself?
Nobody knows. It’s a secret. Hopefully a secret that’ll stay that way until Wednesday when Sony hopefully roll it out in front of us all. They may well have taken cues from their latest Blu-ray ranges (where the image for this story’s header is from) but that’s all up in the air at the moment. It’ll probably come with a couple of USB 3 ports, boast 4K resolutions – at least for games – and the latest HDMI spec. To be honest I’m impressed the actual console unit hasn’t leaked at all yet – that’s not normally the case for Sony products.
Any clearer? Thought not. All eyes on Wednesday.