Sony preparing for PS4 reveal?
Sony is about to announce the Playstation 4, according to rumours. We can expect to see a big announcement on February 20.
Not a huge amount is known about the new system, but it's been a long time coming; it's been six years since Sony launched the PS3.
Some advance information has leaked from from people in the know who have seen development hardware from the game, although all bets are off until Sony announces the unit officially.
Rumoured features include a controller with a touch pad, and with a 'share' button. That could involve some kind of social sharing, or an interaction with others on the Playstation Network. The system will also probably feature the ability for multiple players to be logged into the Playstation Network at one time via their controllers.
Downsides, if true: The system won't be backwards compatible with PS3 games. That gives people wanting to upgrade the chance to jump ship and head over to another platform, such as the XBox 720, which will compete directly with the PS4 - or perhaps even the PC. We will likely see the XBox 720 this year. I wonder if it will include the kind of futuristic projection technology that Microsoft Research hints at here?
There may also be a feature in the PS4 that requires new games to be registered online, according to gaming blog Kotaku. This means that when sold second-hand, they could be crippled on the new user's console, and a fee could be charged to unlock the full game. On the upside, it gives you the chance to fully download retail games, even those originally purchased on disk. The ultimately goal here would be move away from physical media altogether. Where does that leave retailers like Gamestop and EB Games a few years hence?
It'll be interesting to see just how graphically sophisticated the new games are on this console. It purportedly uses the same AMD graphics unit to be found in many high-end gaming PCs. The PS3 was so powerful that it took developers a long time to really take advantage of its capabilities. Will they be able to exploit the power of the new device more quickly?
While it may well be announced this month, the unit probably won't be available until the Christmas season. That gives you plenty of time to mull the possibility of a new console. Would you buy a PS4?
Danny Bradbury, MSN Tech & Gadgets