What Sony has in store for the PS4
I'm going to put forward my predictions for what I believe will occur on the 20th since there seems to be a bit of scuttlebutt going about what Sony will actually announce. Here's what I know from a reputable source called Edge that I found.
1. There will be a new redesigned controller for the PS4 with a touchscreen that replaces the start and select buttons. It is also based on the technology of the Vita's rear-touch pad and should be similarly responsive in use.
2. There will also be a share function which will allow screenshots and the most recent 15 minutes of video gameplay which can be edited and shared on the internet with no penalty to processing power according to Edge's source.
3. Possible launch for Japan and the US for Christmas and Europe to get the PS4 in the first quarter of 2014.
4. The PS4's architecture has been warmly received by prospective developers since Sony has decided to go along the lines of a much more stream-lined PC approach rather than the Cell system. The recent tech specs that have been leaked are also apparently true and that it's "slightly more powerful" and "very simple to work with" according to Edge's source. Here's a link to the article in question and feel free to share your impressions of it here on this blog.
Now I'm going to reveal what I believe this means to me as a gamer and I will make predictions based on the available data that has been acquired from this article and various other pieces of news/rumours etc.
1. The share function is a game changer.
On the face of it, one would be puzzled at the need for such a function but it's a very good move by Sony. There are moments where I've been playing a game where I find a ridiculous glitch or when I perform incredibly well in a multi-player match or when I die in an ridiculously silly way that I would like to show someone what happened to me. If this share function was to be used to a point where you can update your various social feeds like Facebook/Twitter etc with the videos you've made; that could really tighten up a community and get things swimming quite nicely.
2. The PSN will be free (with ADs)
I base this prediction on the fact that Sony has patented the "Advertisement Scheme for Use with Interactive Content" and would possibly seek to enable it for the PS4. The reason why they would is pretty simple. Their direct competitor Microsoft have created a revenue stream by offering a service that is required to play multiplayer games like Halo 4 and COD (insert number here) for a subscription fee. Sony will most likely jump on this and provide a similar service with PSN+ which will get rid of the ADs and offer free games as an incentive for users to upgrade their membership.
3. There will be no backwards compatibility for the PS4.
I base this on the numerous news stories that I've read that have been speculating on this very topic. It would be wonderful if Sony were to re-introduce backwards compatibility but I just don't see it as viable even with Gaikai. Not to mention the issues in terms of internet bandwidth and latency, there would have to be a clever, cost-effective way for Sony to use the cloud gaming mechanism to allow for gamers with legitimate copies of their PS3 games to be able to gain access to their games since the Cell processor is going to be retired. I honestly don't see how they are going to be able to achieve such an aim without it requiring a significant amount of investment.
4. The Vita will be getting some serious support.
Orbis Vitae translated from Latin means "circle of life". To codename your new upcoming console the "Orbis" and to not expect some sort of functionality to come into play is rather foolhardy. Sony clearly has a strategy for the Vita and I fully expect Sony to announce something of merit to the cross-compatibility of the PS4/Vita or something along those lines. While I am hesitant to even place any sort of conjecture on what they have in store for the Vita, it will be their last stand and Sony must clearly convey to prospective gamers that the Vita is actually worth the investment.
5. Prediction: The graphics/games that will be shown will be first-party releases, something random and Watch Dogs.
I fully expect that they'll come flying out of the gates with trailers of their first-party group. Killzone, Uncharted etc. I also believe that Quantic Dream might have something up their sleeve and will show it off in it's ostentatious glory. Perhaps some "next-gen" games will also be shown off like Watch Dogs or Star Wars 1313 but I'm not sure. It's far more likely that a Metal Gear game makes it's appearance or Planetside 2. Graphically, the differences between PS4 and the 720 will be negligible between multi-format releases, but the first party games will show what the consoles are capable of.
I also doubt that they will announce a price point on the 20th of February. I would like the PS4's price point to at least be affordable but I have my doubts that they can keep the costs down.
That's all I want. An affordable machine that does exactly what it says it will do.