Feb 3rd, 2013

PS4Sony is rumored to reveal the PlayStation 4 in under three weeks, on February 20, and the rumors are starting to build up. We’ve heard everything from 8-core AMD CPU (which turned out to be a hoax), to a new controller (which was also a hoax), to a block on used games. It’s hard to know what kind of console Sony is making — will it be an expensive powerhouse like the PS3, or will Sony follow Nintendo and the Wii U and make something simpler and cheaper?

PlayStation 4 processor and GPU

There’s two options here: go all out and make an expensive, powerful console, or scale back and focus on cost and efficiency. While the PlayStation 4 will no doubt be much more powerful than the PS3, the jump in raw horsepower might not be as great as the jump from PS2 to PS3.

It will also be interesting to see if Sony sticks with the Cell architecture or adopts something new. With all the time, money, and effort spent developing and optimizing the Cell CPU, and all the hard work developers have put into it, we would be surprised if Sony abandoned the Cell. At this point, the best thing both from a performance and price point would be to simply improve on the Cell. Shifting to a new architecture would be unreasonable. Same thing goes for the GPU, which will likely be made by NVIDIA again. [Editor’s notes: IGN speculates that the PS4 will have an AMD x64 CPU and AMD Southern Islands GPU with over 8GB of RAM. Rumors are based on developer kits with are not the same as consumer systems.] PREDICTION: SONY STICKS WITH CELL AND NVIDIA FOR THE PLAYSTATION 4. BUT GREATLY IMPROVES PERFORMANCE.

PlayStation Network

PlayStation 4Sony initially lagged behind Microsoft when it came to a fully fledged online service. However, they quickly caught up, and PlayStation Network is thriving these days. We expect Sony to expand on its offerings, continuing to offer full-game downloads on day one. In fact, PlayStation Network will be much more important for the PS4 than it has ever been for the PS3. PREDICTION: PLAYSTATION NETWORK BECOMES THE GO-TO WAY OF GETTING GAMES

PlayStation 4 controller

The PlayStation controller has seen little change since its introduction almost 20 years ago. The shape has remained relatively the same and the button layout unchanged. It works and there’s no reason to change it. Analog sticks, vibration, and SIXAXIS motion implementation were inevitable additions. However, Sony could include some improved motion controls and perhaps a new feature or two. But other than that, if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it. [Editor’s notes: There have been rumors of a possible touch pad front and center on a new DualShock 4.] PREDICTION: PS4 CONTROLLER RETAINS SAME SHAPE AND FUNCTIONALITY WITH LITTLE TO NO CHANGES.

PlayStation 4 price

The launch price for the PS3 was catastrophic: the base model 20GB retailed at $500 with a beefed up 60GB for $600, and that was back in 2006. With today’s economy adjusted for inflation, no way would a $500 console sell to anyone but hardcore fans. The PlayStation 4 price will have to be very close to current PS3 prices. And games won’t be going any higher than the $60 they retail now. [Editor’s notes: Many game companies, including Crysis dev Crytek, have stated quite publicly that the free-to-play model is in their future.] PREDICTION: PLAYSTATION 4 STARTS AT $350, GAMES STAY AT $60

PlayStation 4 launch lineup

This is a tricky one. Launch games have always been extremely important for a new console, after all, that’s what it’s all about. Sony knows this and will likely offer a wide variety of games in order to satisfy as many potential buyers as possible. What kind of games could we see launching with the PlayStation 4 later this year? Jack and Daxter 4, Uncharted 4, a new Resistance game, and one game we’d love to see: Killzone 4. [Editor’s note: A new Syphon Filter or Getaway game has been rumored for some time. Though Insomiac have mentioned they were done with Resistance, but Sony may have a new dev could pick up where they left off.] PREDICTION: LAUNCH GAMES INCLUDE UNCHARTED 4 AND JACK AND DAXTER 4

That’s what we expect from the PlayStation 4. We’ll know a lot more when Sony unveils the console on February 20 at 6pm and we’ll learn even more at E3 2013. In the meantime, check out the official PlayStation 4 teaser Sony released a few days ago and tell us what your PS4 predictions are in the comments section below.