Let's Play the PlayStation 4 Expectations Game

Sony is set to unveil the first new PlayStation console in seven years at an event this evening, in hopes of catching up to Microsoft and Nintendo.

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Sony is set to unveil the first new PlayStation console in seven years at an event this evening, in hopes of catching up to Microsoft and Nintendo. The PlayStation 3, which has sold an estimated 77 million consoles to date, never lived up to the runaway success of its predecessor PS2, which posted sales of 150 million. And without any major updates since its launch in 2006, besides the whole Wii-inspired motion control trend, Sony is facing big expectations to turn out an entirely nex-generation device. What that will look like, exactly, is not that clear. But, thanks to rumorers we have some idea.

The Social Controller

Just like all gadgets of the future, social is the big life-saving buzzword for the PlayStation, too. Leaked prototype photos of the controller, which gaming blog Kotaku has confirmed as real, have what the blogs believe are "social" and "share" buttons:

Although Kotaku warned that this is just a prototype, yesterday The Wall Street Journal's sources confirmed social capabilities in the console, with sources saying that the new PlayStation will allow players to share "achievements" and footage on Facebook and Twitter. Here's another view:

Physically, the most notable change is the light blue touch pad in the middle. One WSJ report suggests that the controller might have a touch-screen, but it's more likely a pad.

Welcome to the Cloud

Here's another fun Internet future word that has also infected the video game business. Not only can people buy video games, but they will also be able to stream them, sources told The Wall Street Journal. That could mean you could pick up a game and play it from anywhere and anything, suggests The Verge's Sam Byford:

Right now, gamers can play against friends on console using a handheld device, but only when the games have been built explicitly with that in mind, and aren't too graphically intensive for a handheld to run. With Gaikai, this could become a standard feature: you could theoretically play the exact same game on any system, because neither would be running on the actual hardware in your living room.

If people are no longer shelling out money for discs or downloads, it may present a business model problem for the gaming world. It's unclear how Sony would charge for streaming games. CNET suggests that only older titles would be available to stream.

Kotaku's sources also say that Sony will also allow users to control their home console with their cell-phones, although it doesn't sound like you'll use them for playing. "You'll be able to use a mobile device to chat with your PS4 friends or buy games which are then automatically downloaded to your machine," Jason Schreier writes.

New, Better Insides

Of course, the console will have upgraded technology, too. The Sony will switch to Advanced Micro Devices chips, a shift away from the Cell chip, sources told WSJ. Other rumorers suggest the that AMD processor will be 8 core and run at 1.6GHz.

Will There Be Games?

As much as all these "next generation" updates will bring fans, exclusive games sell consoles, as CNET's Jeff Bakalar explained. Right now, it's unclear what will run on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 4 only. Byford mentions a few titles that will run on all consoles, including  Watch DogsMetal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes, and DestinyIt's possible The Last Guardian, from the maker of co and Shadow of Colossus will make its way to PS4.

Price and Release Date

Although Sony will likely show off its console tonight, it's not likely to go on sale until next fall, sources tell Kotaku, around the same time when Microsoft will unveil its new Xbox update. The game-maker probably won't announce price either, but the rumorers have it at $429.99 and $529.99  for two different models.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.