Sony PlayStation 4 facts & rumours
By Matt Chapman, 16 Apr 2013, last updated 5 Sep 2013
Sony - sort of - unveiled the PlayStation 4 at a special event in New York in February 2013, giving players their first taste of what the next-generation of gaming will offer. One thing eager fans didn't see, though, was the console itself. Then, at the E3 trade show on 11th June, we got to see the console itself:
We also learned that the PS4 will cost £349 in the UK - £80 cheaper than the Xbox One - and that there will be no restrictions on second-hand games.
Fact 1: An octo-core processor will handle the next-generation gaming
The PlayStation 4 will pack in a lot of processing power. The main processor is a single-chip custom device created by bundling eight x86-64 AMD Jaguar processors together. On top of that, there's a dedicated next-gen Radeon GPU on board to handle the improved graphics. This AMD Radeon Graphics Core Next engine works at a speed of 1.84-teraflops, while the whole system runs on 8GB of superfast GDDR5 RAM. The PS4 will also have a built-in hard drive, although no sizes have been suggested yet.
Fact 2: The Dualshock 4 controller has been redesigned
Sony's joystick has been modified to include some aesthetic changes and some additional features. The thumb sticks - which are great for moving around very quickly - have been slightly tweaked, as have the shoulder buttons. A front-facing touchpad similar to the one on the PSVita has been added and the triangle, circle, cross and square buttons remain. However, a couple of items are missing compared with the PS3 Dualshock controller. Out go the Start and Select buttons, with their place being taken by the Share and Options buttons. A port for a stereo headset jack is also included.
Fact 3: Blu-Ray discs will still be supported
Despite not being a runaway hit with consumers, Sony won't abandon the Blu-Ray disc format. That's great news if you haven't fully embraced downloads yet, as the PS4's Blu-Ray/DVD drive will continue to be there for your entertainment needs. Naturally, the HDMI connection is also still there to pipe those images to your HD TV, with the option to use the analogue-AV out or have the sound played through a home cinema set-up using a digital optical out.
Fact 4: All the usual connections will be supported
Wireless connections will be handled at speeds matching the IEEE 802.11 standards b, g and n. Those who prefer to get wired up will have the usual Ethernet connection. The PS4 will also allow content to be accessed on thumb drives at USB 3.0 speeds, while Bluetooth 2.1 will allow those controllers to boss the bad guys even if you're sat in the corner of the room.
Fact 5: The camera's video can be shared online
The maximum video resolution will be 1,280 x 800 pixels running at 60fps, which matches up closest to the WXGA resolution of 1,280 x 768. While that is not Full HD (1,920 x 1,080), perhaps that's a good thing as gamers will be able to broadcast while they play in real time via Ustream. Lower resolutions will increase the frame rate, with a 640 x 400 stream running at 120fps and a 320 x 192 video hitting 240fps. The camera will have an 85-degree field-of-view and will pick up sound using a four-channel microphone array. Gamers can also instantly share images and videos of their favourite moments on Facebook.
Fact 6: The PS4 will connect to other Sony kit
The most obvious use of this technology will be the ability to stream PS4 content straight to a PS Vita handheld console - much like Wii U owners can do to the video gamepad that comes as part of that gaming system. The same link is expected to work with other Sony devices such as smartphones and televisions.
Fact 7: Your PlayStation back catalogue will suddenly become worthless
One unusual change is that this will be the first Sony console not to play games from the previous versions of the PlayStation. This seems an odd choice given that gamers were still able to play popular PSOne titles on the PS3. However, Sony plans to launch a streaming service that will eventually stock everything from PSOne classics to PS3 games. This service may be called PlayStation-Cloud, as that website name has been registered by Sony company Gaikai. Whether you'll be able to download games for free if you previously bought a hard copy is unknown.
Rumour 1: The PlayStation 4 will launch before the end of 2013
Shouldn't we be placing this information in the 'Fact' column, you ask? Well, Sony has said the console will be available for the 2013 holiday/Christmas period but given delays with the launch of the PlayStation 3, we remain sceptical. Even so, some online retailers have already started accepting pre-orders. Asda in the UK is charging £20 to reserve a console.
Update (5th Sep 2013): Now fact, the PS4 has a UK launch date of 29 November and will retail at £349 - cheaper than the Xbox One.
Rumour 2: It will sell out immediately
In the US, GameStop president Tony Bartel says his company has already signed up 900,000 people on its 'first-to-know' list. His conclusion is that if there is that much consumer interest in the console at launch, then demand will far outstrip supply.
Rumour 3: PlayStation Move will be beefed up
The PlayStation Move system - which tracks a player's movement in front of the TV - is expected to play a much bigger part in the new console. Since Sony hasn't confirmed exactly how it will be expanded yet we are left to speculate - perhaps we'll all be switching music tracks or surfing the net with a wave of the hand.
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