Sony is going to hold an event on February 20, and the consensus among gamers is that the company will be unveiling its next-gen console. This seems like as good a time as any to take a look at what we’ll be getting, or what we think we’ll be getting.
The announcement was teased through a video that Sony had released recently asking fans to get ready for the “future of PlayStation”. The teaser itself came as a shock as earlier reports stated that Sony would be playing the waiting game again, just like it did with the PS3. According to the report, Sony would wait till Microsoft unveiled its own console before showing off its own.
Then again, it was the same report that hinted to the company not unveiling the next PlayStation, saying that Sony boss Kazuo Hirai had mentioned that the PS3 is set to have a ten year life cycle. It can be safely assumed that he meant it in the same way that the PS2 had a 12-year life cycle, and stayed in production long after the PlayStation 3 was launched—only recently shutting down manufacturing of the classic console.
A lot of PS4 concepts seem to incorporate some amount of glass in the design
The DualShock controller is iconic for the PlayStation, but there are some hints that Sony may decide to go for a new controller design. Earlier, a developer had let it slip that Sony is experimenting heavily with the design of its next-gen console. The developer even mentioned that the company has experimented with adding an LCD touchscreen or and biometric sensors on the grip.
A different source repeated the information, mentioning that the company is "trying to emulate the same user interface philosophies as the PS Vita", which features a prominent touchscreen. This may lead to tighter integration between the Vita and Sony's next-gen console. The source also mentioned that the console—dubbed the Orbis in development circles—will be revealed in a matter of weeks.
If the PS4 controller does end up having a touchscreen, parallels could easily be drawn between it and Nintendo's Wii U. It would also create an interesting environment for developers, where games are easier to port between the Wii U and the PS4. This could also lead to Microsoft retaliating with its own touchscreen peripheral for the Xbox 720.
Going by the devkits that developers had gotten back in 2012, it seems that the PS4—referred to during development as the Orbis—will run on AMD-based chips. It is said to be based on the AMD A10 APU series chip.
The system may also go for a new interface. If the touchscreen does make it to the system, Sony could opt for a Vita-like interface based on icons, rather than the current XMB UI. Some developers have also said that the interface will be more fluid and intuitive, and will let you do things like buying something from the online store without having to exit the game.
Back in June 2012, legendary game developer John Carmack had voiced his opinion on the next-gen consoles. He compared the current PC hardware and compared it to the consoles and he said that PCs were some 10 times as powerful as the consoles. There wasn’t any kind of performance limitation as such. He said that developers and designers could do a decent job at showing it off on the current PC hardware and even the current consoles. He wasn’t at all excited about the next generation of gaming consoles and he added that you could do all that you can do today, but with the quality turned up.
He also spoke of Sony and Microsoft and how they’d fight with each other by offering more and more powerful hardware, offering gigaflops and teraflops of performance. He said, all of this wasn’t going to matter. He said, someone like Nintendo was able to outsell the other consoles by bringing a unique gaming experience with the Wii. Nintendo’s Wii, in comparison to the Xbox360 and the PlayStation 3 had a fraction of the performance.
All we can do is wait for Sony’s February 20 event and see if the console can revive Sony’s falling console sales.