Yesterday Sony announced an event for February 20. The teaser trailer for the announcement featured iconic PlayStation imagery, floating 3D renderings of the DualShock's square, circle, triangle and "X" buttons. Social media referred to the event as "Meeting 2013" with language like "See the future" "Be the first to know." and the hashtag "#playstation2013". Needless to say, Sony is being intentionally vague about the purpose of the event.
As was likely Sony's intent, the internet is abuzz with rumors and speculation. For the typical gamer it's probably difficult to sift through all the hearsay and separate the rumors from reality. Luckily, that's my forte. Here's Neoseeker's rumor roundup for Sony's PlayStation Meeting 2013 and the impending announcement of the PlayStation 4.
Let's start off with the big one. Is Sony going to announce their follow-up console to the PlayStation 3 at the event?
- Wall Street Journal (subscriber only) - According to the Wall Street Journal, Sony is in fact planning to reveal its next-gen gaming console at the February 20 event. "People familiar with the matter," have confirmed the announcement with the Wall Street Journal. At first, this may seem like a dubious claim, but the outlet is well-known for having reliable sources.
- Polygon - Polygon is also reporting that sources close to the situation have confirmed that Sony's next-gen hardware will be revealed during the PlayStation meeting, stating that the information was made available to them prior to the release of yesterday's teaser video.
Generally speaking, most online outlets have moved on past the point of whether or not Sony's next-gen console will be announced and started talking talking about more specific details. It was kind enough of the Wall Street Journal and Polygon to stop, take a deep breath and say, "Well, yeah. Duh. Of course it's going to be announced."
Earlier this months reports broke that Sony would be abandoning the previous design of the PlayStation's controller in favor of a modernized device. Said to take influence from portable devices and the PlayStation Vita details on the new controller have remained mysterious, until new rumors have begun to sprout overnight.
- CVG - The initial report on the redesign of the PlayStation controller came from CVG. They quoted a source stating that Sony was, "trying to emulate the same user interface philosophies as the PS Vita."
- Kotaku - Last week Kotaku reported that the new controller, labeled the Orbis Development tool behind closed doors, would retain many of the aspects of the DualShock we all know and love -- four face buttons, two thumb sticks, shoulder triggers. However, there would be one key addition, a touch pad similar to that on the back of the PS Vita. The pad would recognize "two-point multi-touch" and also be clickable. Other small details include improved tilt sensitivity, vibration and an RGB LED. Also noted was the possibility of a biometric sensor, but that had not been confirmed.
- Edge - Here are the latest and greatest rumors on PlayStation's next-gen controller. Edge's sources say the controller is essentially the same size as the DualShock on the PlayStation 3, but instead of a "Start" and "Select" button there is a touch pad like Kotaku mentioned. Different, however, is the addition of a "Share" button, which would allow players to take screenshots, or begin recording up to 15 minutes of footage and upload it online. This recording apparently has no effect on processing power, according to Edge's sources.
Fans of the PlayStation DualShock controller should be pleased to hear that Sony isn't apparently planning to deviate from the standard form. Instead, they'll be adding modern functionality and features to improve the controllers performance.
Also, keep in mind this is simply the standard next-gen console controller that would come in the box, as opposed to the rumored Move controller upgrade.
While many gamers are likely rather surprised that the next PlayStation is even being announced, the latest rumors and discussion on the hardware's launch are all targeting 2013. There's virtually not talk about the console being pushed into 2014, except in the case where a European launch is delayed.
- Edge, Polygon, Wall Street Journal - These three outlets, referenced earlier in the article, have each said their sources claim that Sony's next-gen hardware will release later this year,in the Christmas/holiday season.
Not really much else to say here. If you're willing to listen to a bit of personal analysis, I'd say you can expect Sony's (and Microsoft's for that matter) new console to be released after September at the earlier. A more likely release window would of course be the weeks prior to Black Friday in November.
Yes, even the specifications of Sony's next-gen console seem to have been leaked. Oof, okay. I'll just cut to the chase here. Everyone seems to agree that the next PlayStation will be slightly stronger in performance than the next Xbox. Everything, and I mean everything, can be changed this earlier in development. That's just what folk are saying.
I won't copy the full text from any of these sources, as that would be too long. Here's the basic idea from each outlet:
- Edge - 4GB GDDR5 RAM currently, but will likely get upgraded to 8GB to compete with the next Xbox. "Eight-core AMD CPU clocked at 1.6GHz" with "AMD’s ‘R10XX’ GPU architecture, alongside the so-called ‘Liverpool’ system-on-chip." Architecture much more friendly than the PS3's for development, and developers love it.
- Wall Street Journal - Nothing new specifically, though they also confirm the AMD CPU. Of note, however, is that Sony had considered removing its optical disc drive, but changed its mind (and that Microsoft made a similar decision).
- Kotaku - "4x Dual-Core AMD64 "Bulldozer" (so, 8x cores)", 8GB system memory, 2.2GB video memory, AMD R10xx GPU, four USB 2.0 outlets, two ethernet ports, BluRay player, 160GB hard drive. These are just the specs for the developer kit, which means the final products would likely have a larger hard drive, only a single ethernet port, and some other small changes.
Early speculation on the console's power have stated it would be like running a PC that ran Battlefield 3 at high settings. Naturally, developers have a talent for really juicing up console performance, so who knows what sort of products they'll eventually come out with.
There's the really big areas of rumors, but there are a number of less reliable smaller rumors worth considering, too. Here's the lightening round!
- Move Controller Upgrade - Sony is potentially considering upgrading the Move controller for the next console's launch. The new controller would be much more customizable, improve communication with the PlayStation Eye, and let you turn into a Super Saiyin.
- Sony BigFest - Sony considering implementing a new social hub, improving on the fundamentals of Home, but with influence from services like Xbox Live and the Wii U's WaraWara plaza.
- PlayStation Eye - With Microsoft working on a Kinect 2.0, Sony couldn't just sit idly by, right? Edge reports that Sony is working on an improved version of the peripheral that will have better connectivity with the Move. As to whether it will come packaged with new console or not...
- Gaikai - No big rumors here, but how Sony will implement Gaikai's game streaming service into their console is yet to be determined.
- Multiple Account - Sony figuring out ways to have multiple accounts per console, moving away from the idea of one account maintaining "ownership" of a console. As each controller is plugged in, an account would be asked to log in.
- No Backwards Compatability - Rumor is still that the next PlayStation will not have backwards compatibility with the PlayStation 3, but there are murmurs that Sony is exploring a digital solution to this problem...
- Launch titles! ... more on this soon...
If you've noticed a rumor or some new information that we've missed, please, please, please, leave a comment and we'll happily update the post with it. As you may have noticed, this article started out as a rumor roundup, but ended up more of a summary of things that are almost certain at this point. We basically refer to them as rumors only because things can change between now and Feb. 20, and the Fall console launch after that.
Welcome to next- gen, everyone.