February 1st – the gaming scene was turned upside down by a small teaser Sony released.
It is widely assumed, that in less than three weeks, on February 20th, Sony will share the first details of their next generation console, the PlayStation 4. Though most of the games will probably be saved for E3, the hype is very high. Here’s my wish list of what I’d like of the hardware for Sony’s next system:
This is a no-brainer, but should still be mentioned. The next PlayStation should be a significant step up in terms of power, making releasing a successor worth the effort. Not only would it enhance the graphics of the games, but it would also give developers more options and thus more creative freedom.
Probability: Very high – If all the rumored specs are any indication, power won’t be an issue.
Easier to program for
The PS3 was apparently quite difficult for developers to program for. The PS4 should fix that. Rumors are that Sony will be using off the shelf hardware. The fact that studios like Kojima Productions and Square Enix have already made new engines that should make development a lot easier, helps as well.
Probability: High – Recent rumors have pointed in this direction, and it seems logical Sony will do what they can to make it happen to prevent inferior multiplatform games in the future.
Sony will probably keep the controllers largely the same, since they are so intertwined with the identity of the PlayStation. But there are some small adjustments that could be made to improve the controller. Most importantly, better secondary shoulder buttons (trigger shape).
Probability: High – With PlayStation 3 Sony tried a completely new controller design, but never went through with it. It’s likely they will keep the DualShock’s basic design, but add some new functions and improvements. Rumors indicate touchpad functionality on the front and the rear.
With the rise of DLC and full digital download games, as well as optional installs for your retail titles, it’s nice to have a large chunk of space on your console that doesn’t run out too quickly.
Probability: Very high – Hard drives have grown larger and cheaper the past few years, so it’s only logical the new consoles will be able to store a lot more data. Hopefully the PlayStation 4 will contain at least 500GB of storage.
Putting Blu-Ray technology in the PS3 gave Sony an edge over the competition in terms of storage space, and gave players a good Blu-Ray movie player at the same time. So I’m very glad they made this decision, but the downside was the slow reading speed of the device. This resulted in the necessity to install many of the games to the HDD, a lengthy process.
Probability: High – Blu-Ray is becoming more and more of a standard, so Sony will keep this format for the next generation. A faster drive would be very welcome, and will most likely be the case.
If you are going to shell out a few hundred dollars and be one of the early adopters of a new piece of technology, it’s always nice if you can rely on some form of stability. Of course, technology comes with problems, and there always will be, but if Sony can keep them at a minimum, that would be greatly appreciated.
Probability: High – Technology will never be infallible, but for console manufacturers a high failure rate is expensive and causes negative publicity. For this reason, it can be assumed Sony will do everything to ensure the new machines will be high quality and reliable.
Backwards compatibility on consoles is always a great thing – being able to keep playing the entire PlayStation 3 library on your PlayStation 4 would be very convenient. PlayStation 2 was backwards compatible with the PlayStation, and the early PlayStation 3 models were compatible with both PlayStation and PlayStation 2, but in later hardware releases the functionality was removed. Hopefully Sony will include it with at least the early models of their new console.
Probability: Somewhat likely – It can be a good selling point, especially around launch, and if PlayStation 4 uses Blu-Ray it shouldn’t be difficult to do from a technical standpoint. The only question is whether Sony will have to keep production costs low – especially if they’re planning to launch a powerful console at a attractive price. This one has a 50/50 chance I’d say.
The excitement for Sony’s incoming announcement is there – now let’s see if they can deliver. In any case, February 20th can’t come soon enough!