5 things to expect from the Sony PlayStation 4

The PS4 is poised for launch – so what can we look forward to from Sony’s next console?

Sony spent the princely sum of US$380 acquiring cloud gaming service Gaikai, so it’d be pretty surprising if game streaming didn’t come to the console. Cloud gaming works by basically having all the processing work done on a remote server and streaming the video to you (obviously a fast broadband connection is a must if you want to avoid controller lag). While it might not make sense for newer games, it could be a nifty way for the PS4 to support older games from the PS3, PS2 and PS1 eras without having to include the extra technology required for emulation. Of course, this means you’re probably going to have to pay to play old games you’ve already bought, and some might consider that a wee bit cheeky...

Cloud gaming

Sony has stuck with the DualShock controller design for all the PlayStation models thus far, and we don’t see that changing too much when it comes to the PS4: you can expect to see two analogue sticks, four main buttons, a bunch of shoulder buttons and a d-pad. But there’s strong evidence to suggest that there’s going to be one intriguing new addition to this tried and tested line-up: touch control. Leaked shots, apparently of a prototype controller, show a flat, smooth area above the analogue sticks; this is likely a touch pad, which will offer new ways to control games – and crucially, move around an on-screen pointer, which is hair-tearingly frustrating on the PS3.

Much like the PS3 propelled the HD video format Blu-ray into many people’s homes (without them knowing all that much about it), it seems highly likely that the PS4 will support the ultra HD 4K format, both for games and video; if nothing more, it’s a way for Sony to encourage the public to go out and buy and 4K television. With these tellies currently priced at oligarch-only levels, though, it’s more about laying groundwork for the future than adding something the average person will be using by this Christmas.

A new touch-sensitive controller

No, PS Move isn’t any kind of real answer to the controller-free Kinect, and with Microsoft all but certain to step up with some kind of “Kinect 2.0” for the Xbox 720, Sony needs to do much better with whatever kind of grandmother-friendly motion controller it has created for the PS4. According to the latest rumour, there’ll be a twin-camera motion-tracker bundled with the console, equipped with two 720p sensors and video calling capabilities and giving you the option to login into your PS4 via facial recognition.

Should Sony reveal the price of the PS4 at the launch (and with the release date likely to be months away, the company may well remain tight-lipped on this matter), but we’re definitely expecting a cheaper price tag than the £425 that was slapped on the PS3 at launch. Something in the £300 to £350 bracket would be more appropriate.

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