PS4 - Hardware, Graphics, Release Date and Games Speculation

Here's what we know so far about the PS4 and what we speculate will be incoming...

by on 30th Jan, 2013

While Sony has yet to confirm or deny anything about the PlayStation 4, we all know it's coming...and if all these rumors are to be taken a wee bit seriously, chances are it will hit very, very soon.

In saying that, we have now compiled everything we know about the PS4 or otherwise known as "Orbis." It goes without saying that all these things are speculation and rumors since Sony has yet -- and I doubt ever will -- confirm it before their official announcement. But rest assured, these are things that keep popping back up, which makes us think that there's some fire to all this smoke.

PS4 - Graphics

For the most part, the PS4's graphical capablities are determined by the components the console is housing. Again, there are no definitive evidence out now we can safely say as the real PS4 tech specs, but here's what we know so far:

  • System Memory: 8GB
  • Video Memory: 2.2 GB
  • CPU: 4x Dual-Core AMD64 "Bulldozer" (so, 8x cores)
  • GPU: AMD R10xx
  • Ports: 4x USB 3.0, 2x Ethernet
  • Drive: Blu-Ray
  • HDD: 160GB
  • Audio Output: HDMI & Optical, 2.0, 5.1 & 7.1 channels

In addition to the specifications listed above, it's been rumored that the PS4 will implement some sort of "GPU switching technology" based on a patent. Called "Dynamic Context Switching Between Architecturally Distinct GPUs," the patent states "Graphics processing in a computer graphics apparatus having architecturally dissimilar first and second graphics processing units (GPU) is disclosed. Graphics input is produced in a format having an architecture-neutral display list. One or more instructions in the architecture neutral display list are translated into GPU instructions in an architecture specific format for an active GPU of the first and second GPU."

At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) earlier this month, AMD showed a video where it suggests that the PS4 will support Eyefinity. AMD Eyefinity allows for multiple monitor set-ups. It's currently only available on the PC, but the fact that it was brought up during the console announcement would imply that next-gen consoles are equally capable of displaying visuals across multiple screens.

Finally, for those who like arguing which console is supposedly better, rumor has it that the Xbox 720 has 50% less "raw power" than the PS4. Purportedly, these sources are from the development side who claims that the PS4 "will have a run capability of 1.84 teraflops; while the Xbox 720, codenamed 'Durango,' will only be able to achieve 1.23 teraflops." But the drawback here is that what the PS4 makes up for in raw power, the Xbox 720 has it beat in RAM.

PS4 - Hardware

Not much is know what the actual PS4 will look like, but we do know a few things about its purported hardware set up. According a "senior games studio source," Sony is thinking of ditching its iconic DualShock controller for the upcoming console. Supposedly, this new controller will have biometric sensors, an LCD touch screen and might even use the PlayStation Vita in some capacity.

But before you think we're done with the traditional PlayStation controller, some sources are now claiming that dev kits of the Orbis support Sixaxis and the DualShock 3, so there is a chance that the PS4 will retain some semblance of the familiar controller. Furthermore, additional documentation also reveals that the PS4 will support the PS Move in some capacity. 

While the DualShock and PS Move might still work with the PS4, that doesn't mean it will be its primary controller input. In the same documentation, it states that Sony is working on a new controller for the PS4, but will include the familar four face buttons, two thumbsticks, shoulder triggers but with one major addition: a capacitive touch pad like the one on the back of the PS Vita. Supposedly, it will recognize two-point multi-touch and the entire pad itself can be "clicked" for an additional input method.

In what is obviously the most reviled rumor unearthed so far, Sony patents technology to suppress secondhand games using NFC (near field communication) tech for the PS4. 

Allegedly, this works by supplying an RF tag with each copy of a physical game, which (independent of a net connection) will remember if a game has been tied to a different console or user account. The unit (presumably the PS4), checks this tag first before booting the game.

PS4 - Release Date

Now here's where we might have something to chew on. Out of all the rumors connected with the PS4, the reveal date (not the release date) is the most consistent. Allegedly, Sony will reveal the PS4 to third-party publishers and select retailers this coming February during their Destination PlayStation event. In a separate rumor, it states that both Microsoft and Sony are set to reveal their respective next-gen consoles in March near the Game Developer's Conference (GDC). Even if one is listing February, while the other rumor has it going public a month later, the timeframe is still within reasonable spitting distance of each other, which might make this one more likely than any rumor out there.

So, we might have nailed a reveal window, but what of the actual release date itself? We posted a rumor earlier this month where it detailed the "roadmap" of the PS4. Take a look at it below.

2011 June/July – PC with Win7 64-bit and a “jailbroken” ATI r9 graphics card

2011 Sept/Oct – PC with Win7 64-bit and a “jailbroken” ATI r10 graphics card

2012 Q1 – disclosure to more developers

2012 E3 – potential unveiling window start

2012 Jul – devkits for engineers writing OS

2012 Q3 – first true hardware prototype devkits

2013 E3 – potential unveiling window end

2013 Q4 – launch
 
While a fourth-quarter unveiling this year would coincide with the PS4's reveal next month, keep in mind that Sony CEO Kaz Hirai has gone on record to say that they are letting Microsoft make the first next-gen move. If so, then this must mean that Sony's release date and whatnot are all contingent on Microsoft acting first.

PS4 - PlayStation Network

Of course, any mention of the PS4 won't be complete without knowing what will happen to your PSN accounts. In the same documentation as the controller, it states that Sony is working on moving the place of "ownership" of accounts from the actual console into a system they're calling "multi-user simultaneous logins."  

This means that the PS4 will let more than one person log in at the same time using the same console. It does this by linking controllers to user accounts and as each one syncs with the unit, the new user's account will be logged in. But to make on thing clear: accounts won't be locked or tied into controllers themselves, new users will simply be prompted to sign in to their account once a pad is synced to the console.

Also of note, just today, a fan asked on the Official PlayStation Blog whether he should be concerned on getting PS+ and the premium service not carrying over to the PS4, to which Morgan Haro, community manager for PlayStation had this to say (via GamingBolt):

PS Plus is here to stay, so you can take advantage of the offer with confidence.

Reading between the lines, I'd say Haro means that PlayStation Plus members shouldn't worry about the transition of their PSN PS+ accounts from the PS3 to the PS4.

PS4 - Games

Here's where things get tricky. There has not one PS4 game that has been confirmed so far. The most we have now is Sony Liverpool closing and revealing that they were developing a WipEout title and a stealth game for the PS4. 

But of course, Sony has gone on record to say that yes, games for the PS4 are in development...and this was last year. For now though, the most concrete game we have for the next-gen console is Quantic Dream registering a domain for a PS4 game named "Singularity."

The only silver lining we have here is that even if Sony and other studios have kept mum on their PS4 projects, do remember that Square Enix did reveal their Agni's Philosophy tech demo. Now, if I was a betting man, I'd take a chance that Agni's Philosophy is what we can expect from a PS4 game developed by Square Enix. I might even go as far to say that it might be an early look at what the PS4's first Final Fantasy game might look like.

That concludes our lengthy speculative look at Sony's upcoming next-gen console. Needless to say, these are all based on educated speculations and should not be taken as facts...at least not yet.

Are you liking what you've read about the PS4 so far -- even if they're just speculations? Or are there a ton more areas that Sony needs to address to be back on top for the next-generation of consoles?

(Headline image is a concept render from DeviantArt user scadbeezie and not an actual PS4 unit)

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