Sony's CEO, Kazuo Hirai, said he would let Microsoft "make the first move" when it came to releasing a next-generation game console, according to IGN's Daniel Krupa. But now the official PlayStation blog is teasing viewers with a video entitled "See the Future," with the #PlayStation2013 Twitter hashtag.
Whatever the future is, it's apparently got something to do with Feb. 20, the date mentioned in the video. But when it gets here, what will it be like?
PlayStation2013 probably isn't the actual name
Previous rumors have suggested the next PlayStation console won't be called the PlayStation 4, because the number 4 is associated with death in Japanese culture. If Sony's willing to break with its numbering scheme because of tradition, it may be unlikely to tag the actual new PlayStation console itself with the number 13, which is regarded as unlucky in the United States.
Much more powerful hardware
This one's a given. Unlike in the PC and tablet gaming world, where hardware is regularly updated and improvements tend to be incremental, video game consoles tend to wait years to update before leaping ahead -- if you don't count the two smaller redesigns the PS3 has had over the years while keeping the same performance, anyway, or the introduction of the PlayStation Move controller.
The PlayStation 3's big performance draw was its ability to play games on an HDTV, with an upgrade to graphics realism to match. A report by Kotaku's Luke Plunkett last year suggests that the new PlayStation console may be able to play 3D games (on a 3D HDTV, that is) in 1080p resolution, or regular games in 4096x2160. The latter would basically require a TV as sharp as Apple's Retina Display.
Far fewer games?
The same report, however, suggests that -- as Sony eventually did with the PlayStation 3 -- the "PlayStation 4" may not be able to play any games from the previous generation of consoles.
The PlayStation 3 debuted with the ability to run PlayStation 2 games, but this required it to have both of the PS2's processor chips inside it. This console-within-a-console design helped push the PS3's launch price up to $599, and Sony soon dropped one of the chips before abandoning them completely. Today's PlayStation 3 consoles can only play the handful of PS2 games that have been re-released digitally (and are bought separately) on the PlayStation Network.
No place like Home
If the new PlayStation console can't run PS3 games, that may mean the end of PlayStation Home, Sony's virtual world and social gaming platform in the style of Second Life (but with Facebook-style games). IGN's Andrew Goldfarb notes that Sony recently filed a trademark on "BigFest," however, which it describes as an "online player networking" service in similar terms as PlayStation Home.
Jared Spurbeck is an open-source software enthusiast, who uses an Android phone and an Ubuntu laptop PC. He has been writing about technology and electronics since 2008.
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