independent

Thursday 17 April 2014

Sony PlayStation 4: what to expect

GAMING industry luminaries, journalists and analysts are converging on New York, where Sony will tonight announce the next big thing for its PlayStation brand.

It's most likely that Sony will announce the successor to the PlayStation 3, which is now more than seven years old. There's no word on what the new console might be called but I don't think we'd be going out on a limb in calling it the PlayStation 4, at least for now.

An announcement is considered likely because of leaks from inside the industry, which have included pictures purporting to show the new controller and claims that Microsoft is preparing to launch a new Xbox, as well as the fact that seven years is a long time between hardware upgrades. The gap between PlayStations 1 and 2 was six years, as was the gap between 2 and 3.

There remains a possibility that Sony has gathered the gaming world so that it can show them a new PlayStation Vita or an upgrade to the PlayStation Network, but it does seem unlikely.

However, we shouldn't expect too much detail. Sources suggest that this event will do little more than announce plans to make the PlayStation 4. The new controller will probably make an appearance and there's a good chance that we will hear about some launch titles. We probably won't see the console itself, though.

The companies making the launch titles will be using a 'dev kit' which, if leaked photos are any guide, looks a little like a large desktop PC. Sony might not have a finished PlayStation 4 to show off. Certainly, the absence of any leaked photos of the console, suggest that manufacturing hasn't yet begun. Once these devices go into production, someone somewhere usually leaks something.

We're also unlikely to be told the price or the release date. The price might not be determined until Microsoft shows its hand later this year. New consoles are typically sold at break-even or at a loss - with money being made on games - but Sony could wait to see what the competition will do before setting a price.

Most analysts expect the PlayStation 4 to be released in the autumn. The PS3 was first announced 18 months before launch (and two-and-a-half years before the UK launch) but Sony is not thought to have that kind of time to play with now. The precise date, however, will almost certainly be determined later in the year.

- Shane Richmond, Telegraph.co.uk

Press Association

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