Predicting The Future Of The PlayStation 4

by Matthew Kato on Mar 22, 2013 at 08:25 AM

Sony's reveal of the PlayStation 4 excited the industry with its visions of next-gen games, the ability to play legacy PlayStation titles, the power of cloud gaming, and more. But will we see all of these features as stated, or are they just empty promises?

Here are a list of some of the PlayStation 4's features as we currently know them, and given the info at hand, I assess how likely it is we'll see them come to fruition as planned.

Old PlayStation Games Offered

Chance of Happening: Low (at least in the way that we'd like)

Sony and its cloud company Gaikai say that they want to offer PS1, PS2, and PS3 games for the PS4 via download. This sounds great, but even when it was announced, Gaikai co-founder David Perry said it as an end goal, and that the PS4's cloud strategy would come in stages.

While we don't doubt that there will be past PlayStation downloadable games available for the PS4, there's no simple switch that will make it happen. I also don't believe the selection will satisfy those who wished the system had disc-based backwards compatibility.

Different Hard Drive Sizes/Multiple Iterations

Chance of Happening: High

It may be annoying to gamers when hardware manufacturers offer different variations of their hardware, but companies seem to like it because it lets them advertise cheaper price points and presumably sell to different consumers. Given Sony's past history with different system configurations – including its love of bundles in general – we don't see this trend changing for the launch of the PS4.

The PS4 Hits Its Holiday Release

Chance of Happening: High

Sony seems to be on track with the PS4 even though it has not shown it to the public apart from the controller and camera. Developers have kits and Sony is loathe to lag behind the release of Microsoft's next console. Thus, I'm confident Sony will do all it can to make sure the PS4 comes out this year.

The PS4 Knows What You Like

Chance of Happening: High. Chance of It Being Correct? Low

One of the bizarre moments of the recent debut of the PlayStation 4 was when Sony thought that the PS4 surfacing ads and content that the system predicted you'll like was cool. When has a website or algorithm really gotten what you like correct? Think of all the bizarre pop-up ads or retail website suggestions you've gotten because you once searched for a cat sweatshirt as a joke. I expect the PS4 to get things similarly wrong.

Read on for more predictions.

The PS4 Will Be $400

Chance of Happening: Medium

Many analysts believe the system will come out in the $400 range, and given its more off-the-shelf internal architecture, this seems doable. The new Eye camera and controller will probably keep the PS4 from being a truly cheap machine, however.

The PS4 Will Play Used Games

Chance of Happening: High

After the recent PS4 unveiling event, a Sony spokesperson told us when asked about the unit playing used games: "...We won't make decisions that damage our relationship with [gamers]." While this would seem to indicate that the PS4 won't lock out used games, there is clearly movement within the industry towards this.

Every PS4 Game Will Feature Remote Play

Chance of Happening: Low

I put this statement in a similar category as Sony's desire for its back catalog of games to be available for the PS4 – it's something that definitely won't happen all at once.

PS4's Specs

Chance of Happening: Medium

Sony has been careful to define the system's specs in a narrow way so far. I believe the processor and 8GB of RAM are set (the latter is particularly important), but there are other details – like the size of the hard drive, number of inputs, etc. – that are still vague. I expect Sony to solidify the specs through summer as production begins. Look to E3 for any spec changes, additions, and subtractions.