Our Eight Bits – PlaySpeculation 4

What's going on here?
The PS4 is almost (probably) upon us! Before we find out the truth I asked the Eight and a Half Bit crew to put together their expectations for the new console. With less than 24 hours until the reveal let’s get into what we are expecting and/or hoping to see.

Full text after the jump.

Retro a-go-go

Paul: Backwards compatibility!  …through Gaikai

We’re going to see full support for Sony’s legacy systems! They won’t be putting dedicated hardware inside the PS4 and driving up manufacturing costs or emulating the older systems though. Sony will support older titles through Gaikai’s streaming technology that they acquired in July 2012. Today we have even seen domains registered for something called Playstation Cloud which my speculatatron tells me is defiantly connected.

Probability: 95%

I see red

Ben: The new PS4 will be a non-standard colour

I predict a glossy off-white-silver-grey type colour. Or possibly banana yellow. Consoles had quite a sterile colour scheme last generation, likely so they better fitted into most people’s living room colour schemes. However, being innovators of the visible spectrum, Sony will likely decide to shake things up a bit.

Probability: 64%

The future

James: Focus on Digital Distribution

All games will have a same day release in retail and on the PlayStation store, with a shift away from physical media. The PS Vita begrudgingly accepts cartridges, but not the primary distribution method by any means, this trend will follow to the PS4. All retail games will come with Keys that will be locked to your account, steam style.

Probability: 70%

Rat hat!

Paul: PSN+ game subscription service

There’s been a gradual shift towards games as a service rather than a product and Sony’s PSN+ service has been a strong step in this direction. Along with access to PS2, PS3, PSX games via Gakai streaming I’m expecting to see new games added to an upgraded version of PSN+. Perhaps they’ll call it PSN++? I already have the perfect slogan “It’s doubleplusgood”.

Probability: 65%

Banana phone

Ben: The new controller will have a dumb name that everyone will talk about, possibly the “Pootroller”

All indications are that the new PS4 controller will have a few new features, which may prompt Sony to move away from the “Dualshock” branding, which is not really a reference to that much of an impressive feature anymore. However, console designers have proven not to be very adept at naming things. Hence, it is quite likely the new controller’s name will be quite horrible.

Probability: 70%

I miss cd caddies

James: Full backwards compatibility with PSN psONE games, no compatibility with PS3 discs

Emulation will be fine, but the architectural differences will mean your PS3 games won’t run on your PS4. The library of PS3 games sitting next to your TV will be useless.

Probability: 70%

Playspeculationp3

Paul: Camera option included as standard

We’ve already seen the prototype for the PS4 controller and if we’re right about what we’re seeing it will have some form of move functionality built in. This will still need a camera to fully utilise though so in order to encourage development of titles that take advantage of this control scheme I’m betting Sony will make a camera part of the basic SKU. It also will allow pictures of my genitals to be more easily messaged to James.

Probability: 60%

Planetside poo AMIRITE?

Ben: Planetside 2 will be pre-installed on all consoles

This just makes good business sense. Sony have in reach a fps that was very well received on PC. It seems to me that the next big fps will be a Planetside/Battlefield type game, with bigger maps and more team-focused objective-based gameplay. Games such as Call of Duty, with their smaller maps and more confined, short-range fighting will still be popular. But if Sony throws out Planetside 2 to everyone, with its functional free-to-play system and effective monetisation in the background, it could result in the PS4 getting an immediate chunk of this market.

Probability: 7%

Let the sky fall

James:The Cloud based computing “Gaikai” will be used for playing your older titles

The sony answer to be backwards compatibility will be to use cloud based computing. There won’t be any trade-in plan for your existing games, you’ll have to repurchase titles you want to play again. It will be available for Japan at launch, NA and EU to follow, and AU sometime… maybe.

Probability: 40%

Playspeculationp4

Paul: The Last Guardian will be showcased as a PS4 launch title

It’s been a long time coming.  Please? Just release it?

Probability: Snowball’s chance in hell

Games games everywhere

Ben: There will be seven launch titles, including the new Call of Duty, a new Ridge Racer, Grand Theft Auto V, Infamous 3, Rayman Legends, a game by Naughty Dog, and Fifa 14

I am almost certain there will be at least one title available at launch. Seven seems a possible number. It is hard to pick what those games will be exactly, but that list seems plausible.

Probability: 52%

It's a Sony

James: The new controller will have built in Move functionality, and won’t vary too much from the current design

Move will come standard with all PS4, and will use a light on the controller instead of the wand. The wand will still be supported for some games, but won’t gain any real marker penetration. A camera will come standard with all PS4 units.

Probability: 80%

Playspeculationp5

Paul: Automatic and background updating

How many times this last generation have we sat down to play a game when… oh we need a firmware update? Fine. An hour later we get to load our game to find out it has a mandatory patch.  I’ve spent entire evenings doing nothing but updating my PS3 and not playing anything.  The firmware release schedule especially became a running joke and Sony knows it.  Firmware updates and patches aren’t going anywhere but they will definitely be made less painful

Probability: 70%

HDM-Why

Ben: The PS4 will not ship with a HDMI cable as standard

There is an old saying in the console development world, “consoles sell consoles, but only fools include cables”. It makes a lot of sense, when you think about it. But don’t. Just be comforted by the certainty that your local games dealer will be selling a pack that includes a console, a game, an extra controller and a third-party HDMI cable. The third-party making the cable could be someone like Logitech, but will more likely be someone like “Scorpio” or “Rad Gamer Cheese”.

Probability: 85%

Master Race

James: It’ll be as powerful as top-range PCs, but not much more, and better cross platform ports

Using off-the-shelf PC hardware means we won’t see any great differences between a high-end PC and the PS4. It also means cross platform titles (PS4/720/PC) will be better for everyone.

Probability: 75%
Stack em high

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