The rest of the next-gen consoles are coming. No, neither Sony nor Microsoft has confirmed the existence of their successors to the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, but this is the worst kept secret in gaming. Nintendo has the Wii U out in full force (well, kinda), Valve has set the Internet on fire by revealing its Steam Box intentions, Sony has given the tease of all next-gen teases with its promise to show “the future of PlayStation” on February 20, and various developers have already teased working with Microsoft’s next-gen units.
It’s going to happen. But to be honest, that’s pretty much the only thing we can say about these new systems with any semblance of certainty. For now, the rest of the so-called “PS4” and “Xbox 720” news can only be considered rumor.
The problem with that, though, is that there has been a metric ton of future console rumors “leaked” over the past few months. TechnologyGuide has dove into the muddy waters of the next-gen rumor mill once before, but many new juicy unconfirmed details have been dropped since then. So many, in fact, that it can be tough to keep track of them all — unless they were all rounded up in one place.
So let’s do that. Here’s a quick recap of all things we think we know, but can’t say for certain, about the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox 720.
A Friendly Reminder
But before the rumors start filing in, let’s make it clear that absolutely none of the following reports are 100% true. As previously mentioned, neither Sony nor Microsoft have confirmed the existence of their consoles, and that has to be at least somewhat respected. So from here on out, take every bit of info about these supposed systems — even the names “PlayStation 4” and “Xbox 720” — with an appropriately-sized grain of salt.
Alright, now that that’s out of the way, let the speculation begin.
(Note: TG will be using the names “PS4” and “Xbox 720” here just for simplicity’s sake.)
It seems like a given that Sony will continue their longstanding tradition and simply name the next PlayStation the \”PlayStation 4,\” but it\’s still possible that the company could be looking to shake things up after the PS3 brought up the rear for the majority of this current console generation. The common codename that\’s come up for the next PlayStation is \”Orbis,\” but a recent report from SemiAccurate says that the system is now being referred to as \”Thebes.\”
The name of the next Xbox, meanwhile, is a little less obvious. It\’s largely gone by the codename \”Durango,\” but other reports have termed it everything from \”Xbox Infinity\” to \”Kryptos\” to the \”Loop\” to simply \”Xbox.\” \”Xbox 720\” has been the common guess for the new title, but it\’s not like the Xbox 360 name was ever an obvious choice when it was revealed all those years ago. Nobody can know for sure right yet.
Players will probably just have to wait before they can know the official names to these things, but don\’t doubt their significance: Nintendo has confused many a casual gamer by calling its new console the Wii U — some believe it\’s just an extension of the original Wii, not a new console — so Sony and Microsoft will want to avoid similar mistakes.
Sony’s aforementioned “the future of PlayStation” teaser will most likely result in the first official reveal of the new PlayStation this month, but an official release window is much less clear. Various reports have guessed that the possible PlayStation 4 will come this holiday season, probably around November. That makes sense, considering that the holidays is where the money is, and that the last consoles all released around that same time too.
The next Xbox, on the other hand, could be first be shown at a couple times. Lead Xbox spokesman Larry “Major Nelson” Hryb posted a cryptic “Countdown to E3 2013” clock on his website a short while back, with the caption simply saying “And it’s on…”. Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean that Microsoft is targeting E3 as its official reveal date; but now that Sony is likely to show off its console this month, the Xbox makers could stand to receive the most buzz and attention this summer by showing off the new Xbox on the grand E3 stage.
And yet, the gaming industry is more often than not a “me too” affair. If Sony does show off the PlayStation 4 soon, would Microsoft really allow its arch rival to keep all the next-gen attention for itself for another 4 months? That’s not clear, and as such various reports have concluded that Microsoft will hold its own event sometime soon to make an official reveal. Game Informer, for one, has reported that the Xbox 720 will be revealed at an Apple-style event this March.
Like the PlayStation 4 speculation, various reports believe that the new Xbox will officially be hitting stores sometime this holiday. Again, that would make sense from both a business and a historical perspective.
As Sony knows all too well, pricing for these new consoles will be key. Sony was infamously burned by its decision to initially price the PlayStation 3 as high as $600, so it will likely want to focus on (relative) affordability this time out.
Multiple rumors and reports have suggested that it will do just that. GamesIndustry.biz has talked to analysts that claim that the PlayStation 4 will cost between $350-400, while Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun says it’ll cost around ¥40,000, which would come to a little over $400. In general, just about every report about the PS4 has suggested that Sony understands the importance of a reasonable cost of entry, which should comfort all any Sony fanboys on a tight budget.
Pricing speculation for the Xbox 720 is a little more mixed. That same GamesIndustry report says that the next Xbox will also retail in the $350-400 range, which would put it right around the same price as the $399 initial cost of the Xbox 360 in 2005. Again, competitors in this business do not deviate too much from one another often; so if either Sony and Microsoft goes the “affordable” route, then the other will likely go the same way.
But other speculation from industry analysts like Michael Pachter has said that the Xbox could go follow a smartphone-like model, one that has a low initial price point but is tied to periodic payments. Microsoft has already toyed with this with its $99 Xbox that comes with higher monthly payments to Xbox Live, so it’s possible that such a plan could be carried over to the Xbox 720 as well. Possible, but far from definite, as that would be a fairly radical departure from the norm.
Without getting too technical, the general consensus that seems to come out of every next-gen report is that the PlayStation 4 and Xbox 720 won’t represent a giant leap in technical power. It’ll be a leap, no doubt, but it may not be quite as strong as the one that occurred last generation.
Multiple reports have suggested that Sony is working with an AMD APU (basically, a combined central processor and graphics processor), with Kotaku claiming that the current PS4 developer kit sports an eight-core AMD CPU and IGN reporting that the system’s processor will go the quad-core route. It’s important to note, however, that AMD has denied any relationship with Sony when it comes to new console hardware.
According to VG24/7, the PlayStation 4 will also have a 50% raw computational power advantage over the Xbox 720, but also reports that the next Xbox may offset that by having twice as much RAM (8 GB for Xbox, 4 GB for PS4). Microsoft’s next console is also said to have an eight-core processor based on existing Intel chips and a GPU based on ATI’s current Southern Islands chips (or based on an AMD GPU, according to IGN).
Both systems are widely reported to support Blu-ray discs, which would be a first for Microsoft, and all the usual HDMI, USB and Ethernet ports. The Xbox 720 is expected to have a widely upgraded Kinect motion control system integrated directly into it, while the PlayStation 4 is expected to fully support 4K resolution playback (which Sony is in love with) and feature a boosted, smartphone-compatible version of its PS Eye peripheral.
Older reports have also suggested that the Xbox 720 won’t support a disc drive (which is unlikely) while recent patents have hinted at the new Xbox having TV-like features like DVR support (slightly more likely).
Both systems will more than likely have upgraded user interfaces too, with VG24/7 saying that the PS4’s will allow users to shop the PS Store seamlessly after pausing a game, and a former Microsoft executive telling IGN that the Xbox 720’s UI will be based on Windows 8.
The PlayStation 4 is also widely expected to integrate Gaikai’s cloud infrastructure technology into its system in some way, although the extent of that is not clear.
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