PlayStation 4, Xbox 720 Rumor Roundup (UPDATE)

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Neither Sony nor Microsoft made significant changes with their core controllers last generation — that’s become Nintendo’s game — but various reports are suggesting that both the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox 720 will feature some sort of Wii U-esque touchscreen component.

For example, CVG recently cited “a senior games studio source” who said that Sony will tinker with its usual DualShock controller, potentially adding an LCD touchscreen or biometric sensors into the pad. Gaming mag Edge also suggested that there will be a touchscreen integrated into the middle of the next PlayStation controller, one that will be based on the technology of the PlayStation Vita.

\"XboxKotaku, meanwhile, has reported that the controller will feature a special “Share” button that will allow players to…share recordings of their latest in-game happenings through social networking sites and the like. Kotaku also said that the PS4 may let players link their user accounts to their controllers, allowing multiple users to sign in at once on the console. Kotaku’s report further stated that the PS4 will be backwards compatible with older PS3 controllers.

Xbox 720 controller rumors aren’t as fruitful, but Xbox World has claimed that the 720’s controller will have \”an HD screen surrounded by the traditional 360 buttons and sticks.\” The magazine stated that the mid-controller touchscreen would serve as a Smartglass-style display for additional info while playing, as well as a multimedia controller for movies, TV shows, and Internet browsing. Gamespot has also reported that there’s a “strong” chance that the 720 will contain some sort of touchscreen aspect.

Used Games

As TG has explained in the past, 2013 could very well be the year that console makers take definitive steps to kill the used games market. If recent rumors are to be believed, then those steps are about to be taken.

Last month, NeoGAF dug up a Sony-filed patent for technology that has the potential to block people from playing used games on future hardware. The tech would allow game machines to check a game’s RFID tag, and thereby know if said game was being used on a different system or account.

\"PreOf course, a patent like that in no way confirms that Sony will be doing anything to used games with the PS4, and it could very well just be used in the same way that many PS3 games now require an “Online Pass” to be played online. Nevertheless, the fact that Sony is interested in the tech could be telling.

As for Microsoft, Edge this week reported that the Xbox 720 will require a constant Internet connection so that it can activate its physical games through bundled codes over Xbox Live. Edge’s report cited “sources with first-hand experience of Microsoft’s next-generation console,” and said that the codes, once activated, will effectively lock the game to the initial user, thereby blocking any chance it could be sold second-hand. Microsoft responded by the rumor by not responding to the rumor — with the usual “we don’t comment on rumor or speculation” bit — so the report can neither be confirmed nor denied just yet.

The Waiting Game

There has been tons of additional rumors about these future machines over the past few years, especially when it comes to what games will be coming to them. The likes of Watch Dogs, Star Wars 1313, Killzone 4, LittleBigPlanet 3 and many others have all been rumored to arrive on the new systems, but with no next-gen consoles confirmed, no next-gen games have been either. It’s probably safe to expect plenty of rumored studios — Bethesda, EA, Ubisoft, Rare, Guerrilla, Bungie, LucasArts, etc. — to be bringing next-gen games sooner or later, so extensive speculation here is a little bit more pointless than usual. It\’s just a matter of timing.

So let’s end this journalistic nightmare right there. TechnologyGuide will be sure to stay on top of any next-gen news as it occurs, so keep it locked here for any future updates. Until then, there’s one hit title we can all play together: the waiting game.

Update (2/11/13): It\’s a new week, which means that new next-gen console rumors are making the rounds again. Today\’s come courtesy of SuperDaE, though, the same source who supposedly leaked much of the info about the next-gen PlayStation above. Here, he/she claims to have his/her hands on a development kit of the next-gen Xbox, and is said to have console overview \”white papers\” that describe some of the console\’s features for developers. All of the following information was given to Kotaku.

The source didn\’t say anything about that \”constant Internet connection\” rumor above, but did claim that players will be required to always have the next-generation Kinect — which will apparently come with the console — hooked up in order for the new Xbox to even work.

\"XboxThat could be a pain for some if true, but the next Kinect is said to be much more impressive than its predecessor. Up to 6 players can reportedly be tracked at once (today\’s Kinect can only track 2), facial expressions can reportedly be read (which would be impressive), viewing angles are improved, and the whole thing is said to be much more precise than before. The idea here is that the Kinect will always be watching players as they game. Orwellian nightmares aside, it\’ll be interesting to whether or not the supposedly improved tech entices more developers to work the Kinect into their games.

That\’s the big takeaway from today\’s rumors, but the source did leak some other info as well. Kotaku reports that the next Xbox will come with a 500 GB hard drive, and will require games to be installed in order to be played. The PS3 is infamous for doing the same thing — and forcing players to wait through lengthy install processes while doing so — but the next Xbox will supposedly do this much faster than normal, and can even install while the game is being played.

The next-gen Xbox will reportedly be able to simultaneously juggle multiple games and apps as well, similar to the way a smartphone or computer can. So, a player would presumably be able to play one game, pause it, switch over to another game and play that for a bit, then come back and resume the first game right from the same place as before. That\’s something that gaming handhelds can already do, but bringing that multitasking functionality to consoles seems like a natural evolution from where things are now. It also makes this part of the rumors all the more believable.

Speaking of \”natural evolution,\” that\’s how Kotaku terms the next Xbox\’s controller in relation to the current Xbox 360 pad. That would appear to dispel any notion of a touchscreen then. Kotaku\’s source did claim that Microsoft will be boosting the utility of the Xbox Companion app, however, which would mean that players could use their phones and tablets in the way that Nintendo uses the touchscreen built into the Wii U GamePad.

Finally, specs. The source said that the next Xbox will come with an 8-core CPU clocked at 1.6 GHz and a DirectX 11.x GPU clocked at 800 MHz. It is also said to pack 8 GB of RAM, built-in Wi-Fi (something not in the Xbox 360), and a 50 GB optical disc drive that is capable of playing Blu-rays.

Again, TechnologyGuide stresses that readers be skeptical with every rumor contained within this article. That being said, some of these reports do seem feasible. The tech packed in the new Xbox appears to be mighty impressive, but how that will translate to the finished product (and the finished product\’s price) remains to be seen. As always, TG will update this article whenever any new worthwhile next-gen console rumors arise.

Update (2/13/13): Today\’s edition of \”As the Rumor Mill Churns\” comes courtesy of VG24/7, who has been told by its anonymous source that the PS4\’s controller will indeed come with the rumored, possibly Vita-esque touchpad.

VG24/7 reports that the touchpad will come on the front of the controller, shifting the usual location of the Start and Select buttons as a result. The rest of the controller, the source said, will remain largely similar to Sony\’s current DualShock pad. The source did say that Sony has improved the L2 and R2 trigger buttons on the controller, however, which, if true, would satisfy many complaints that have been had over the years.

Finally, VG24/7\’s source also denied speculation of the aforementioned \”Share\” function that would let players, um, share their latest, automatically recorded gameplay with others.

\"PS4Update (2/14/13): More buzz! More excitement! More…ugly-looking controllers? Today\’s big next-gen rumor started over at Destructoid (as far as TG can tell), and showcases what just may be the PlayStation 4\’s controller. It\’s pretty bulky looking, and comes with what appears to be a tweaked d-pad and altered joysticks. It definitely still has a very \”DualShockian\” design, just fatter. And of course, it also has that front-facing touchpad, which was hinted at in yesterday\’s murmurs.

TG is going to guess that this is something out of a developer\’s kit instead of a finished design, but as always, nobody can really know for sure. TG will be in New York next Wednesday when Sony reveals…whatever it is it\’s going to reveal, so be sure to check back as more updates present themselves.

Update (2/14/13): Following up on that last update above, sources have told both IGN and Kotaku that the controller pictured above is indeed a real PlayStation 4 controller. But it may not be \”the\” PlayStation 4 controller, as both sites report the pad as being a prototype that is likely to change between now and the finished release. When exactly this picture was taken is not known at this time.

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