PlayStation 4 will launch before the end of 2013, cost at least $400, and feature Gaikai technology as well as expanded social feature, Japanese newspapers have claimed.
The date and price details come from daily newspaper Asahi Shimbun. According to Gematsu‘s translation, the console is expected to cost more than ¥40,000 – $427.
At launch, the base 20GB model PlayStation 3 was priced at just under ¥50,000, or $534, and retailed at $500 in the US. This suggests the PS4 might be cheaper than its precursor if a similar pattern of conversion is used, but the report does say the ¥40,000 figure is the minimum expected price and the yen and dollar are in a very different relationship at present.
The report also mentioned Sony is scurrying to meet expected demand in the US and Japan, with no mention of Europe; the PlayStation 3′s PAL territory release was delayed for several months by hardware shortages. PAL territory pricing on Sony hardware is generally more expensive, even allowing for conversion.
Meanwhile, in a Nikkei report also translated by Gematsu, the console is said to draw on Gaikai’s cloud infrastructure somehow.
For a number of reasons, it’s unlikely that Sony will offer a full games streaming service, but Gaikai could be used to power demos and trials as well as other media content; prior to its acquisition by Sony, it was one of the few companies in the world with a global server farm of the kind which will be needed if gaming ever goes completely digital.
Nikkei further claims that the PS4 will feature expanded network functions, including a social feature allowing users to exchange opinion while playing. It sounds a little like MiiVerse, and matches rumours of a “share” button, but may refer to cross-title chat – a much requested feature.
The paper agreed with Asahi Shimbun that the new console will arrive by the end of the year, and with many past rumours that it will not utilise the PlayStation 3′s Cell architecture.
A PlayStation Meeting has been called for two weeks from now, and the PS4, codenamed Orbis, is expected to show its face at long last.