Discover the latest Sony Playstation 4 rumours - including release date, price, specs, pictures & games - surrounding Sony’s next-gen console
Update: Analyst claims the PS4 could be released in 2014, a year after the Xbox 720 and two years after Nintendo's Wii U
Since its incarnation in 2006, the Sony Playstation 3 has been the console of choice for gaming nuts – over 50m units have been sold worldwide so far - with its integrated Blu-ray player and a host of other capabilities making it the darling of the games industry.
But while fanboys continue to hype up its credentials, a spate of rumours are pointing to the launch of a next generation PlayStation console, dubbed the PS4 or PlayStation Orbis.
Despite reports of a PS4/Orbis launch being rife since last year, details of the what the console will look like, when it will be out and how much is will cost continue to be shrouded in mystery.
Nonetheless, we’ve scoured the web to paint a picture of what to expect from Sony’s fourth PlayStation.
When is the PS4 out?
Release dates of future consoles are always a hot topic and the launch of the rumoured PS4 is no exception.
When the PlayStation 3 was launched back in 2006, Sony declared the console had a ten-year lifecycle, so it wouldn't be introducing a new console until the PS3's shelf life expired.
The gaming giant was confident the tech inside the PS3 was 'future proof' and this appeared to quash rumours of a PS4 release before 2016.
However, with rumours abound that Microsoft and Nintendo will both be announcing their next-generation consoles - the Xbox 720 and Wii U - later this year, experts believe Sony could may well follow suit.
According to a source speaking to Kotaku, a games blog, a handful of developers have already been given development kits for the new console. The kits are still in beta stage but are likely to be finalised by the end of 2012, according to reports.
This will give the developers time to practice and could possibly mean the console will be ready by Christmas 2013 or by 2014. However, Sony dealt a massive blow to fans eager to see a new console at E3 2012.
Sony CEO Kaz Hirai said: “We are not making any announcements at E3.” He also supported the ten year life span of the console saying that he “Always said a ten year life cycle for PS3, and there is no reason to go away from that."
Update: M2 Research analyst Billy Pidgeon, believes the PS3 will continue to sell well throughout the remainder of 2012, as well as next year, when the price is expected to be reduced to $150.
This could, in theory, help the console overtake the Xbox 360 in terms of global sales, therefore it would make sense for Sony to release its new console the year after, he claims.
What will it be like?
With technology rapidly improving there are no guarantees that the rumoured specification will remain the same.
One source again at Kotaku has leaked some basic information about the specification. The console is rumoured to have an AMD x64 CPU and 28nm AMD Southern Islands graphics power.
This is a massive shock to fans who believe that the device could be much more powerful.
These chips aren’t the most powerful that AMD offers. Could the PS3 be stepping away from offering the best graphics and attempt an innovation drive like the Wii?
Games website IGN believes the console will have AMD's A8-3850 APU and a Radeon HD 7670 GPU.
The console is also likely to have a quad-core processor similar to the one found in the Playstation Vita, but with a 2.9 GHZ processor, according to reports.
Will it have backwards compatibility?
Sony initially offered backwards compatibility for PlayStation and PlayStation 2 games on the PlayStation 3.
This went down well with fans, who could enjoy a vast back catalogue of classic games.
However, once the PS3 Slim was released, backwards compatibility was dropped with Sony citing it was too expensive to keep offering it.
The PS4 is likely not to be backwards compatible on this basis with sources all agreeing that the console will not allow you to play PS3 games.
Sony may offer them to download via the next version of the PlayStation Store, like they have with original PlayStation and PS2 classics.
What will it be called?
Reports have emerged that the PS4 will be called Orbis, which means ring or circle in Latin.
But if you combine it with Vita, the PlayStation handheld, it means the ‘circle of life’.
This could mean that the PS Vita will play a big role in the makeup of the new console.
Will it play used games?
The games industry has been unhappy for a long time about the sale of pre-owned games. The developers get no return on these games; the money raised for them goes directly to the company that sells them.
EA have tried to combat this recently by giving only one code to new games to be played online. This means second hand game buyers have to purchase another code if they wish to play the game online.
Sony might follow a similar tactic and lock games to one particular PlayStation account. If users want to use the game on another account they will have to pay to ‘unlock’ the game for use by another account.
However, it’s unknown yet whether users will be able to get around this by signing in on a different console.
Games site VGLeaks recently published a list of PS4 specs - handed over to them by a source - which, among other things, indicates that the PS3 will be 10x more powerful than the Xbox 720. They are as follows:
* 4 core (2 core pairs) 3.2 GHz AMD x86 (Steamroller)
* aggregate, 10x PS3 PPU performance
* 512 KByte L2 per core pair
* 64 bit pointers
* AMD R10x series GPU @ 800 MHz (Tahiti)
* aggregate 10x RSX performance, 1.84 TFlops
* cheap branching
* 18 compute units, focus on fine grained compute & tessellation
* 2 GByte UMA, pushing for 4 GByte
* 192 GByte/ sec non-coherent access for e.g. GPU
* 12 GByte/ sec coherent access for CPU
* >50% longer memory latency for CPU/ GPU compared to PC!!!
* DXT is lowest bpp texture compression format
* 50 GByte BD drive
* PCAV, between 3.3 and 8x BD, most likely clamped to 6x
* automatic background caching to HDD
* HDD SKU with at least 380 GByte
* downloadable games
* video encoder/ decoder
* audio processing unit, 200 concurrent MP3 streams
* HW zlib decompressor