Synchronise your watches: the future of PlayStation is being announced tomorrow at 10am AEDT.
As Sony prepares to challenge Nintendo's Wii U with a next generation console, online communities are ablaze with speculation as to how the fourth PlayStation will revolutionise gaming.
While nothing has been confirmed by Sony, here's what we've heard in the lead-up to the future of gaming.
Gaming consoles tend to have a codename either during development or when they are first announced. The Wii was originally revealed as the "Revolution" and the Xbox 360 was once "Xenon".
Sony's next console is believed to be codenamed "Orbis", but that probably won't be its final name. "PlayStation 4" seems like the obvious choice. However, online reports speculate Sony may ditch the numbering system. We'll have to wait and see, but the name we hear tomorrow might not be the console's final title.
As you would expect, the next generation of consoles will be considerably more powerful than their predecessors. Games should look better than ever before.
Technology giant AMD is believed to behind the main processors (the CPU and GPU if you're familiar with the innards of a PC). Multiple sources have suggested the next PlayStation will have more powerful graphics than the next Xbox. The PS3 has similar advantages over the Xbox 360, but the popularity of shared games across the two platforms has forced fairly similar visual performances.
Now for some techno-babble.
We believe the PS4 will be powered by AMD's Jaguar CPU, an eight-core 1.6GHz processor, and include 4GB of RAM. It's designed to be energy efficient and should be fairly quiet. However, the drawback is it's not as powerful as it could be by 2013 standards, but that's what cutting-edge PCs are for.
Digital downloads are the future, but Sony won't drop physical discs just yet. The next PlayStation will almost definitely continue to use Sony's Blu-ray format — although Blu-ray discs have advanced with increased capacity since the PS3 launched in 2007.
It will also have a large hard drive and games will be available to purchase digitally or on disc.
Up in the clouds!
Apple and Spotify have brought the concept of cloud computing to the masses for saving documents and music online to access them on any device. The idea for the future of games is more or less the same.
Sony recently acquired cloud gaming provider Gaikai, suggesting we might not need to wait for hefty downloads to finish to play digital copies of games on the new PlayStation.
A new controller
The PlayStation's iconic DualShock controller was first released in Japan in 1997. Since then, Sony hasn't changed the design. Reports suggest the new PlayStation's controller will be similar, but with the inclusion of a touch-pad.
Kotaku reports that the new console will also be able to be controlled using a smartphone or tablet. You will be able to buy games or chat with online friends while away from your console.Leaked: Is this a prototype of the new PlayStation's controller? Image: Destructoid
If you think your full HD TV displays the perfect image, think again. Sony has been pioneering an "Ultra HD" resolution with early models of new 4K TVs already available in Japan for a steep price.
The new TVs aren't expected to become standard for several years — mainly because there is no content in 4K so it would be like watching a VHS on your 50" Full HD TV — but Sony is likely to incorporate it into its new PlayStation, even if not straight away.
Blu-ray emerged the victor against HD-DVD for numerous reasons and the PlayStation 3 doubling as a Blu-ray player was a key factor. Sony could hope the same happens again to convince consumers to upgrade to a 4K TV sooner.
Are second hand games a thing of the past?
Rumours suggest Sony is moving to kill second hand game sales because publishers don't make any money from them. It began on PS3 with online pass: to play games online, you must enter a code. If it's already been used, you'll need to spend $10 or $20 to buy a new one.
However, blocking used games entirely is risky business. It doesn't account for borrowing from friends or sharing between siblings.
How much will it cost?
The most expensive version of the PlayStation 3 cost $999.95 when it launched in Australia in 2007. It included a 60GB HDD and an unbelievably expensive chip that allowed it to play PS2 games. Without the chip and a 40GB HDD, it cost $699.95.
Speculation suggests there will be two models priced at $US429 ($415) and $US529 ($511) in the US. A price is unlikely to be revealed until later in the year.
When's it out?
The big question, but one we won't know for sure until Sony confirms an Australian release date. Kotaku cites a "reliable source" and says it will be released in the US in November 2013. However, the PlayStation 3 was released in the US in November 2006, but didn't make it to Australia until March 2007.
The big announcement
Sony's "future of PlayStation" event will take place in New York at 10am AEDT on February 21.
The full event will be live streamed on GamesFIX!