PlayStation 4: everything we know so far

The games, the price, the capabilities, the controller.

After months of leaks and industry speculation, Sony will tonight unveil its next generation games machine.

The PlayStation maker has called the world's media to an exclusive pow-wow in New York and we'll report live from the event from 11pm UK time.

To fill the hours until then, we've put together a round-up of everything we've heard so far about the next PlayStation, code-named Orbis. Here's the story so far.

The basics

PlayStation 4 is likely to be released this year, with a November date touted by the most recent report. But doubt has been cast over whether that November date will apply worldwide, or whether Sony will again stagger the system's launch as it did with PlayStation 3 - meaning European gamers may have to wait until 2014.

How much will it cost? Sony is said to be considering a UK price of around 300, according The Times.

"Industry sources and leaked internal documents suggest that Sony is considering pricing the new device at about 300, more than 100 cheaper than the starting cost of its predecessor, the PlayStation 3," the newspaper reported.

PlayStation 3 launched in the UK at 425, a high price that likely damaged some of the console's initial momentum, and something Sony may well look to avoid repeating.

It tallies with a report that PlayStation 4 will cost around $400 in the US (a figure which roughly translates to 270, although Europe usually pays higher).

A report today went into more detail and mentioned two different PlayStation 4 models, provisionally priced $429 (about 277) and $529 (342). Such specifics will likely not be pinned down until nearer the console's release - we probably won't hear the final numbers until E3.

The games

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LittleBigPlanet developer Media Molecule has begun teasing a new title, presumably for PlayStation 4. (A small team at the developer are separately working on papercraft PlayStation Vita platformer Tearaway). It would be difficult to imagine a new Sony platform without support from one of its most talented studios.

Speaking of LittleBigPlanet, the franchise Media Molecule created has seemingly been handed off to another studio. It's not the first time other developers have been given the franchise - other studios previously worked on spin-off titles such as LittleBigPlanet Karting, plus versions for the PSP and Vita. Fully-fledged sequel LittleBigPlanet 3 is apparently in the works at Sumo Digital, the studio which worked on LittleBigPlanet 2's cross-controller pack.

MotorStorm studio Evolution is known to be working on a "AAA first-party exclusive" it has had in the works since 2011, when the studio wrapped development on MotorStorm: Apocalypse. MotorStorm RC game director Paul Rustchynsky previously teased a reveal at tonight's PlayStation event via his Twitter account.

Another likely candidate is Sony's stunning-looking PS3 project The Last Guardian, of which very little has been said in recent months. That changed last week with an unexpected statement from creator Fumito Ueda, who hinted that Sony would announce new details on the project soon.

"I should also mention that details regarding The Last Guardian's release is [sic] solely decided by Sony Computer Entertainment, not myself. Please keep an eye out for their official announcement," Ueda teased. Will the ambitious project now be released on PlayStation 4?

In terms of third-party games there are a number of candidates widely expected to be in development for next-generation platforms - many as cross-platform releases with current consoles. Ubisoft's Watch Dogs, for example, Bungie's Destiny and LucasArts' Star Wars 1313 are fair bets, along with new entries in established franchises such as Battlefield 4 and Rocksteady's Batman series.

The controller

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Perhaps the most solid information we have on PlayStation 4 is of its new controller, photos of which leaked last week and were subsequently verified by Digital Foundry.

The pad features a new touchscreen in place of Start and Select buttons and an in-built PlayStation Move sensor. Other new additions include a headphone jack and redesigned analogue sticks, bumpers and triggers. The version in the photo above is very recent and we'd be surprised to see anything radically different unveiled this evening.

The capabilities

Much of what PlayStation 4 will offer in terms of services remains unknown. A report today suggested Sony plans to introduce an Xbox Live-style subscription service named PlayStation World, where gamers will pay for online multiplayer features such as cross-game chat. This will replace the current PlayStation Plus offering, although it's unclear exactly what else you'll get as a member.

Better Vita compatibility seems a sure-fire bet and an easy way to take on Nintendo's plans for asymmetrical multiplayer. But you may also be able to connect your smartphone to the PS4 - in a similar method to Xbox SmartGlass - to exchange messages and make purchases from the PlayStation Store.

PlayStation 4 will also include streaming technology from Sony-owned Gaikai, with reports suggesting that you'll be able to live-stream gameplay from your friends.

Site domains set up by Gaikai and spotted last night include mention of a service named PlayStation Cloud, rumoured to be the way PS4 offers backwards compatibility with your library of PS3 titles.

PlayStation 4 games are unlikely to be available via streaming however, and will remain on physical Blu-ray media and/or a digital download. It's speculated that this is because services like Gaikai can't reliably deliver anything more than 720p resolution.

One of the biggest questions around the PlayStation 4 and new Xbox is whether Sony or Microsoft will implement a block on pre-owned games. Both companies are known to have researched such a move, although whether either will do so is unclear.

How much of all this will come true? Join us tonight as we find out. Sony's conference will be streamed on Eurogamer at 11pm UK time, with live reports from editor Tom Bramwell, our man on the ground, and the rest of the team back in the UK.

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