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PlayStation 4: the story so far

The games, the controller, and Sony's uncertain stance on used software.

Sony will deliver its next dollop of PlayStation 4 information tonight, with the tantalising prospect of new games and answers to some big questions.

It is time.

How much will it cost? When will it be released? What will the box look like? Sony was quiet on these matters during its initial PlayStation 4 unveiling in February.

We're likely to hear answers tonight, along with early details of some different bundles and SKUs.

Europe has a history of being the last to recieve Sony hardware and its Worldwide Studios boss Shuhei Yoshida was unable to promise Eurogamer that it would not repeat this with PS4.

But a recent UK newspaper advert suggested the UK would see PlayStation 4 this year.

"This year a new generation will push the boundaries of play and share in moments of wonder," the full page ad boasted. "This year players will become legends. PlayStation 4. Coming 2013."

Used games and always-online

Yoshida previously told Eurogamer that "used games can play on PS4", but such an explanation does not rule out additional complications such as the controversial methods that Microsoft has announced for Xbox One.

Likewise, Sony has discounted the possibility that the PS4 must be always-online to function, but again we still don't know the specifics.

Yoshida told Eurogamer you could "go offline totally" when playing PS4, but even then "you may want to keep it connected".

Microsoft has said that the Xbox One must be able to connect to the internet once every 24 hours - even to play single-player games. This (technically) isn't always-online, so the possibility remains that Sony will implement something similar.

Sony will certainly have been keeping an eye on Microsoft's struggles in this area, and if it was making similar plans it would be easy to imagine the company now trying to keep quiet about it for as long as possible.

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That said, a number of Sony employees responded positively to the #PS4NoDRM online campaign aimed at convincing the company not to restrict the trade in used games. No promises were made, but Sony definitely showed it had heard the call to do different - or rather, continue the current-gen policy of simply being able to go into a shop and trade in one of your purchases.

It would be a very easy PR win, at least, and Sony has been quick to capitalise on the current levels of gamer frustration surrounding the Xbox One's unveiling as an all-singing all-dancing TV-watching hub rather than just a simple gaming box.

"The most important thing we need to do is agree and understand that the PS4 is a great video game console that appeals to video gamers," Sony boss Kaz Hirari explained. "If we miss that part, I don't think we get the initial establishment of the console. That formula has worked for us with all our consoles, including the PS3."

Let's hope Sony sticks with that.

The games

PlayStation 4 games will come in all genres, sizes and prices. We've already had confirmation of free-to-play titles, MMOs and indie releases. And, like Xbox One, every game will be made available for download.

Sony's big-budget PS4 titles include Killzone: Shadow Fall, Driveclub and Infamous: Second Son, along with a new sculpture-based project from LittleBigPlanet studio Media Molecule.

With The Last of Us now out (almost), we may find out what Naughty Dog's other team have been working on since Uncharted 3 - get ready for the return of Nolan North in Uncharted 4.

PlayStation's other big storytelling studio Quantic Dream is likely to quiet on its PlayStation 4 project, however - the PS3-exclusive Beyond: Two Souls is still months from release. The David Cage-led studio began work on its next-gen project this time last year.

A huge list of third-party developers have been confirmed as working on PlayStation 4 titles. Already announced is PlayStation-exclusive content for Bungie's promising online shooter Destiny, plus PS4 versions of this year's biggest blockbusters Colin of Duty: Ghosts from Activision, Battlefield 4 from EA, plus Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag and Watch Dogs from Ubisoft.

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Get your spotting guides out for Sony's terminally-delayed The Last Guardian or Rockstar's PlayStation-exclusive vapourware Agent. We don't expect a glimpse of either.

Flying the flag for indie developers meanwhile are episodic dinosaur adventure Primal Carnage: Genesis, free-to-play FPS Blacklight: Retribution and surreal 2D sandbox title Hohokum.

In terms of backwards compatibility, at least some PlayStation 3 titles will be available to stream on PS4, although Sony has yet to be clear on the price or availability of the games on offer.

Current-gen PSN games and save data can't be transfered.

The console itself

Sony's PS4 PC-like architecture and meaty 8GB RAM have won positive comments from developers, while the console's more comfortable-looking controller includes a number of new features. There's a touch-sensitive panel and easy-access Share button for recording gameplay, while the UI itself will allow you to watch what friends are playing.

Hopefully there's more hardware features to be shown too. We recently heard that PlayStation 4 is capable of playing a game after only downloading the first level and menu. More user-friendly possibilities like this would always be welcome.

Sony has also yet to expand on its promise that PlayStation Plus will serve a "prominent role" on PS4. The service currently offers a generous number of free PS3 and Vita games every month - an expansion of this would certainly be welcome.

So, how much of all this will Sony expand upon tonight? What new gaming gems might the company announce? Join us with a very large cup of coffee as we find out.

Sony's conference will be livestreamed on Eurogamer tonight at 2am UK time, with commentary and analysis from our team on the ground in Los Angeles as well as back here in the UK. Join us!

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