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2012 Year in Review: PlayStation 4 rumor round-up

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Sony will be bringing a new home console to living rooms everywhere soon enough, but with 2012 coming to a close, it's time to take a look back at the events that have unfolded regarding details and features for the PlayStation 4.

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Back at the end of March, a fairly deep report surfaced discussing some of the specs gamers can expect from the upcoming Sony console.

Specs are an AMD x64 CPU, and an AMD Southern Islands GPU. The GPU is supposedly capable of displaying 4096x2160 resolution, and the system will also reportedly have the ability to display 3D games in full high-definition.

Orbis will supposedly not have backwards capability for playing PS3 or PS2 games on it. As it is disappointing to hear and is still up for debate, the next generation console could also have hardware that prevents people from playing used video games.

Months later during September, a report was released alleging this next PlayStation would be the final one, would also be capable of displaying 4K resolution on a new Sony TV.

They said, "It seems that most companies are pushing for alternatives, which make use of cloud technology and virtually eliminates the need for individuals to purchase self-contained systems.

"This might very well also change the relationship that gamers have with software ownership as well."

The next piece of info they brought up was that the PS4 is going to support 4K resolution, which would mean the resolution we see now on an HDTV would be quadrupled.

According to an article from Consumer Reports, Sony is positioning itself to release a TV that will support up to 3840x2160 resolution. It is called the 84-inch Bravia XBR-84X900.

The report stated, "the XBR-84X900 features a 4K (3840x2160) LCD panel with four times the individual picture elements (pixels) as a standard 1080p HDTV.

"Not surprisingly, the TV is loaded with features, including an edge LED backlight, Sony's top-of-the-line X-Reality Pro video processor, and a 10-driver removable speaker system.

"The TV is also 3D-capable using passive 3D technology, and it includes Sony's full Internet platform, including the Sony Entertainment Network.

"We expect several other manufacturers, including LG and Sony, to make 4K announcements soon."

This particular TV will initially cost upwards of $25,000 and will be available in retailers this November.

Later in October, PlayStation UK managing director Fergal Gara said that it could be a bit difficult to really ramp up on development for the next PlayStation because of the scarcity of financial resources.

"We do have a challenge to manage [the next generation of consoles], particularly in terms of dev studio resources.

"The more platforms you have, and the amount of rich content you have to deliver on all the systems you are supporting clearly puts pressure on decisions made across the studio network, which is something we are battling with," Gara said.

It was only a few weeks later that revealed a new patent from Sony, which showed a new controller presumably for the PlayStation 4 that would have the ability to intuitively heat up and cool down a gamers' hands.

Sony has placed a patent in for a PlayStation Move controller that supposedly heats up and cools down in your hands.

There are apparently heating and cooling bands within the Move controller that increase temperature in accordance with the action happening in the game.

"For example, as the weapon heats up, the controller light may change from a cooler color to a warmer color, such as from blue or green to orange or red. Similarly, when the weapon cools down, the color exhibited may revert to the cooler color," the patent reads.

"A user utilizes a controller to discover the presence of objects that are not visible on screen or otherwise known to the user.

"The user maneuvers the controller about his or her interactive environment, and receives thermal feedback, such as heating or cooling, indicating the presence of an object," the patent reads.

This past summer, Sony purchased the cloud-gaming company, Gaikai, which many believe the acquisition will indeed play into how Sony approaches the next-generation of gaming.

"By harnessing the power of the cloud, and the strength of our engineering talent, Gaikai will help Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) grow their ecosystem, empower developers with new capabilities, dramatically improve the reach of various content and bring breathtaking new entertainment experiences to end-users around the world," Gaikai said.

Gaikai's service will be soon appearing on Digital TV's and tablets, as closed testing of the product will be conducted before the year is over.

"Several closed tests have been run with Gaikai's open platform partners like Samsung in 2012. We will provide more information about Gaikai's pre-acquisition cloud gaming platform, partners and services at a later date," Gaikai said.

The PlayStation 3 has not quite experienced major price drops, and back in the middle of October some industry analysts were discussing how they believe the PS3's price drops and the PS4's debut will correlate.

Mike Hickey of National Capital Alliance said Sony is not in a position to take anymore risks, so most of the resources are probably going to be headed toward the PS4's development.

"They're in a position now where they don't want to take any more losses. We expect there will likely be a PS4 next year, and I think that's where they're putting the majority of their resources.

"Clearly they're not showing willingness to drive velocity with a price cut, but their competitors are. If they cut the price now, they'll just have to cut it again when they announce PS4.

"So maybe they are thinking 'Let's limp this through until the announcement' and then they'll do the next price cut similar to what Nintendo did with Wii in front of Wii U," Hickey said.

The final big spill of information came at the beginning of December when massive amounts of details regarding the PS4 were claimed.

"Sony is near the middle end part of their Project Orbis, their next generation PS4. It will not be called Playstation 4, [as] teams have started to call the final name as Omni. Omni will reflect their new hardware and content delivery philosophy.

"Omni will be 'very capable' of [displaying] modern day graphics compared to a Direct X 11 level of technology like Unreal Engine 4 and Frostbite 2. Compared to Wii U, it is better, but not the biggest leap in the world.

"The key is the Omniviewer, a thin, lite and slick head mounted autosteroptic display that can track the users head and presents a 360 image view with semi transparent AMOLED screens. This can turn any TV into a 3D TV, as well as add extra augmented reality information outside of the TV screen.

"One application from an entertainment perspective seeing movies in 2k, 4k or IMAX resolutions as their original size where you have to move your head to look at the full picture being displayed. [It will also be able to] synch with the Vita.

"The new controllers, whether it’s the Duo-Moves or the Classic DuoShock, will have pulse sensors in the grips for biofeedback gameplay. Plans are a Basic Unit with 160 gigs and just the system with controller at $350-$399 and one with the Omniviewer and a pack-in game for $450-$499. Aims are for a September 2013 launch," the report stated.

Most of this has not been confirmed, but it provides some idea of what the PlayStation 4 could be featuring.

2012 provided a lot of enticing, potential information, but hopefully 2013 will deliver the solid, confirming details everyone is searching for.

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