It's nearly here. After years of speculation and weeks of rumour, tomorrow night we will finally get our first look at Sony's next console.
But what exactly will Sony be telling us tomorrow night? Bear in mind that a PS4 launch could well be as much as nine or ten months away (or longer if we're in for some bad news), so we're unlikely to see every piece of the jigsaw revealed.
But what we're certain to get is more than enough to get the whole industry incredibly excited and our first indication of what form the next generation is going to take.
Here MCV looks at what you're likely to hear and what's likely to be kept under wraps:
- To discover the machine's name. PS4 is the obvious and reasonably likely favourite, but after eschewing the name ‘PSP 2' in favour of PlayStation Vita with its 2012 handheld launch, a more creative name for the new home console is possible. The console's development codename, Orbis, is quite unlikely.
- To see the hardware. Although possibly only in rendered form. Oh, the hours we'll spend analysing the ports and sockets on the machine's rear…
- To see the new controller. Although of course we think we've already seen it. But at the least we should get official confirmation of its new features such as the touch pad, Move sensor and headphone jack and some idea of how it all ties together.
- Some first party games, such as Killzone 4. And who'd bet against an appearance from the likes of Uncharted and even, god forbid, Gran Turismo?
- Some third party titles. It's a guessing game as to what they may be, but with the likes of Watch Dogs and Star Wars 1313 thought to have been shown off in their next-gen form as long ago as E3 2012, you'd think Ubisoft and LucasArts (and others) are gagging to show off their shiny new products.
- Guest appearances from publishers and developers. Plenty of UK publisher execs are travelling to New York tomorrow, and we don't think it's for the airplane food…
- To hear the term Unreal Engine 4. Again, all evidence suggests that Unreal Engine 4 was ready to be one of the big features of E3 2012 until platform holders changed their plans and decided to keep shtum about their next-gen machines. Tomorrow's announcement should open the floodgates.
- Streaming technology. After all, Sony didn't acquire Gaikai for a laugh. Whether or not the streaming tech will provide the backbone to PS4's backwards compatibility remains to be seen.
- Confidence. After the world-conquering success of PS2, Sony has for much of the PS3 era been almost apologetic in its approach. But that's the past. We've not known Sony so confident for years. With Nintendo stumbling and Xbox at a crossroads, Sony sniffs a real opportunity with PS4.
- Surprises. MCV has it on good authority that the internet hasn't unearthed everything the PS4 has to offer just yet…
- To hear anything about the price. An announcement on this will likely not be made until far, far further down the line – probably in part to do with the fact that Sony itself is most likely undecided. The need to balance the books AND price the console attractively is possibly the single biggest quandary Sony faces, and that decision will be made as late as possible. 300 in the UK? We'll have to wait a little while to find out.
- A specific release date. Worst scenario? 2013 for Japan and 2014 for Europe, as has been previously suggested. All we ask for is four little words: Worldwide. Launch. In. 2013.
- Any concrete specs. We may well get some headline figures or some useful marketing speak (50,000,000 times the power of PS3!) but the machine's innards are likely to remain a mystery until the internet gets a hold of it. Or Sony issues a press release and proves us completely wrong.
- The Last Guardian. Because the world simply isn't that nice a place.
- Giant enemy crabs or massive damage.
AND IF YOU'RE LUCKY…
- A new Final Fantasy title. The Agni's Philosophy demo was one of the big talking points of E3 2012, and with it running off architecture said to very closely resemble what we're getting in PS4, the stars do seem to be aligning on this one. Unless you believe Square Enix that it was nothing but a tech demo. BECAUSE WE CERTAINLY DO, HONEST.
- A launch title from Heavy Rain developer Quantic Dream. It probably won't be Beyond: Two Souls, which does indeed look like being a PS3 title. But could we see a game based on the Kara E3 2012 tech demo? The internet seems to think so.
- Grand Theft Auto V? Preferably without a tattoo. Actually, no, what are we saying? We want a GTAV tattoo on Kaz's head.
Sony's PS4 launch event takes place on Wednesday February 20th at 11pm UK time. MCVuk.com will be reporting live from the ground in New York.