PS4 round-up: next-gen in 2013?

PS4/whatever moniker Sony’s next-generation console will eventually go by remains shrouded in secrecy, but the bric-a-brac of facts, rumours and speculation surrounding it point in one direction. While you can’t pin all your hopes on playing Uncharted 4 in 4k resolution with a biometric controller before the end of 2013, it is possible to outline what to expect from next-gen in terms of graphics, games, tech and controls – and what it means for the games you play.

The bottom line? Games are going to look a lot better. Star Wars 1313 is already being tipped as a ‘cross-gen’ title, appearing on PS3 and next-gen consoles. Developer LucasArts made a point of thanking high-end PC graphics card specialists Nvidia during its E3 debut, implying Star Wars 1313 requires some serious hardware to work.

Sony’s next console will be based on PC architecture, claims US games site Kotaku, citing a high-profile ‘leak’ from March 2012. If the rumoured specifications are true, our development sources suggest Star Wars 1313 will run “easily” – citing  a leap in performance up to somewhere between five and ten times that of PS3. The machine is also tipped to use AMD’s quad-core APU (accelerated processing unit), codenamed ‘Liverpool’ – not to be confused with an entry from Brendan Rodgers’ tactical dossier – claimed TG Daily in June 2012. Its cited 3.2GHz speed isn’t lightning-fast by current PC standards, but would be twinned with a Radeon HD 7970 to improve performance, reports claim.

So far, so confusing – but the really interesting bit is the volume of RAM. PS3 has only 512MB of internal RAM memory, split into 256MB chunks. Xbox 360 has a unified 512MB RAM; it’s this difference that many pinned as responsible for Skyrim’s lag on PS3. Sony’s next console will have 2 to 4GB RAM, claimed reports in June, with a monstrous 8 to 16GB cited in a later story from news site VG24/7 in November, allegedly based on development kits.

At minimum, Sony’s next console has four times the memory of PS3 – at best, a staggering 32 times. In short, that’s a lot more space to store mega-resolution graphic textures that would – theoretically – eliminate lag and loading pauses. Great news for open-world games such as Skyrim and GTA 5, then. When we saw Square Enix’s beautiful Luminous Engine demo at E3, all its developers would reveal was that it was running on a high-end PC with a “lot of RAM”.