Official release date for Sony Playstation 4 is November 15th 2013.
- PS4 Specs -
Single-chip custom processor
CPU: x86-64 AMD "Jaguar", 8 cores
GPU: 1.84 TFLOPS, AMD next-generation Radeon based graphics engine
Hard Disk Drive:
Optical Drive (read only):
Super-Speed USB (USB 3.0) AUX
Ethernet (10Base-T, 100BASE-TX, 1000BASE-T)
IEEE 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth 2.1 (EDR)
Digital Output (Optical)
Backwards Compatibility of the PS4 explained
I. Sources With Direct Sony Quotations on the Subject
II. What Do These Terms Mean?
0. BC: Backwards compatibility. The ability to run older games, essentially, when used in terms of a video game console.
1. Native support: This means that the system has the actual hardware and software of the older system, or at least something quite similar to those in the older system. The system's hardware then runs the game directly. This generally provides the best compatibility.
2. Emulation: This means mimicking the hardware and software of the older system through pure software means. In other words, the underlying hardware of the older hardware is quite different, but the new system presents an interface to the game like the older system, then translates the game's code to something the new hardware can understand. This tends to be flawed in a lot of ways but can provide close to perfect compatibility.
3. Streaming: This means the user will enter his input through his new hardware. The hardware sends the input to a server. The server then runs the game with the input and game's code. The server then sends the video and audio output of the game as a stream to the user's hardware. The user's system has no ability to run the older game's code at all. Game compatibility will depend on how the server is running the game.
III. What Type of BC Is Currently in Use?
PS3 disk on PS3: native
PS3 PSN game on PS3: native
PS2 disk on PS3: none (native or partial emulation for older models)
PS2 PSN game (PS2 Classics) on PS3: emulation
PS2 HD Collections on PS3: native (these are recoded to be PS3 games, essentially)
PS1 disk on PS3: emulation
PS1 PSN game (PSOne Classics) on PS3: emulation
PS1 PSN (PSOne Classics) game on PSP: emulation
PSP PSN game on PSV: emulation
PS1 PSN (PSOne Classics) game on PSV: emulation
IV. Why Aren't All BC Native or Emulated?
Native BC requires at least similar hardware architecture and software libraries. A new system may wish to change to a new architecture because the old architecture is flawed.
In the case of PS4, Sony wanted to change to x86 because developers found the architecture of the PS3 to be too difficult to develop for and thus did not want to spend the effort, resulting in either inferior optimization and/or much of the hardware being unused.
Even when the architecture remains in the same category, it is possible that the newer revision of the architecture does not support all of the functions of the older one. In this case, BC requires additional software solutions, but it's generally easier, because you don't need to provide for everything. You can see this in how PSP handles PS1 games.
A system can simply include the older hardware and software into the new system. However, including the older hardware will increase the cost of the new system, especially if the older hardware is obsolete and has to be specially ordered. It will also force different designs that accommodate the additional circuits and heat.
In general, when architectures are very different, the new hardware needs to be several times the power of the old hardware to emulate the old. This is why PS3 emulation is almost impossible. It's also difficult to code well when the old architecture is complex. This is why PS2 emulation is unlikely. PS1 is more realistic because it's weak and simple, but it still needs to be coded.
V. What Kind of Architecture Do PS Systems Use?
PS1: MIPS R3000
PS2: proprietary, based on MIPS
PS3: proprietary, based on PPC
PSP: MIPS R4000
PSV: ARM Cortex-A9
VI. What Kind of BC Does PS4 Offer?
Emulation: Unknown for PS1. Unlikely for PS3 and PS2.
Stream: Planned for PS1, PS2, and PS3
VII. What Does This Mean for My Current PSN Purchases?
PS3 titles will not be playable until the stream service comes online.
PS2 titles may be playable before the stream service comes online, but it's unlikely.
No information on PS1 titles.
Q: Will my PSN titles work when the stream service comes online?
A: Not the version you downloaded, because the stream service runs the game on the server side.
Q: Will the titles I bought on PSN be transferred to the stream service?
A: We don't know yet. It is possible to do so, because Sony has a record of who bought what on PSN, but how Sony implements the transfer is not known.
In the best case, your current PSN purchases will be available on the stream service for free. In the worst case, you will have to buy it again for full price. There are many options in between, such as a one time free transfer but losing the PSN purchase; a one time paid transfer; the option to buy it on stream for a reduced price; etc.
Q: Will the PS4 recognize and authenticate my physical disks and let me stream the title for free?
A: We don't know yet. It may be possible for the PS4 to distinguish between officially pressed and copied disks and thus authenticate the disks, but Sony will not necessarily implement it.
PS4 User Interface:
*Note* Specs are subject to change