The Sony PlayStation 3 battles it out with rivals the Microsoft Xbox 360 and the Nintendo Wii for games console supremacy. The PS3 boasts the most impressive specification of all three units and includes an IBM developed Cell Processor, an advanced form of XDR main memory and an NVIDIA PC-based graphics processor. The consoles replacement is expected to be released to the general public around 2011, so when it arrives what can we expect the PlayStation 4’s specification to look like in comparison with the current PS3? In two of my earlier articles I looked at the PS4’s likely main processor, memory, graphics processor and hard drive specifications. In this, the final article in the series, we’ll be taking a look at the optical media drive, control system and connectivity features.

First we consider the consoles optical drive. Expect the current generations integrated Blu-ray optical drive to remain in place almost unchanged from the present specification. Just like the DVD format which proceeded it, once an optical system has been established there is little change required. As any replacement for Blu-ray is a long way in the future, and would probably not be disk-based anyway, I don’t see any reasons for this element of the console to change. In my opinion Sony will simply use the fact that Blu-ray is an established technology as a cost advantage. The high development costs and the corporations insistence that it be included in the current console from launch is a large factor in the high production costs and lack of profit associated with the PS3.

The remaining features of the PS3, notably the integrated USB 2 ports, Bluetooth wireless controllers, and built in wireless network adaptor I would expect to see carried over to its replacement unchanged unless there are any significant speed related upgrades to the technology. If this is the case then I would expect an upgrade to reflect this. One area of new development I think we might see is the implementation of a new controller design. The current controller gets its fair share of criticism – the Xbox 360 controller is often viewed as far better unit to use, whilst the innovative Nintendo Wii controller has been responsible for that systems resounding sales success. In light of this a re-design of the control system is an almost certainty but with the Bluetooth connectivity maintained..

Sony has so far (as of March 2009) lost money on every PS3 sold despite the consoles relatively high price. This is mostly down to the advanced nature of its hardware, both in terms of development and production costs. I feel that a development of this existing technology is the only way to go to allow Sony to recoup some of the losses experienced in the PS3 program. This is all the more important in today’s fragile economic markets where record breaking sales figures can no longer be guaranteed. PS4 games

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