PlayStation 4 buzz begins as Sony teases February event

Can the future of console gaming finally be here? No, I’m not talking about the lackluster performance of Nintendo’s Wii U, but Sony’s mystery PlayStation event scheduled for Wednesday February 20 at 6 p.m. ET. It’s not clear what Sony has planned, but in less than three weeks, Sony will unveil something PlayStation related. “See the future,” says the tag line in a teaser video posted to the company’s official PlayStation blog late Thursday.

The video reveals absolutely nothing about what Sony might have planned showing only a Tron-inspired rendering of the PlayStation controller symbols. But a scarcity of information in the video, hasn’t stopped most fans and critics from speculating that Sony is gearing up to introduce its next-generation PlayStation console. “The beast is coming,” declared one PlayStation fan on YouTube.

Sony’s event announcement comes a little earlier than expected, based on recent rumors. The magazine Game Informer in mid-January reported that both Microsoft and Sony had “Apple-style press conferences” planned for late March to introduce their next-generation consoles, dubbed Xbox 720 and PlayStation Orbis.

It’s not clear what’s in store for Orbis, also known as PS4, but the latest early console builds seeded to developers include 8GB RAM, 2.2GB video memory, a 4 x dual-core AMD64 “Bulldozer” processor, 4 x USB 3.0, 2 x Ethernet, Blu-ray drive, 160GB storage, and HDMI out, according to Kotaku.

Even if Sony introduces the next PlayStation on February 20, it’s not clear when the new console would hit store shelves. Both Microsoft and Sony are expected to announce their initial game lineups and features for the new consoles during E3 in June. And most video game watchers expect the two new consoles to debut towards the end of the year in time for the holiday season.

But there are some concerns about the prospects for future gaming consoles as newer gaming hardware fails to gain popularity. Nintendo recently slashed sales expectations for the Wii U and its handheld 3DS. And Sony Chief Kazuo Hirai said PlayStation Vita sales are on “the low end of what we expected,” according to The Wall Street Journal.

To improve the appeal of its gaming console, Microsoft is continually adding more entertainment options to the Xbox 360 such as Web browsing, a new interactive Xbox-to-mobile device app called Xbox SmartGlass, as well as premium movie and sports streaming. The software giant is also offering cellphone carrier-style subsidized models of the Xbox 360 along with a two-year commitment to Xbox Live. The goal is to turn the 360 from a gaming console into a complete living room entertainment center. Sony is moving in a similar direction with PlayStation.

PlayStation fans can check out Sony’s teaser video below, and if you’d like to receive official e-mail announcements about the upcoming PlayStation announcement, you can sign-up on Sony’s Website.

See the future :

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