Assuming Sony hasn't just been screwing with us for the past few weeks, this is it: today, we'll get our first look at the next PlayStation.
At 6pm EST (10am AEDT), Sony will hold a big event in New York City to announce the highly anticipated PlayStation 4. Kotaku will be in attendance, and we'll be reporting everything that happens as it happens.
But for now, what should expect from the next next-generation? Let's look back at everything we've heard about Sony's next console.
It's codenamed Orbis.
At least internally. Developers and publishers all across the world refer to Sony's new machine by the codename Orbis, a Latin word meaning circle, ring, or orbit. Combine that with Vita — the name of Sony's handheld — and you have Orbis Vita: the circle of life.
Though we don't know what Sony is officially calling the next PlayStation, some have theorised that it might not be called the PlayStation 4, as four is an unlucky number in Japan. So maybe they'll stick with Orbis? It does have a nice ring to it.
Some other suggestions: PlayStation U, Pl4yst4tion, Return Of PlayStation, PlayStation 5, PlayStation: The Next Generation, 2 Play 2 Station, Xbox.
It's probably out this Christmas.
Yesterday we heard from a reliable source that the next PlayStation will be out this November. This matches up with what we've been hearing since last year: a holiday 2013 release for the new machine.
Although a few rumours suggested that the PS4 could be pushed back to early 2014, recent rumours — reported by Kotaku, Edge and the Wall Street Journal, among others — all point to this year.
We probably won't hear every detail today.
Sony would be insane to play all of their cards on a random weekday in February. Expect them to reserve at least a few major details — final release date, pricing, launch lineup — for E3 this June and possibly another big event later in the year.
Maybe history can shed some light on what will be revealed tonight? Check out our full rundown on what Sony announced at past hardware events.
The prototype controllers look like this.
Leaked from various sources, here are photos of the prototype PS4 controller that developers have been playing around with:
We don't know if the final controller will look exactly like the prototype, but it's safe to expect that it will be similar. The middle touchpad — not a touchscreen, but a touchpad — matches up with rumours we've heard and reported. We can't see any "share" button, but...
The console will support sharing in some way.
Orbis documentation seen by Kotaku suggested that the PS4's controller will have a "share" button, and Edge took our reports one step further, saying they've heard that the PS4 will automatically record gameplay so you can share it with all of your Twitter followers or Facebook friends or other denizens of the internet.
While it's possible Sony has changed their plans, it's likely that Sony's next console will allow you to share videos and screenshots of your games in some fashion. Maybe you'll be able to upload video footage directly to YouTube? Maybe you'll be able to watch 12-year-olds call you racial slurs in real time? Anything's possible with PlayStation™!
The console will feature cloud gaming.
Last year, when Sony bought the cloud gaming company Gaikai, everyone assumed that they would incorporate cloud gaming in some fashion. And sure enough, Sony recently registered domains for something called PlayStation Cloud.
So what does all of that mean? One report says you'll be able to stream PS3 games. Likely you'll be able to store save files and downloadable games on the cloud as well.
Some of the games are already announced.
Gamers aren't the only ones twiddling their thumbs and waiting impatiently for Sony and Microsoft to open up about their new consoles — even the people who make games can't seem to hold back. Ubisoft's Watch Dogs stole the show at E3 2012, and last week we showed you a poster that essentially identifies the open-world cyberpunk game as a next-gen title. Maybe we'll see more footage of that game tonight.
Polish developer CD Projekt Red announced The Witcher 3 for a 2014 release on "all high-end platforms" — subtle, right? — and we expect to see some Battlefield 4 tonight as well.
Then of course there's the curious case of The Phantom Pain, the non-game game that stars a man who looks a lot like Solid Snake, and is developed by an enigmatic studio that may have ties to Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima. (It's Metal Gear Solid 5.)
Tonight, the puzzles will finally end. Publishers can stop trying to find sneaky ways to announce their next-gen games. The PS4 is coming.
We're very excited to see what Sony reveals tonight, but it's worth keeping in mind that these shows are always packed full of sizzle reels that might not actually reflect reality. Smoke and mirrors. Still, we're about to enter the next next next next next generation. I say bring it on.