The next generation of gaming is going to be here very soon. We all know it. Though neither Microsoft nor Sony have officially announced their latest-and-greatest consoles, it has become common knowledge that they are in development. There are an incredible number of rumors floating around the internet, and some of them are backed by a lot of supporting evidence, but what can we truly expect from the next generation?

What’s in a name?

One of the longest-running rumors is what we’ll be calling the next big consoles from Sony and Microsoft, “Orbis” and “Durango” respectively as sources continue to use these names when talking about them. Many believe that these are the official names for each console, but it should be noted that they are often referred to as code-names, implying that they are simply used during development. While it is possible that Microsoft will come up with something far better than “Xbox 720” (hopefully), it is unlikely that Sony will abandon “PlayStation 4” as the official name. After years of building the PlayStation brand, using something as obscure as “Orbis” is likely to cause confusion among consumers.

Goodbye Used Video Game Sales

This is, perhaps, the most-talked about subject when discussing the future of video games. Used video game sales have been blamed for the decline of the gaming industry and the cause of several developers being put out of business. But in reality, it is what has kept the industry alive. However, many claim that Microsoft and Sony are looking to limit the use of software to only one console, much in the way that PC games use serial codes to discourage piracy. Recent news suggests that Sony has even patented technology to do so, but claims that just because they have the technology, they may not end up using it.

More Power… Maybe

Most gamers feel that the next-generation of gaming is ushered in by new hardware that vastly improves upon old hardware, both in functionality and power. This is one of the reasons that the Nintendo Wii U has received such mixed reviews among gamers, as it doesn’t surpass the consoles we have now, it simply matches them. However, what the Wii U lacks in advanced technology it makes up for in innovation, which may end up being a similar situation with both Microsoft and Sony this time around. Many are expecting huge breakthroughs in graphics and processing capabilities, and while we might see a small improvement, both companies have made comments that they are focusing on gameplay rather than graphics. A recent announcement by Sony stated that the PS4’s main selling point will be “new playing options, not improved hardware specs,” and Microsoft has been working on perfecting their Illumiroom technology, which could become one of the main attractions to the new Xbox.

Sony has one big advantage over Microsoft, however, in that it is rumored that the PlayStation 4 will be able to display video content in the new 4K resolution. While there are currently no “Ultra HD” 4K televisions available to consumers at this time, the new technology is approaching quickly, and several industry analysts are expecting Sony to once again be responsible for bringing a new format into homes. The company was solely responsible for the rise of the Blu-Ray disc format, as the PlayStation 3 not only uses the format for its games, but for quite some time it was the most affordable Blu-Ray player on the market.

New Controllers for Sony

While Microsoft is unlikely to change the design of their Xbox controller, Sony has expressed their interest in redesigning their own. Rumors have suggested that the PlayStation 4 will feature a controller very similar to the Vita, with a touch screen featured in the center. If the rumors are correct, it would be very similar to Nintendo’s GamePad controller for the Wii U, and it may allow users to pair up their Vita system with the console for seamless play. All of this is strictly rumor, however, and an official announcement from Sony has not yet been made.

The Cost of Gaming

One big concern is the price of these future consoles, which many expect to be quite expensive. So far, there has been no official comments from Microsoft or Sony on what we can expect. According to several Japanese retailers, however, the price for the PS4 is set at 40,000 Yen, which is just over $400 USD. Several reports claim that Microsoft will sell their console at a similar price in order to compete with Sony with both companies planning to release the consoles this fall.

Ultimately, there are a lot of rumors surrounding the next generation of gaming. We’re sure to see some improvements in hardware, but gamers may want to expect more change when it comes to actual gameplay functions. Unfortunately, it may still be awhile before we hear any official news on Microsoft and Sony’s plans for the future, but gamers are anxiously awaiting Sony’s big announcement that is set for February 20th which could be the unveiling of the PS4.

ScienceFiction will have more updates as they come.