Fresh rumours have popped up about Sony’s next-gen console, and this is one of the more interesting ones we’ve heard. According to Wall Street Journal, Sony may be taking an unconventional approach to backwards compatibility. The report states that the console may be able to stream PS3 games on to the PS4.

This would explain Sony’s acquisition of videogame streaming service Gaikai last year. The cloud-based gaming could potentially be a good method to maintain backwards compatibility, as the next console is said to use an x86 AMD chip that doesn’t work well with the current console architecture.

Backwards compatibility is one of the most important things that a console has on launch, as a console that lacks backwards compatibility may put off early adopters from purchasing it, especially since a console doesn’t have many games for it during its first few months. As Sony has proven with the PlayStation 3, though, companies can get away with slowly phasing backwards compatibility out of their consoles through revisions.

A lot of PS4 concepts seem to incorporate some amount of glass in the design

Hopefully, you won't have just two games to play on your PS4 at launch

Just recently, an image had popped up of an early prototype of the PlayStation 4 controller. Multiple sources had later confirmed that the picture is indeed real. While the middle part of the controller seems to be a touchscreen, the blue part on top of the controller seems more puzzling. It is possible that Sony is integrating the Move controller with its next controller, and the blue part acts like the bulb of the Move. Also interesting is the new design for the analogue sticks. They seem to be rather unconventional when compared to the DualShock 3.

The DualShock controller is iconic for the PlayStation, but there have been some hints that Sony may decide to go for a new controller design. Earlier, a developer had let it slip that Sony is experimenting heavily with the design of its next-gen console. The developer even mentioned that the company has experimented with adding an LCD touchscreen and biometric sensors on the grip.

A different source repeated the information, mentioning that the company is “trying to emulate the same user interface philosophies as the PS Vita”, which features a prominent touchscreen. This may lead to tighter integration between the Vita and Sony's next-gen console. The source also mentioned that the console—dubbed the Orbis in development circles—will be revealed in a matter of weeks.

If the PS4 controller does end up having a touchscreen, parallels could easily be drawn between it and Nintendo's Wii U. It would also create an interesting environment for developers, where games are easier to port between the Wii U and the PS4. This could also lead to Microsoft retaliating with its own touchscreen peripheral for the Xbox 720.

For more information on what to expect, check out our PlayStation 4 rumour round-up.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,