Playstation 4 rumors go into overdrive in run-up to Wednesday's Sony event

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It's a good week to be a Sony Playstation fan. This Wednesday evening is the big reveal of...something. It seems a pretty safe bet that it's the Playstation 4 but you don't really know for sure until it happens.

In the meantime, Sony Japan has announced a price cut for the Sony Vita. Both the WiFi and the 3G model will be the same price of 19,980 yen ($215) starting February 28th. That's a drop from 24,980 yen ($269) for the WiFi model, and 29,980 yen ($323) for the 3G. We're hoping that we'll see a similar cut for other regions at Wednesday's announcement. As any Vita owner will tell you, it's a really nice piece of hardware that so far has been held back by a lack of developer support, which in turn isn't there because of a lack of install base. Maybe a price cut can start to turn things around.

[Before Sony PlayStation 4 debuts, catch up on PlayStation's evolution and The Wikipad is back (but smaller) and Ouya will get annual updates]

Last week when talking about the Wii U I mentioned that Sony and Microsoft need to do something like the Nintendo Direct series. Apparently they do in Japan, because yesterday Japanese speaking gamers got to enjoy a streamed feature about upcoming Vita games. The video is online now but there're no English sub-titles.

But this Vita stuff is just a warm up to the main event, this announcement on February 20th. Lots of rumors going around this week and last weekend. Some of the more interesting ones I've heard are that Sony will use the Gaikai streaming service they purchased last summer in order to provide "backwards compatibility" on the PS4. I put that in quotes because streaming gameplay isn't true backwards compatibility, and a lot will ride on whether or not there's some way we can play the PS3 games we own via streaming without re-purchasing them. If so, it could be a good solution. Or at least better than nothing.

The Wall Street Journal followed up on this rumor by implying that streaming would be used not just for backwards compatibility but potentially for new games as well. I'm not sure what the incentive would be for gamers to purchase titles to be played via streaming when they could alternatively buy them digitally or on plastic, unless Sony is going to try out new pricing models. What if a new game came out and you could purchase it for $60 or play it via streaming for an evening for $3 or so? It'd be comparable to renting a movie for a night. That's not really feasible if you have to download the whole game, but with streaming it could work. I'm just speculating.

Over the weekend, images purported to be of the PS4 controller leaked out. Engadget and Shacknews are two of the many tech blogs covering this story. I like the image that Shack found (the one at the top of this post) detailing what the various buttons and features do. The images indicate there's a touchpad, a 'social button' (for sharing gameplay videos to YouTube and things of that nature) and a light that acts like the one on the Move controllers (for precise motion tracking).

Last up is the discovery of a 2012 Sony patent for the EyePad (no, they aren't ripping off Apple, Sony has a series of EyeSomething peripherals already). Gamechup uncovered this one. I confess I only skimmed over the patent (why are these things written in such an awkward manner?) but it sounds fairly broad, covering a device that could have a touch screen or just a touch pad, that does have motion controls, and that has a couple of cameras on opposite corners that focus on the area above that pad. I assume that would be for some kind of gesture controls.

There's nothing to indicate that this patent is for something that'll be built any time soon, if ever, but as long as we're gathering Sony rumors I figured I'd throw it in for the fun of it.

By the time your read this, we'll only have 36 hours or so to wait for the curtain to be lifted. What are you hoping Sony will reveal? Or is it too late for a game console to really grab your attention?

Read more of Peter Smith's TechnoFile blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Peter on Twitter at @pasmith. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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