As more and more rumors and reports on the next generation consoles from Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo surface, it becomes increasingly clear that the companies have very different visions for the future. Nintendo is banking on the possibilities afforded by the Wii U's tablet controller (however many of them the system ultimately supports), while Microsoft apparently considers Kinect 2.0 key to its next gen plans.
Sony's focus for its next console remains a mystery, but news today suggests that the company will have at least one ace up its proverbial sleeve: the PlayStation 4 is rumored to be the most powerful next gen system.
Just today, rumors hit suggesting that Xbox 720, PS4, and 3DS Lite will all be revealed at E3 2012. While that event remains a solid six months away, "development sources" who claim to be familiar with the PlayStation 4, speaking to PSM3, describe the system's technical specifications as "more powerful" than those of Microsoft's Xbox 720. No specific example of the PS4's superior power is cited, nor is any of the system's internal technology detailed.
If Sony does deliver the most powerful next generation hardware, it may well be as much by default as by design. According to Xbox World, Xbox 720 will be focused on "utility and innovation," which functionally means a pronounced emphasis on Kinect 2.0. Expect the console and the peripheral to be bundled together.
Still, Sony has a history of swinging for the bleachers where console horsepower is concerned. Development of the Cell Processor that powers PlayStation 3 was certainly a factor in that system launching a year later than Xbox 360, and clearly contributed to the PS3's staggering initial price -- $600 for 60 GB model, if case you've forgotten.
Indeed, the company is facing the same issue now with the just released Vita, which is struggling badly in Japan. The technology is fantastic, but comes at a price. If PlayStation 4 is to continue Sony's quest for raw horsepower, no matter the cost, the company could once again find itself with the most expensive console in the marketplace -- a tough spot to be in, particularly when reports suggest that Xbox 720 will be cheaper than the 360 at launch.
Then again, if Microsoft really does go all-in with Kinect 2.0 and set-top-box functionality (like DVR recording) on Xbox 720, and Nintendo does what it usually does (cater to the faithful and the casual) with Wii U, Sony's PlayStation 4 may wind up as the most traditionally games-focused next gen console. That might just be worth paying a premium for.
Ranters, do you believe that PS4 will be the most powerful next generation console? How important will raw processing power be to the next slate of systems, and are you willing to pay more for the most powerful hardware? Let us know in the comments below.
Follow me on Twitter @HakenGaken