Latest PS4 Rumor Roundup
Lots of well-substantiated PS4 rumors are appearing ahead of next week's big reveal. First, there's this possible controller prototype that Destructoid dug up - it's ugly, but it's a prototype, and the final design could look much slicker. (We're also hearing that it'll have triggers more like the Xbox 360's controller, too.) Another one that the Wall Street Journal figured out - via Destructoid in this case - is that PS3 backwards compatibility will come via Gaikai, which is a system of playing games online through getting the game via streaming video directly to your console without actually needing the original hardware.
There are a lot of ways this could work - maybe in the case of retail games, you drop the disc in the drive like you always did, but that it only works as a "key" - from there, the disc is mostly ignored and streaming from Sony's servers begins. Maybe it won't serve retail games at all, and only works with PSN games. And maybe only a small subset of the PS3's most popular games will work, and maybe it'll be a slowly-growing library.
I have my doubts as to how Sony will be able to afford this, especially since there still has to be PS3 hardware somewhere powering your game, and if you if they're not asking you to spend your own money on putting that hardware into the PS4 - which I'm sure they won't be doing at this point - then Sony has to still front some kind of costs for it.
Update: what may be even more interesting is the mention that the Vita might be sharing this functionality. Of course, there is the issue of no left and right triggers or thumbstick clicks, so there'd have to be some kind of alternative binds for the front touchscreen and rear touch panel. That's easy for replicating the thumbstick clicks, but it might be a bit more difficult if you need the analog triggers for the actual analog functionality, like the gas or brakes from Gran Turismo 5.