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PlayStation 4 to stream games, come with touch controller

Sony's PlayStation 4 will reportedly be able to stream PS3 titles and will feature touch-sensitive inputs on its controller.

The much-anticipated PlayStation 4 is expected to be unveiled in New York tomorrow, but fresh reports have given new clues as to what to expect. In short, new processors, cloud gaming and a touch-based controller.

Citing sources close to the matter, the reliable Wall Street Journal explains the PS4 will be able to stream existing PS3 games. Given that Sony bought cloud-based gaming service Gaikai last year, it's not a stretch to see streaming as a major part of the new console. If true, it's possible you'll be able to play games like Final Fantasy over the Internet, without having to wait for lengthy downloads or by buying physical discs.

New PS4 games will apparently still come on Blu-ray discs, but older titles will be available for streaming. It's a cool idea in theory, but in reality, unimpressive broadband speeds in the UK are likely to mean smooth, uninterrupted streaming won't always be possible. Cloud gaming service OnLive's similar service failed to impress, due to poor streaming quality and dropped connections.

The WSJ also explains that the PS4 will ditch the Cell processor made in collaboration with IBM and Toshiba, instead opting for a chip made by AMD. It's difficult to know at this point exactly what advantages this will bring to either the quality or speed of gaming, so we'll have to reserve our judgement for its launch. If true, it's likely to make developing games much easier than on Cell, as the PS4 will effectively be a swanky PC.

The same sources are also in agreement that the controller will provide some form of touch-sensitive interaction. It's highly unlikely Sony will ditch physical buttons altogether though. Instead, it's possible we'll be seeing a touch panel in place, similar to the one you see on the back of its PS Vita.

Sony is hosting a PlayStation event tomorrow in glittering New York City, where it's all but certain the PS4 will be finally showing its face. In the meantime, keep your eyes on CNET to keep abreast of all the latest news and put your thoughts on the new console in the comments below, or over on our next-gen Facebook page.