An unnamed SCE official recently told the Nikkei business daily that Sony's upcoming PlayStation 4 will be more of a home entertainment hub than what's been offered in the past. As it stands now, the current PlayStation 3 is an excellent entertainment hub given that customers aren't forced to pay an added "network fee" (like Xbox Live) to access subscriptions such as Netflix and Hulu Plus. The drawback is that the PlayStation 3's non-gaming offering isn't quite as robust as the Xbox 360, but perhaps that will change with the new console.
According to the unnamed official, the main selling point of the PlayStation 4 will be new styles of play, not the updated hardware set which supposedly includes a rumored eight-core AMD64 CPU. If anything, Sony will promote the new hardware as a means of breaking away from the traditional console mindset by allowing mobile devices to connect and share media and other goods. It will be the "nerve center" of your house, the official claimed.
One recent rumor backing the "new styles of play" comment claims that the console's controller will have a "Share" button allowing gamers to record footage or take screenshots and share them on social networks. There have also been rumors about full-body motion sensing, and a patent granted to Sony calling for a DualShock controller with a detachable PlayStation Move wand.
The Nikkei business daily also said that the PlayStation 4 will include Gaikai's cloud technology. Unlike OnLive which serves up a streaming subscription, rentals and full-blown game purchases directly to members, Gaikai serves as the middleman between the seller and the buyer -- it's a platform only. There's a good chance PlayStation 4 owners will be able to purchase games from Sony that can be stored and streamed from the cloud.
That said, it's quite possible PC-based games provided by SOE could be offered on the console as well like EverQuest 2 or the just-launched Wizardry Online (aka speculation). The paper said that the console will be "fully networked" and "be furnished with the ability to exchange opinions amongst one's friends while playing games." A fully-networked console could mean it will be dual-band so that it can access the less-congested 5 GHz band on compatible networks, thus improving streaming performance.