The web was awash overnight with conflicting views and discussion, the overwhelming negative seeming to be that Sony were there to show off the future of PlayStation and yet failed to actually show us the hardware. Were expectations too high? Why wasn’t there a big reveal? Was a big black box really all we came for?[drop2]Well, Sony didn’t need to show the actual PS4 at their PlayStation Meeting last night.
It might have disappointed some but by not focusing on the plastic they’ve ensured that all but the very lazy actually talk and write about what the machine can do, rather than simply what it looks like.
A console’s looks are important, of course, but yesterday’s press conference was about demonstrating the social networking features, discussing the hardware specs and – of course – the actual games.
There was no physical PlayStation 4 because there didn’t need to be one.
And, probably, there isn’t one yet anyway.
The controller was a must – the recent leaks had cemented most of the features and those playing the games onstage had to hold something that was complete. But those wires stretched a long way behind the curtain, presumably into a big ugly grey box and not some sleek black slab.
At this stage, with ten months to go, who really cares what the machine looks like? Wasn’t it more important to showcase its abilities rather than its construction? To ensure that everybody knew that Sony had the full support of first and third parties and that making games was an enticing, easy to port ideal?
Public opinion is critical, of course, and Sony’s stock fall around the presentation indicates that there’s some grounding to the debate. But imagine if Sony had made a massive deal of the unit casing itself and then picture what today’s press clippings would be about – would anyone be talking about the Share button? Or the Gaikai streaming?
The point is that Microsoft are likely to do a very similar thing with regards to interacting between users, and yet Sony have beaten them to the punch. Anyone can highlight their actual console, but few can get across so much new technology in amongst all those games without losing direction – Sony’s presser might not have been for everyone, but it worked for me.