Why Sony Didn’t Show The PS4 Console

Games > Plastic.

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.

53 Comments

  1. Stock fell..? edge (sorry for linking, please remove if not allowed) http://www.edge-online.com/news/sony-stock-jumps-following-ps4-announcement/ said that sony´s stock rose..?

    • I checked this before publishing and I’ve no idea where Edge (and others who are reporting similar) are getting their data from but they appear to simply be wrong.

      Check the in-body link above – Stock fell slightly (some even reported it as a “dive”) but then the NYSE was closed overnight so it’ll be interesting to see if it does rise today.

      Edit: See this graph: http://www.thesixthaxis.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Screen-Shot-2013-02-21-at-12.24.45.png Shows the small decline up to about 4PM yesterday, before the show. NYSE was closed overnight and extended hours data is very inconsistent (shows a big jump then a drop to almost zero by 7AM). I’d expect an increase when markets open again but then, I don’t have millions of dollars to invest so who knows what those guys will do!

      • Edge was talking about out of hours trading, look at the graph here https://www.google.co.uk/finance?q=NYSE:SNE&sq=Sony&sp=1&ei=JxMmUaDaFqeHwAOkFA and you can see that it jumped overnight, opening at 14.75 but has fallen since then, so you’re both right, not sure what this really says for the playstation though

      • wait no got that completely wrong, feel like a right fool now

      • Edge-online is stating ” the reveal of its new hardware prompted a 2.4 per cent rise during after-hours trading”

    • Their stock price rose quite significantly over the last few weeks though and remains comparatively high.

  2. I thought it was the best presentation I’ve seen in a long time. Who cares what it looks like when it can do all that? It’s not like you’ll be constantly looking at the box when playing. E3 is soon enough. I’m still super impressed, 8GB of GDDR5!

    • I agree, altough E3 still feels pretty far away…

    • I agree too. I was disappointed for a second but not seeing it gives us something else to look forward to. Even if it’s ugly I’m still buying.

  3. Agree totally. I also don’t think it’s ready & it will be finalised in the coming months ahead of summer production run.

  4. It didn’t bother me that they didn’t show the console off, I was more interested in what it could than what its going to look like. And I liked what they showed, what it can do. We got to see the controller and that’s the thing we will be handling all the time, not the console.

  5. I agree with this, but I also think they need to save something for E3, having a hrdware reveal will be a big deal, as well as a lot more first party titles, namely from ND, Santa Monica and PD.

    Going to be an interesting year!

    Am off to have a look at the devkit now :P

  6. From what I’ve seen of the presentation so far seems impressive but a quick gander at the bbc news site mostly consists of negative views from critics. A few seem to be moaning because its still just a game console what plays games… Thats because it is a god damn games console you morons! Maybe they should have announced it will have sauna and a goat petting sanctuary built-in.

    • If they had everyone would have complained that it wasn’t a steam room.

    • If it’s “just a games console that plays games” I’ll eat my hat. I’ll even eat yours for dessert.

      This’ll do all the media stuff, that’s just not what last night was about. They’ll trot that out at E3 or Gamescom or TGS or at any point between now and release.

    • But wait… isn’t it a games console. That what I want it for, to play games with….

      • I think I read that roughly half of the time people have their PS3 switched on, it’s playing games. The rest of the time it’s streaming media, watching Blu-ray or whatever. The Xbox 360 is used more in North America to stream media than it is to play games.

        It’s all important to Sony, if not to you.

    • BBC have a round up of some of major sites’ reactions, and they are vaguely ridiculous to me. Wired: “It espoused a philosophy, said the names of a lot of popular games, but didn’t give us any real, concrete information in an age where it’s more important than ever.” The presentation was full of concrete info from where I was sitting.

      I can’t help thinking many reporters approached the conference with a publishing agenda, presumably one of cynicism and geared towards the current smartphone zeitgeist. Thank goodness Alex went with an open mind and a bit of enthusiasm.

      • 12 games shown. 8 new IP.
        I get that tech journos have grown accustomed to Apple’s format for product unveilings but that’s a huge part of why I thought Sony did a great job last night.

        Amid the crowds of people shouting about a dying console business and how smartphone gaming is the only future, Sony said “No, fuck you, this is what we do and when we do it right, you’ll fucking love it. We have faith in console games and you should too.” They had their confidence back, after a year or two of seeming ground down by all the competition. They looked like they knew what was going on and how they could meet the challenges.

        They might eventually be wrong, of course, but they showed last night that they weren’t going down without swinging a few punches.

        20 years of publisher, consumer and hardware relationships can still mean something in the face of the very recent mobile evangelism. Hopefully.

      • It’s worth remembering that every generation has seen an increase in console sales of about 40% including the current one.

        The SNES & Mega Drive sold 74 million combined in the first generation. Every console this generation has sold more than that.

        The sales show that consoles are far from dying.

        It’s also worth noting Sony have 3 of the 4 biggest selling home consoles ever. Sony know consoles

  7. I thought the presentation was excellent. The console itself is a last minute thing in my opinion

  8. Right, I don’t really understand stocks and what not, financial stuff is not always my strong point.

    So could someone explain to me why Sony stocks would fall after this when I got the impression that the majority of people watching came away happy and impressed.

    Confused.

    • many, many reasons. Perhaps investors don’t agree with Sony’s approach to the games market and would have preferred an App Store driven system because that’s been the success story over the past few years? Perhaps investors think this is a long term plan and they’d be better off dipping out and gambling on something else?

      I think most gamers came away happy and impressed (with some exceptions, as there always are). But investors aren’t gamers, generally.

    • You have to differentiate between traders (mindless sheep) and investors ( most of them have a brain & can think for themselves).

  9. To be fair, PS4 could be shaped like Kerry Katona and I’d still buy it. I’m glad the focus is on the content and features, as this is what’s important.

  10. It makes sense they didn’t show off the console yet. If nothing else they need something to show off at e3.
    Despite all the filler and padding last night’s conference had (christ there was a lot of padding!) I still came away very excited. Then again my mind was basically made up when they showed us Killzone and DriveClub so…

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