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.


  1. I believe they didn’t show the console simply because it wasn’t finished. Which of course isn’t a problem, it’s still early days, and they definitely don’t want another boomerang controller incident like 2005. I thought the presentation was excellent and one of Sony’s best, and I’m glad they focused on the important things for the consumer rather than ‘we’ve made x amount of money in y years’.

  2. So, who was the person betting everyone who commented on his comment a 5 Pound PSN voucher that the PS4 would not be called PS4? I’m ready to collect! :P

  3. It could look like a shoebox and it would still play games – actually a shoebox with all the ports on the back would look ok under my TV. Just so long as it’s black. Naturally ;)

  4. Why show the console if you don’t need to? It just allows Sony to built up more hype again and have another big reveal.

    Think of all the column inches leaks, rumours and the reveal will take up? Also means the controller is currently the image circulating as “the PS4” image rather than a side thing. Everyone will know what it looks like and what it can do.

  5. I think they should have showed a console as an anchor point for the news, an icon to give the features and games a physical form to be associated with. The controller is doing the job for now, but it feels incomplete. CC_star made a good point in another comment, the RAM upgrade probably means a redesign, but I think it would still have been possible to show an empty case with some LEDs blinking away. Lets be fair, the aesthetics of the controller have produced plenty of interest, when it appears the main console is bound to too.

  6. I’m glad they didn’t show the box. “The Future of PlayStation” is streaming and cloud services, so it makes sense that they focus the next gen as a way to stream to any device.

  7. Unfortunately we live in a world where gadgets are becoming pseudo-celebrities in their own right, along with the image that they need to project.

    If Sony wanted to completely win over the media they did need a little less content and a little more whizz-bang. The point though is the long-game – at E3 it’ll be an open field where Xbox and Playstation can be truly compared and we’ll have forgotten about this announcement.

    All last night was supposed to do was reveal some key features and set up a drip-feed programme of hype up until release, it’s important to announce things that keep seemingly improving over time with things over this timescale, it’s not a phone or tablet where the announcement and release are within a month of each other.

    I could be proved wrong, but I expect last night will have set the perfect tone for the rest of Playstation’s 2013.

  8. Killzone Shadow Fall! Sod what plastic is housing the wires and cogs putting that game on my screen, just get it on my screen!
    That being said, i’ve yet to be disgusted by a Playstations design yet. I have the Super Slim now and do prefer the Slim before it, but they all look good if only for a few minutes a day whilst inserting a disc. After that it is all about the screen, and damn does the PS4 seem to make that a window of mesmerising goodness.

  9. Have no problem that they didn’t show the console itself. As others have said it would have detracted from the main points of the conference like the specs, features and the games. At the end of the day that’s what most of us are looking forward too.

  10. got mine preordered don’t care what it looks like. was blown away yesterday.

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