Sony Considered A PlayStation 4 Without A Hard Drive

It may seem odd to us, but there was a very real possibility that the PlayStation 4 could have shipped without a hard drive.  Sony’s Andrew House told the Develop conference in Brighton that the inclusion of the component had caused him “sleepless nights.”

“The reason [having a hard drive or not] was such a large decision because it’s not just for launch but in it for the cycle,” explained Andrew. “It has massive implications for the business model over [a] long period of years. What was great was Mark [Cerny] advocated in a very succinct, natural way about what this would mean for developers and, by extension, the user experience.”

It turns out that Watch Dogs  may have been one of the deciding factors to include the hard drive.

“Watch Dogs is a title that needed 15GB cached on a very fast medium like a hard drive for the level the creators wanted it to be,” said Mark Cerny. “We couldn’t say the hard drive works for people but not everyone… We ultimately we had to make that decision.”

The added cost of the hard drive and eight gb of memory meant “it was pretty obvious for me something had to give”, and that was the PlayStation camera which was originally meant to ship with every console.

“It was another one of these points [that] were there in the financial pressures, but it had us think through the consumer proposition again,” said Andrew. “I think what Mark’s alluding to was, if we were making the platform much more about consumer choice than perhaps our previous platforms had been, then having the camera as an option was not a negative, but that’s offering people choice.”

Source: Digital Spy



  1. Watch digs? I don’t get how the system would’ve worked at all without a hard drive, I’m sure they had ways and means but how would we have purchased digital games? Streamed them from Sony servers?

    • It would likely have a small ssd-like drive like in mobiles, Vita, Wii U… One that’s just for OS level stuff, digital games would require an optional external drive.

  2. Good to read but no surprise, in a way. The moment you lose that consumer perspective is the moment you start making bad decisions for the products you’re trying to sell to them.

    Keep the suits out of R&D and wait for the bods to come up with the goods first.

  3. Memory cards. Ah nostalgia

    • Razzle and Escort!Ah nostalgia

  4. Seriously? I mean most patches are 1GB+ so frankly to even consider not shipping with a HDD is silly. In fact, some people are wondering over the 500GB size, as it’s a bit small for the sheer size of games and patches in the new generation of gaming.

  5. Hold on a minute, 20GB launch PS3, 12 GB super slim, 1GB Vita 2000, little-or-no GB PS4… It’s almost as if Sony had a habit of selling us too little storage space.

  6. I think Sony would have had a big struggle on their hands to win the console war without a hard drive.

  7. That would also have reduced the capacity for sharing content, especially recorded footage.

  8. A PS4 without the HDD seems pointless to me. Probably would have put me off the system.

  9. I’d say ship with a small hard drive. It would of been better for me as I would of put a terabyte HDD in anyway. I think Sony would of done that surely. 2 different models one 20gb HDD and a 500gb HDD. It would save consumers like maybe £20 or so in the long run maybe.

    • First thing I did when I took the PS4 out the box was swap the HDD for a 1TB drive. It wouldn’t make any odds to me if they shipped with a smaller hard drive but I think the general consumer may have been put off.

      Besides, this new gen has so far been a numbers game – RAM, resolution, polygons, frame rate etc… They had to be seen to equal if not match Microsofts offering or risk the lay man seeing it with less gigabytes “which must mean its worse”

  10. So ditching the camera wasnt a last minute decision made after MS’s reveal as a lot of people like to believe.

    • Absolutely not. So many people assumed that, but Sony were very open about saying they hadn’t planned on including the camera for a long time, if at all.

      Tuffcub, you say:

      “and that was the PlayStation camera which was originally meant to ship with every console.”

      …this is unsubstantiated, and not backed up by the linked article to boot. Sony did _not_ intend to ship the console with the camera, and they didn’t, as many people assume, yank it out in order to make the $399 USD price point and beat MS. Yes, it was left out as a price consideration, but that decision was made many many months before the price reveal.

Comments are now closed for this post.