If you logged onto the Internet at all today, then I’m pretty sure you’re aware that Sony officially announced the PS4 at a press conference last night. Now, they gave us a fair helping of details on their upcoming console, but they never actually showed us the console itself. And this is a problem for some people. The thing is, it really shouldn’t be.
Microsoft’s Larry Hyrb, AKA Major Nelson, posted this little tidbit on Twitter: “Announce a console without actually showing a console? That's one approach” (Thanks, Matt Liebl, for pointing this one out.) I guess ol’ Larry was trying to imply that Sony somehow doesn’t understand how to reveal a console since they didn’t actually show us what the thing looked like at their big event.
And you don’t have to do much lurking around the blogosphere to find angry gamers regurgitating this sentiment across the Internet. I think it’s fair to say that a lot of people are grumpy about not getting to see what the actual PS4 is going to look like.
But how important is seeing the console itself at a reveal event? Are we really going to decide whether or not to buy a PS4 based on how it looks on the shelf?
Now, Kotaku actually did the dirty work and straight up asked president of Sony's Worldwide Studios Shuhei Yoshida why the console wasn’t shown, and here was his response:
"We really wanted to explain what we've done with the DualShock 4, but as far as the system itself we have to keep something new for later. Otherwise you'd get bored."
Yoshida sort of implies that Sony had the choice between showing the console and the controller, and they opted for the controller instead. Now, you could argue that this reeks of a false dichotomy, but there actually is a valid point buried under there: The controller is going to be the way we interact with the device, so it’s important. The television screen is the thing we’ll actually be looking at most of the time. But the console itself will sit on our shelf collecting dust. So why is it so important that we actually see it so early in the game?
Personally, I don’t really care what sort of aesthetic Sony opts for here, as long as the controller feels good in my hands. I mean, while I enjoy the look of my PS3 Slim, it generally sits behind my TV out of site, or on the floor under my desk, or on the lower shelf on my entertainment center, buried behind a stack of game cases. I play the thing all the time, but that doesn’t mean that I ever actually look at the console itself except for when I’m swapping discs. And I’m pretty sure my PS4 will suffer the same fate.
Now, there is one legitimate reason for being suspicious about not actually seeing the thing, and that’s because we’re not yet sure what all the features will be. Will it have an Ethernet port, or will it go the Wii U route and be wireless-only? Will it have USB ports? And, most importantly, will it have a disc drive? All this talk of downloadable content and streaming games has a lot of people nervous that this newfangled device won’t have a disc drive, and games will be download-only. And that could be a deal breaker for a lot of people, especially those without a reliable high-speed Internet connection. (Yes, those people do exist.)
So I concur that all of the stuff in the previous paragraph is important. On the other hand, I’m sure Sony’s carefully considering each of those options at this point. There’s a good chance that they haven’t decided yet if, say, they’re going to put an Ethernet port on it, or how many USB ports to include, or if they’ll sell a lower-priced model that does away with a disc drive altogether while maintaining a more expensive version that does include one.
And Sony CEO Jack Tretton echoed this sentiment in an interview with AllThingsD. He explained: “I mean, we’re certainly capable of showing playable game content, but we don’t have a mass-production box that we can bring out and pull out. That’s still in development in terms of final specs and design.”
But here’s the thing: They’ve still got time. We’ve been told to expect the final console by the holidays, so they’ve technically got ten months to figure it out and start production. And I’m sure they’ll have the PS4 in a much more genuine state to show us by the time E3 rolls around in June. Let’s be honest here: It’s better for them to keep a few details secret for now than to make promises they can’t fulfill.
So stop complaining already. We’ll see the console when Sony’s ready to show it to us. My guess is that it’ll make an appearance at their E3 press conference in June. We’ll just have to be patient for a few more months.
Editor / Social Media
Date: February 21, 2013