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Talking Point: Does It Really Matter That Sony Didn't Reveal the PS4's Hardware This Week?

Posted by Sammy Barker

Keeping secrets

It’s been dubbed the ‘invisible’ console. Technology enthusiasts expecting an Apple-esque presentation during Sony’s widely publicised PlayStation Meeting left this week’s event disappointed when the PlayStation 4 – the actual console, to be precise – failed to materialise, and demonstrated their frustration in a slew of damning articles after the fact. But does it really matter that the platform holder showed nothing of its next generation system’s chassis?

Let’s be frank: a box is a box. It’s arguably the most periphery component of the console experience; a plastic-coated piece of circuitry that occasionally grunts and groans as its inner-mechanics pull data off discs and write code to a hard-drive. But it’s also the focal point of a system’s marketing; it’s the tangible shell that represents the experiences under the hood. Short of a few high-resolution shots of the controller, the platform holder failed to provide any images that truly encapsulate its latest product. The logo is nice, but it doesn’t exactly tell you much about the machine.

However, we think critics approached this week’s PlayStation Meeting with the wrong expectations. This wasn't a comprehensive unveiling of a product that’s weeks away from hitting the market, but more of an introduction. It outlined the philosophy behind the system, showcased its social connectivity functions, and demonstrated some of the software we can expect to play when the console eventually arrives in around nine months. There’s still plenty of time – and events – to come between now and 'Holiday 2013', and thus there’s ample opportunity for more announcements.

And let’s not overlook the fact that, even without a box to hang its hat on, Sony still furnished us with more information about the machine than we ever anticipated. The manufacturer provided us with a comprehensive breakdown of the system’s specifications mere moments after the press conference’s conclusion, while regaling us with its entire long-term strategy for Gaikai and the cloud.

But it seems that wasn’t enough. Pressed by journalists after the press conference on Wednesday night, Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida explained that “we have to keep something new for later [...] otherwise you’d get bored”. And it’s true. The company just about managed to reveal enough this week to sell the experience, without dampening the hype for events still to come. We understand the disappointment – we really do. But let’s not forget that the PS4 is still almost a year away.


What did you make of Sony's decision to not uncover the PS4's hardware during its big coming out party this week? Let us know in the comments section and poll below.

Do you think Sony should have revealed the PS4's chassis this week? (37 votes)

Yes, of course

14%

I'm not really bothered, but it would have been nice

43%

No, this week was all about the specs and the games

43%

Please login to vote in this poll.

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User Comments (23)

Jaz007

#1

Jaz007 said:

Seriously, it will probably be black and and have a disk drive where you just slide the disk in and out without a tray. It's not that hard to imagine people. I know when the Wii U was revealed I didn't give crud about what the box looked like. If they had shown it nobody would care much at all. But since they didn't show everybody is really mad about it. What is the bid deal. I would have liked a disk conformation as I had a little digital only worry in the back of my mind but I really don't see people why people were all dissapointed with the confrence because of it.

MadchesterManc

#2

MadchesterManc said:

I agree totally. Haters gonna hate. Ive been saying it was a good move by Sony not to unveil everything so there's still more to come. Ignoring all the good from the conference simply through not showing the actual console is just as narrowminded as id expect publications these days to be. Why read other pigeonholed opinions when you can generate your own?

Hetsumani

#3

Hetsumani said:

@PSOneSON I've never thought of Fanboysm as an expession of racism, but you are so right, it is racism. One more reason to hate this attitude.

Metal_Slugger

#4

Metal_Slugger said:

Well it sort of matters if its the size of a small refrigerator, and sounds like a jet engine I may have second thoughts.

theblackdragonAdmin

#5

theblackdragon said:

Hey guys, you can turn off a computer and you have the freedom to choose what console(s) you'd like to play, but you can't turn off IRL and you can't change the color of your skin without expensive treatments and/or major surgery. fanboys hating on other consoles has absolutely nothing on the systematic oppression of people in countries around the world, and comparing fits of bluster and unfounded rage to cross-burning, lynch-mobbing racism is stretching the whole thing to a pretty offensive level. Please stop.

BornOfEvil

#6

BornOfEvil said:

Yes, I would have loved to see the actual system. But, we saw the controller and a great starting line-up for the system. So I'm good.

Paranoimia

#8

Paranoimia said:

Doesn't bother me in the slightest. All early dev kits are basically PCs, so what does it matter?

Sure, Watch Dogs was played on a PC 'geared to the same specs as PS4'. And if we were talking some custom CPU like the Cell, that might make a difference, as a different CPU may perform differently in the final unit.

But when you think that the PS4 is an x86 CPU with custom graphics chip and 8GB DDR5 RAM - essentially a supercharged gaming PC in a different box - what difference does it make if that box is a PC case or a stylised case Sony have designed?

It's smart by Sony. They've announced some specs and what they basically intend for the machine to do, but left themselves enough wiggle-room to respond to anything Microsoft may announce about the next Xbox. Besides, they had to leave something for GDC and E3, right?

From what I've been reading, even a lot of pretty die-hard Xbox fans were impressed by what Sony showed and are a little concerned that MS may not have a sufficient response. A lot of the upset I've seen has actually come from certain areas of the PlayStation community (quite probably those who do nothing but moan on the official blogs every week) and some supposedly 'independent' websites who have also demonstrated significant anti-Sony bias on occasions in the past. Oh, and Major Nelson, but he's probably/understandably rattled anyway.

BlueProxy

#9

BlueProxy said:

Teasers are nice if done right. Builds good amount of interest and leaves them something for E3, or whatever event MS will reveal their new system. That along with a couple of unannounced IPs, and a really slick new UI would be an absolute bomb move by Sony.

theblackdragonAdmin

#10

theblackdragon said:

@PSOneSON: Considering you keep signing up for accounts, posting a few times, then changing your username to some permutation of 'delete this' and creating yet another account to post under, I'm sure we'll see you around. :3

Colors

#11

Colors said:

I don't care they didn't unveil the actual console, since as others said there's a fairly good chance it will be plastic and black. But the part I found ridiculous was Squeenix's huge showcase of a tech demo they showed a year ago. Watch_Dogs gameplay and announcement of a new inFamous made up for it though~

Savino

#12

Savino said:

It's not the one that Nimoy shown us earlier!?
hell... That was pretty futuristic!!

ShogunRokAdmin

#13

ShogunRok said:

Couldn't give a damn and I don't know why so many people do. Sony have to save something for E3. If anything, Sony showed far more than we could have hoped for. We even got specs for crying out loud!

hydeks

#14

hydeks said:

what I seen was awesome, I can't wait till E3 to see the system. Need to keep some secrets.

Gamer83

#15

Gamer83 said:

It's not a big deal at all. I have more of an issue with my PSN games not transferring over to the PS4 than I do with them not showing what the box itself is going to look like.

rjejr

#16

rjejr said:

E3 unveil. Even Pachter could get that prediction right.

Sony makes tv's, tablets, consoles, laptops, DVD and blu-ray players, and they are all almost always black and none of them have looked like a lunchbox or the Pixar mascot desklamp. I'ld say less than 1% of 1% of sales are based on it's initial appearance either for or against.

neumaus

#17

neumaus said:

No. The shape/appearance of the console doesn't matter as much as its specs and games do. I'd buy the PS4 even if it has the most oft-putting design ever. People just want something to complain about, and since the specs and games are so nice, this is the only thing they could attack ;)

irken004

#18

irken004 said:

For the record, the WiiU has one of the worst box-design I've seen in awhile, but in the end it doesn't really matter as long as it functions and doesn't break D: I'm sure PS4 will just be another black box, probably large in size too.

DeleteDis

#19

DeleteDis said:

@theblackdragon Hey I just wanted to apologize to you. I was having troubles yesterday, and after you said I was offensive, when I swear I didn't mean to be. It kinda hurt because I was feeling down. So I reacted worse than I should have, and it didn't make things better.

As for the accounts I feel I keep screwing up. So I just make another one to get rid of the name. I know now forum posting just isn't for me though.. anyways I'm really sorry if I was disrespectful, and offensive. I really apologize.

odd69

#20

odd69 said:

Everyone can jump on the ps4 hate wagon all they want, I'll be on the ps4 love train baby

FullbringIchigo

#21

FullbringIchigo said:

i don't think it mattered because they showed what was important, the games and the controller as for what it looks like i don't really care after all i will be playing the console not looking at it

doublejj

#22

doublejj said:

No i dont believe that it mattered that Sony did not have a physical console to show due to the fact that Sony is playing this close to the chest with letting everything out of the bag so early in the war against Microsoft. I believe that if Sony would've showed a console then at E3 they wont have any other surprises to unveail cause remember they still have E3 and i believe that at E3 they will have a finished console and all the specs will be live to view and all answers will be answered as they will get ready to launch the platform near the end of this year. Good move Sony cause after all its a chess match between Microsoft and Sony and now since the meeting its Microsoft's turn to answer with a meeting of their own cause if they don't have anything this year they will fall behind even Nintendo as the war is heating up.

ThreadShadow

#23

ThreadShadow said:

I agree, at this point it just doesn't matter what shape the box is. I'm sure people would appreciate seeing all the ins and outs it would have (cords/cards/etc.), but saving that for E3 is a good move. This show was all about the specs, the games, and the controller. Nintendo emphasizes the controller too.

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