Sony “launched” the PlayStation 4 at an event in New York City last night — if it’s possible to actually launch a product without ever showing the world that product.
Sony certainly kicked things off for its next-gen console, revealing its name, most of its specs, several games, its sharing capabilities and even what its controller will look like. If you want to get caught up to speed on those details, you can do it on pretty much every site on the Internet this morning.
There was a heck of a lot that Sony didn’t reveal last night, however. And those details are certainly worth discussing.
Sony didn’t tell us when the PlayStation 4 will go on sale, nor how much it will cost. This omission probably shouldn’t come as a huge surprise, considering how rushed this event seemed to be. It’s apparent that Sony is rushing to beat Microsoft to the next-gen punch — a race that Microsoft won with the Xbox 360. It’s safe to assume that the PS4 will go on sale in time for the 2013 holiday shopping season and it will probably cost somewhere in the range of $400 to $500, but we probably won’t know for sure for several more months.
Very curiously, Sony didn’t actually show off the PlayStation 4. When you introduce the world to your new product, you usually want to actually have that product on-hand to be seen. We saw the controller (it’s exactly the one that was leaked prior to last night’s event), but we have no idea what the console box will look like. This is probably because Sony is still working on the industrial design for the PS4 — and does it really matter what it looks like? It’s going to be a black, box-like thing — but it’s still pretty bizarre that they didn’t at least show some kind of renders of possible designs.
Larry Hryb of Microsoft, better known online as Major Nelson, had this to say about the elephant in the room:
Announce a console without actually showing a console? That’s one approach
— Larry Hryb (@majornelson) February 21, 2013
Sony also didn’t talk at all about the media playing abilities of the PS4 beyond just games. Presumably, the console will be able to play Blu-rays and stream services like Netflix and Hulu Plus, but those aren’t advancements from what the PS3 can do. We heard nothing about how the PS4 will interact with live television, nothing about new content partnerships, nothing about the ability to rent movies and nothing about how personal media on a home network or in the cloud will be handled.
More information about the PS4 will emerge in the coming weeks — and we’re likely to get a buttload of it at E3 in June — so these questions will all be answered well in advance of the PS4 actually going on sale. Still, it appears as though Sony has left the door open for Microsoft to unveil the next-gen Xbox and give gamers all the juicy details they didn’t get at last night’s event.