Sony's two-hour PS4 announcement left a lot of details out, but the most glaring of all was the lack of the box itself. Speaking with the gaming press, Shuhei Yoshida, President of Sony's Worldwide Studios, explained why the physical console is no longer the center of the PlayStation experience. He also shared some other nuggets on the PS4, which we've collected below.
1. "The console is just a box."
Everyone's initial knee-jerk reaction by the end of Sony's PS4 event was unanimous: where's the box? But then it hit me. Maybe what the box looks like doesn't matter as much anymore, kind of like how Nintendo has chosen to make the GamePad the face of the Wii U console.
It's not unprecedented for a new console to be shown separately from its controller, either. Nintendo did the same thing when it showed off the Wii (then called the "Revolution") at E3 2005, but saved the Wii Remote controller for a reveal several months later at the Tokyo Game Show in Japan. With the PS4, Sony is simply doing the reverse, showing off the controller and its innovative new forms of gameplay first, and the console later.
Speaking to Polygon's Polygon's Brian Crecente, Shuhei explained why the physical PS4 box was a no-show:
"The console is just a box. The controller was very important to show because it has the share button, but the console is just a console."
But will we see the box at E3? Yoshida said Sony is still deciding on that.
2. PlayStation Network Games Non-Transferable
We already know the PS4 is not backwards-compatible with PS3 game discs (Sony is hoping to leverage the cloud to stream its entire back catalog of PS1, PS2 and PS3 games) and now Engadget has confirmed digital games purchased on the PlayStation Network through PS3 can't be transferred to the PS4. Game saves won't make the jump to the new console, either. Yoshida's reasoning: the PS4's x86-based architecture is not compatible with the PowerPC-based PS3.
Polygon also noted Yoshida said Sony could use the cloud to make those purchases available on the PS4, though:
"We could do so if we choose to. We know who purchased what as a record. But we are working on service plans and we haven't decided."
The lack of PS3 BC and non-transferable PSN games and saves (at least at launch) is not going to sit well with gamers faithful to Sony.
3. Will The PS4 Play Used Games?
In the run-up to the PS4 unveil, there were rumors that Sony (and possibly Microsoft) would block second-hand games from their next-gen consoles. As you would expect, the gaming community wasn't very receptive of that possibility. Luckily, Yoshida put that rumor to rest in an interview with Eurogamer:
"[Gamers] purchase physical form, they want to use it everywhere, right? So that's my expectation. So, used games can play on PS4. How is that?"
Fair, enough, but what about requiring an "always on" Internet connection just to play PS4 games? From Kotaku:
"PS4 games will be playable without an Internet connection."
"Oh yes, yes, you can go offline totally. Social is big for us, but we understand there are some people who are anti-social! So if you don't want to connect to anyone else, you can do that."
4. Sharing Is A "Huge Focus"
A big chunk of the PS4 event was devoted to talking about the DualShock 4's new "Share" button, which will allow users to share their gameplay instantly to partnered services. Yoshida told Destructoid social aspects will be a "huge focus" for the PS4:
"We believe that that's important for consumers today — to talk about or share what they're doing with other people. It's just part of their lifestyle to find something interesting on the Internet and immediately share it with other people."
Sony only announced two partners yesterday: Facebook and Ustream, but Yoshida says it'll be expanded once more partnerships and service providers are in place.
5. Will PS4 Support 4K Resolution?
Before you get all excited to buy an expensive 4K TV, just know this: 4K resolution is supported on the PS4, but only for photos and videos. While Yoshida didn't come out and say it, it's possible a future firmware update may enable the PS4 to output games in 4K resolution several years down the road if and when 4K TVs takes off, similar to the way stereoscopic 3D was enabled on PS3.