PlayStation 4 – What’s in the Box!?

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whatsinthebox2“WHAT’S IN THE BOX?!?” If you’re a Sony fan, you’ve asked this question with a near David Mills’ level of desire for the last month. Fortunately, the fan response as been less, uugh, violent. Anyway, the simple answer is the PlayStation 4. Thanks to the February 20 announcement ceremony, we know the new machine is a beast. Unlike its predecessor, the PlayStation 4 is more of a gaming console and less of a computer built for gaming. I let that soak in for a minute. (Think of it like the new Batman Trilogy being more about the Dark knight than the Caped Crusader.)

Okay, here we go. The PS4 will utilize an eight core processor and 8 GB of RAM. For my less tech savvy friends, that’s a lot of vroom-vroom. The PS4 promises the ability to download and play games at the same time. With the statistics Sony has announced, it’s not hard to believe.

For those of you who aren’t as focused on power, the PS4 is a veritable smorgasbord of gaming options. Each game looked better than the last. Honestly, I feel like Charlie in Willy Wonka’s factory. Everything looked fantastic. Deciding which game to pin your Most Anticipated award on has induced brain hemorrhaging due to the plethora of options. Backwards compatibility has been lost, but the ability to play older titles is reportedly coming in the form of a streaming service. I’m up in the air on this one. Also, Sony has said that they have no plan to block used games, but a patent released in December by Sony demonstrates they have the ability to add DRM to every disc. While actions speak louder than words, I believe Sony will live up to their promise.

The ability to interface with the console has the potential to be one of its crown jewels. The new DualShock 4 controller is being dragged out of the pool of drool of a million gamers. That might be a bit too descriptive, but you get the point. The new ergonomic design of the controller is sure to earn two thumbs up from OSHA. Reports of the ability to remotely access the console from anywhere using the Vita will potential to help sales of the struggling handheld. Users will also be able to utilize ultrafast USB 3.0. I was very happy to hear this addition due to the large quantity of media I have stored digitally on an external hard drives.

If you were glued to your favorite streaming service as was I on Wednesday, you may have noticed the elephant in the room. More appropriately, you may have noticed the conspicuously absent elephant, or whatever. Bad analogies aside, I have one question; where’s the box? ‘Who cares’ you say? ‘Why is this even an issue’ you ask? Well, to answer that, consider the following:

Sooooo, where is it guys? It’s clearly not been an issue in the past to show a working model or mockup of the device you’re advertising in advance. Even Microsoft (bless their hearts) has hosted live demonstrations knowing their entire system may crash (and did). So why weren’t we shown anything on the 20th? While I don’t have an immediate answer, I believe not showing even a mockup of the system could be a mistake on Sony’s part.

First of all, showcasing the console was the point of Sony’s demonstration. While Sony did an excellent job of describing what to expect and showcasing the systems abilities, man doth not playth by components aloneth. There is a huge step between delivering developer kits to several dozen studios and putting a console in millions of households. Showing the console would have proven that this gap had been bridged and that Sony was ready for the next step forward. It would have shown that this event wasn’t just a business move geared towards getting the jump on Microsoft.

Without a tangible box, the question remains if one even exists. Without a firm launch date and an announcement that precedes the release of the unit by 10 months, I question if Sony has a plan for distribution in mind. I also question if the launch date can be believed. I’ll make you a bet. Look up any of the prior tech we’ve seen in the past years. Compare the launch date to the announcement date. I bet you can’t find a launch date that’s more than 6 months after the announcement.

Now that you’ve lost (just kidding, you know I love you guys), looking at the results is quite telling. Almost every piece of major tech has been released within a couple of months at the latest. The original PS3 and Xbox 360 were launched within 5 months of announcement. The PS3 Slim publication preceded launch by a week, while the Xbox Slim shipped the day of announcement.

Alleviating the fear of delay is a great reason to have demonstrated showcased the actual unit. However, it would have also been great to know what to expect as far as actual design is concerned. This may seem trivial to some, but if you’re anything like me, the birds nest under your TV isn’t getting any, especially when you think of throwing another box in the mix. Where is the disc drive located on the unit? Will it be in front like the original PS3 or on top like the Slim model? Will there be a slid-out tray or just a slot for the disc? How are the fans arranged? Will the unit need to stand on end or can it lie down? Where are the various ports located on the console?

This may seem trivial to you, but it’s a major selling point to me. W already know what happened when the first generation of Xbox 360 launch without an adequate air supply. Also, without backwards compatibility, do I sell that PS3 Slim that I have jammed in there to make room, or can they stack? For a disorganized OCD person who wants all the facts in a nice, neat package, this could be a deal breaker.

While not everyone is going to suffer the affliction of OCD-OCD-OCD-1-2-3, there’s one major point that still leaves me wanting. The thing that disappointed me most was that I like to see something tangible. It gives me something to point at and look forward to. Think about this; what do you anticipate the most from the footage you saw? Most people I’ve spoken with have said fill-in-the-name-of-the-game. We were served game after game, each looked better than the last, each left us wondering which would be the first we’d play. Not one person I’ve talked to has said they’re looking forward to the system itself.

It’s the way the human brain works. Seeing is believing, and we were shown nothing to believe in; to anticipate. Imagine a Super Bowl that ended with the Vince Lombardi Trophy presenter saying “Yeah, we’re having it inscribed. We’ll get it to you in a couple of days.” If you’re on the winning team (and ever Sony fan was on the winning team on the 20th), you’d be disappointed.

Give me something to plaster on my Facebook wall. Help me alienate my friends, relatives, co-workers, cats, et cetera, with a picture of the PS4 that I will show them over and over and over for the next 10 months. Give me an image to Tweet with a “T-Minus –:–“ every day until launch. Let me tuck a picture of it under my pillow. (Well, maybe not that one.) Sony, in the words of Foreigner; “I want to know what love is, I want you to show me.”

Anyway, this is getting weird. I’ll let you guys get back to you regular lives. But before I release you from my mesmerizing grasp, remember one thing is certain today; we know what in the box.

Author: Jimmy Sharp

Dylan Zellmer

I split time between games journalism and making video games. My love of it’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones), fitness and my family define me otherwise.