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Sony reveals PlayStation4, in theory
Sony makes it official, announces PlayStation4 video game console available at retail this Christmas, vague on details, clear on aplomb.
Posted February 20, 2013
With typical aplomb that could be considered typical hubris, Sony today announced the PlayStation4, the next iteration of its home video game console.

We're hard-pressed to describe the event as an "unveiling," because Sony didn't actually show the system. Nor did it reveal any technical specs. No price or launch date either. Some well-worded philosophical assurances made their debut, but hard facts were conspicuously absent.

What Sony did reveal was its penchant for self-congratulatory platitudes has not abated despite evidence that such talk did nothing to propel the current generation PlayStation, the PS3, to the top of the heap. Plagued first by a ridiculous price point, then game development architecture issues, then a couple of high profile hacks that compromised the personal information of millions, Sony did little to distance itself from business as usual.

Instead, it showed some footage from PS4 games in development that looked like conventional PS3 games. It got an endorsement from Square Enix, a game publisher apparently working on a new Final Fantasy game for PS4 despite having a half-baked Final Fantasy game for PS3 in the oven for more than 6 years.

Sony did mention that the PS4 will not be able to play PS3 games directly, marking the first time a PlayStation system would not be "backward compatible," often a selling feature for early adopters looking for a smooth transition to new hardware. That said, Sony did claim that users would be able to stream previous generation PlayStation games as an on-demand service from "the cloud." It's assumed, that would likely mean a fee to play old games already purchased on the spiffy new system. As revenue streams go, that's smart. But for consumers, it stings.

Sony showed a new controller for PS4 that includes a "share" button, asserting that PS4 players will be able to stream their game over the web like a spectator sport and invite friends to provide running commentary. It mentioned other instant social niceties as well, but, again, was vague on details.

The lack of real information is part-and-parcel for the games industry, however. More information is probable come June during the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), and still more as the Christmas shopping season looms, roughly the time the PS4 is said to hit store shelves.
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