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Alex Wendland and Caitlin Klask/MEDILL

Medill News Service reporters Alex Wendland and Caitlin Klask break down Sony's marathon press conference unveiling the PlayStation 4.

No dramatic changes for PlayStation 4, but Sony says console's got game

by Caitlin Klask and Alex Wendland
Feb 21, 2013


Alex Wendland/MEDILL

Sony's PlayStation 3 beat out the Microsoft Inc.'s Xbox 360 but lost sales to the Nintendo Wii, which targeted less intense gamers. Could the PlayStation 4 beat the new Wii U, as well as whatever Microsoft has brewing?


Courtesy of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.

Sony redesigned their iconic controller and included a "share" button for the PS4

Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. hopes the PlayStation 4, its eighth generation of video game consoles expected to be available for the 2013 Christmas season, will improve the gaming experience for consumers worldwide.

Announced via a webcast conference Wednesday night, the new system runs on an x86 central processing unit rather than the Cell microprocessor used on the PlayStation 3. Simply put, this unit is more powerful and works better for game developers, but it won’t be as dramatically improved as the PS3 from the PS2.

The PlayStation 4, which was not displayed during the conference, presented no special features or add-ons such as the Blu-ray player, a main selling point of the PlayStation 3. Company executives say the new console represents Sony’s push away from casual, social gaming and back towards traditional markets.

“PlayStation 4 is centered on all of you – the gamers,” said Jack Tretton, president and CEO of Sony, in a post on PlayStation Blog on Wednesday. “Today is an exciting day for gamers everywhere.”

Greg Miller, PlayStation Executive Editor at IGN, said that sort of presentation was expected from Sony

"They had to come out and say, 'we're going to be the machine for gamers,'" Miller said. "They learned that the hard way on the PS3."

The press conference showcased PS4’s Dual Shock 4 controller, which lives up to Sony’s reputation for top-of-the-line accessories, according to industry experts. The controller boasts a touch pad, motion sensor, headphone jack and an LED light bar while maintaining the simple PlayStation design that gamers appreciate.

Price points for the PS4 were not revealed at the conference.

The premium model of the PlayStation 3 launched at $599.99, but the most recent price point is $299. It surpassed sales of the Xbox 360 by 1.1 million units for a total of 77 million units sold worldwide. The Wii sold the most seventh-generation units at 99.38 million.

It’s an important time for Sony as Apple may potentially break into recreational gaming. And considering companies such as Zynga Inc. and products like the new Wii U, which tried and failed to appeal to a less intense gaming market, playing it safe could be in Sony’s best interests.

“PlayStation 4 will be incredibly powerful but elegant and easy to use, empowering game developers to create innovative gaming experiences we can only begin to imagine,” said Sony’s Worldwide Studios President Shuhei Yoshida in a blog post.