The PlayStation 4 Is ‘First and Foremost a Video Game Console.’ So?

PR messaging aside, there's much evidence that the PlayStation 4 is clearly the gamer's console, while the Xbox One is not.

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Brendan McDermid / Reuters

PlayStation 4's lead system architect Mark Cerny speaks during the PlayStation 4 launch event in New York City on Feb. 20, 2013

After Microsoft spent much of its Xbox One reveal talking about television, Sony is eager to position itself as a pro-gaming alternative.

“The most important thing we need to do is agree and understand that the PS4 is a great video game console that appeals to video gamers,” Sony President and CEO Kaz Hirai told reporters at the D11 conference, according to The Verge. “Providing other non-game content is an area we will reveal and talk about in the coming months, but it’s first and foremost a video game console.”

Wooing the hardcore gaming set is a logical move, considering the backlash Microsoft has faced over its all-purpose entertainment box ambitions. Microsoft has been panned by the press and even some game developers for the lack of gaming focus in the Xbox One’s big reveal. Players have been making their displeasure known as well: A YouTube video that splices together a dizzying number of “TV” mentions at the Xbox One announcement has 6 million views. At the gaming forum NeoGAF, some folks put together some convincing mock advertisements on Sony’s behalf.

Hirai’s comments make for great headlines, but let’s not pretend they represent anything more than pandering. PR messaging aside, there’s much evidence that the PS4 is clearly the gamer’s console, while the Xbox One is not.

It’s not as if Microsoft is pursuing TV opportunities at the expense of gaming. As Official Xbox Magazine recently reported, Microsoft will spend more than $1 billion on exclusive games, including eight games that aren’t sequels. The company has also opened up three new game studios over the last two years. Is Sony outspending Microsoft? We don’t know, and it doesn’t really matter. Both companies will lock up their own exclusives, and people will have to decide which games they value more. The fact that Microsoft didn’t spend much time talking about games at the Xbox One reveal will become a moot point at E3, where games will be the focus.

Will the PS4 dashboard be more game-centric than the Xbox One dashboard? We don’t know that yet either. Microsoft is touting a “personalized” home screen, which presumably would show more game-related things if you play a lot of games. Sony hasn’t shown its entire interface, only the bits that relate directly to gaming. And again, it doesn’t matter much; these interfaces stop being important once you’re in the game itself.

As for game-related features, both consoles are promising similar capabilities, such as instant-on, cloud-based saves and the ability to play games as they download. And I can easily pick which unique aspects of each console appeal to me as a gamer. Sony’s plans to  let indie game developers self-publish on the PS4 seems like a great, forward-thinking decision, while Microsoft’s promise of “living games” could be a huge step up from online play as we know it.

The most quantifiable advantage Sony might have for gaming is memory. Both consoles have 8 GB of RAM, but only 5 GB will be available for games on the Xbox One, while the PS4 will have 7 GB according to an unconfirmed rumor. Even so, it’ll be a while before we have any idea how the difference will affect actual games.

The whole debate just seems like a weird one to be having. It’s meaningless in all the ways that really matter, and it distracts from the more serious issue of what will become of used, rented and borrowed games. While Microsoft’s messaging on that matter has been much sloppier, neither company has offered a cogent explanation of their plans. Hirai didn’t broach the subject during his D11 session.

I’m not even sure what the pro-gamer chest-beating accomplishes in the end. I’ve been going to E3 since 2009, and every year Microsoft keeps amping up its entertainment messaging, while Sony keeps using the show to celebrate gaming. Regardless of what gets announced, I always find myself enjoying Sony’s presentation a lot more. The result? Microsoft is winning the console wars. (Correction: While Microsoft is still way ahead of Sony in North America, the two consoles are essentially in a dead heat in worldwide shipments.)

38 comments
younes.mohamadk
younes.mohamadk

It's the car industry all over again. Japanese vs. American. Japanese cars beat domestic cars into near bankruptcy before domestic cars stopped trying to rip us off with cheap materials and corner cutting.

I predict this is the same. Asian made consoles know their market and listen to what they want. Whether its gas mileage or game-centric video gaming console.

j273tack
j273tack

Pepsi and Coke,

I hate Pepsi, not for their product but the company is politically charged, so I will not sell there product in my location. My greatest disappointment in the past 5 years was purchasing the kinnect. I've been gaming since Atari but will never own a system that requires me to be online with "licence only" gaming. So I guess this is the end of the road for me.....

Rio
Rio

Microsoft erred big time.  First the price point with all the junk most don't care about.  IMO it is because they have lost the connection to the average user.  First many do not want the kinnect at all.  Nor do they want a system where they cannot play the old games.  It would not be that difficult to design a system with both forward and backwards compatibility.   The other big annoyance in registration and check in.  I myself do not play online so I don't care about that.  Nor do I care to be online at all when playing.

pswilliams986
pswilliams986

I hate how people are whitewashing this and making it seem like the reason people are complaining is because a lot of software wasn't shown at the reveal. Most people are complaining about the online daily "check in" requirements, the fact that all games need to be installed, and those games are going to require an additional fee to play if you borrow, rent, or buy a used game. As for game focus, of course it's going to have the same exclusives that the 360 had, and some new ones. Of course it's going to have every third-party game that comes out, no one is doubting that. The reason people say it's not focusing on gaming is because not one of the new feature shown at the reveal were game-related. We seen that we can navigate through the menu via Kinect's voice commands, change our TV channels with Kinect, and manage our fantasy football with Xbox One. So how is it a different gaming experience from Xbox 360 aside from slightly improved graphics and more restrictions? It's not. Wii U added the Gamepad to allow players to play certain console games off-screen. PS4 is going to do something similar with the Vita and have a Facebook-like social app that shows all the games your friends are playing and allow people to upload gameplay videos. Both are implementing touch controls into their console games, which will probably allow developers to create some pretty neat controls since the PS4 and Wii U will have games DS/3DS and Vita could never hope to have. They're small enhancements, sure, but they're very appreciated enhancements. The fact that we didn't see a single new feature related to gaming (a positive one, at least, we seen plenty of negative features) is very disheartening. 


I just don't see a reason to invest $500 in a new console if the main focus is going to be the entertainment hub.  I can buy a DVR and Roku for $200 total and have all of that. And I don't feel like I'm in the future with some space-age technology just because of that Kinect-voice gimmick. I'm not 75 years old. Straight Talk prepaid phones can recognize voice, it's nothing new and it's a useless feature unless you're piss lazy. 

spaced92
spaced92

Lol, has the author not noticed the backlash against the Xbox or not? "Wooing the hardcore gamer", whatever a hardcore gamer is, is exactly what Sony need to do. Non gamers aren't going to buy an Xbox because it has the NFL on it ffs.

spaced92
spaced92 like.author.displayName 1 Like

By the way the 360 most certainly did not "win" the console wars, America is not the world.

ReverendJohnW
ReverendJohnW like.author.displayName 1 Like

The XBOX One's DRM is going to kill it

therealdude
therealdude like.author.displayName 1 Like

@ReverendJohnW That and the camera/mic thing. No matter how anonymous it is, I don't think people want Microsoft watching and/or listening to them at home while they're using the product. These days it's almost like Microsoft has a dedicated research department to discover new innovative ways to make you hate their products. 

Oddvintagechap
Oddvintagechap

Oh boy. You sir need to read this 


http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/digitalfoundry-spec-analysis-xbox-one


PS4 destroys XBoxOne. Hardcore gamers are the ones that are gonna drop 500 dollars the first 6 months. Not the the guy that wants to switch channels with his voice. Xbox 360 was a disaster. Microsoft rushed things to get a ahead start. 10 millions people had the console. PS3 comes out. What are people most likely gonna get a PS3 or a Xbox360 when most of your friends have the other. ONE PROBLEM after Microsofts success? A EXTREME amount of hardware failure. Those Early Adopters arent going to jump into the next Xbox so easily. 

Xbox One is inferior to PS4 in everyway unless you are interested n HDMI in and Kinect 2.

JeromeClarke
JeromeClarke

Yo get it  right  Xbox one has 8GB  DDR3 and ps4 has 8 GB Gddr5  waaaaaaaaaaay diffrent memory sir

kingheeb
kingheeb like.author.displayName 1 Like

You are correct...media people really don't see a difference because details like that don't fit their agenda. Sony tooting its horn for being game-centric is important to gamers. All the social media integration into my game systems makes me vomit. And when a person downplays the differences between the systems it shows their ignorance on the subject. Everybody boo the author of this article....booooo.

GobFather
GobFather

@kingheeb The author is definitely out of touch with the gaming community... just because he owns a console and have been to gaming conference, he think he knows everything about gaming. Look at the way he is out of touch by this statement, "I’m not even sure what the pro-gamer chest-beating accomplishes in the end."   Let me point out another contradiction

It’s meaningless in all the ways that really matter, and it distracts from the more serious issue of what will become of used, rented and borrowed games."  So let me get this straight, chest-beating is useless when it's talking "gamer focus"/specs, yet one of the major topic people of chest-beating IS for the used, rented and borrowed games as well... which you say is important, yet you're saying don't go chest-beating so just sit back?  So much contradiction to confuse people thinking he's not as biased as he seems.  

IcyEyes
IcyEyes

I always wonder why do you guys think the MS with the X360 is winning the console war ... 

-The x360 is no more the top selling console

-In NA x360 is the number one ... but how many console still working ? (the rrod was a plague...)

-The Ps3 have a better and winder range of exclusive game


Just because the difference between the Ps2 and Ps3 ?

Well, have fun anyway.

jonfrog
jonfrog

@IcyEyes i think the reason why people say it is because is you look at the NPDs for north america the 360 beat out all consoles for 3 year in row. but that was only north amreica, not sure what the numbers are for other countries are. Another reason is because when looking at multiplatform game sales in north america, the 360 would beeat out the PS3 almost everytime(but if they're beating them in console sales for north america its not a real shoker). but thats pretty much the reason why.

Lacerz
Lacerz

I think it's a fair article.  The PS4 hardware appears more robust, at least on paper, but we'll have to see how everything plays out.  Cloud computing may negate any hardware advantages.  Microsoft is already stating that using the cloud to process some of the graphics is part of their plan, and one would assume Sony would use Gaikai for the same thing in the future.

Where Microsoft has stumbled is in their messaging.  I believe we can all agree on that.  My initial impression is that Microsoft wanted some really draconian measures in place and are now having to walk those plans back due to the backlash from what's been released so far.  I find this a bit concerning since Terms of Use can be changed with any software update, and features that were disabled can be enabled.  Sony did this when they removed the ability to load a different operating system on the PS3.  I didn't buy a PS3 for that reason, but it was something that was advertised when I bought it and to have them take it away with an update should be a cause for concern.

uneek2005
uneek2005

You didn't buy a gaming console because they took away Linux? Wow, that's why gaming is going down hill. What ever happened to caring about gaming?! Don't buy the next console either, ps4 needs less none gamers.

Lacerz
Lacerz

@uneek2005 

No, I didn't buy it because of the offered feature.  I bought it because the 60GB Fatboy with the "chrome" trim looked awesome.  My bad for not articulating properly.

MementoMori
MementoMori

Some quibbles with the framing here.

Saying Sony is "wooing the hardcore gaming set" is like saying the cable companies are "wooing the hardcore tv watching set". What is a 'hardcore gamer' these days? Someone who owns an Xbox or PS3? Are you aware of how many people you just dumped into the "hardcore gamer" group?

You might be able to call PC gamers with $3000 rigs playing Diablo III for 25 hours a week a "hardcore gamer", but not the average console owner, certainly not in 2013.

Which damages your entire premise of Sony "wooing the hardcore gaming set". They're not. They're appealing to the millions of people who bought a previous generation of consoles to, y'know, play games on. 

So, you might want to drop the mid 90's caricature of a "gamer" for a more up-to-date version, unless my 7-year old (who played all of the Lego games on the XBox) is now considered "hardcore".

Jamaris
Jamaris

Asking why this is a big deal is pretty obvious. Look at all the anti-gamer crap being added to the Xbox One. Non-transferall of Xbox live content (all those games and DLC you bought? Joke's on you!), no used games, no backwards compatibility, always online (it may as well be, I know it's only once every 24 hours), and Kinect is -required- (because it did SO WELL for the 360).

This thing is a disaster. They're gonna have to pull out some major redesign.

jonfrog
jonfrog

@Jamaris  I agree with you that the xbox one isnt sounding copletely perfect, but then again what console is? it's a real bummer that i wont be able to transfer my arcade title over, but in all honesty i don't really go back to play older games, on arcade or store releases for that matter. so not having backwards compatability really isnt a big deal, and according a report released by the xbox team, apparently only a small percentage of all 360 users have ever used the feature in the first place, i think it said only 5%, so really what does it matter. as for the used game thing and the always online rumor, it hasnt been confirmed.

But i really have to ask do any of you trully believe that they would put in a feature that would block people from using the console if they weren't constantly online. also as for the kinect thing that rumor was debunct earlier this week, and it doesnt have to be on all the time and you can turn it off.

saigon1914
saigon1914

@jonfrog 

Just wondering, have you been paying attention. MS confirmed the used game situation saying it won't be blocked but they did not confirm the logistics around how it won't be blocked. Most are speculating that there will be some fee around used games. Something we have to wait till E3 for confirmation. Also MS confirmed that the system will need to be online at least once in a 24-hour period. If that is not always online, I don't know what is. My concern is what happens to individuals that do not have internet. 

durlonb
durlonb

Regardless of what gets announced, I always find myself enjoying Sony’s presentation a lot more. The result? Microsoft is winning the console wars.


Wait....isn't this a contradiction in words? How can you say you like Sony's presentations more, and yet say that M$ is winning?  By what criteria are you defining as "winning"?


Read more: http://techland.time.com/2013/06/01/the-playstation-4-is-first-and-foremost-a-video-game-console-so/#ixzz2Uygb8cIR

newmanjb
newmanjb moderator

More sales.

newmanjb
newmanjb moderator

Ugh, I realized worldwide sales are basically neck and neck. I tend to focus on the US market so that's an error on my part. Updated the story accordingly.

RClark
RClark

@newmanjb 

Hey newmanjb,  it matters because GAMING was, is, and will always be the life blood of any console.  No matter how much multi media integration and social application that is tacked onto these consoles, without a robust focus on games, it's pointless.  I like to compare it to the cell phone industry.  Smart phones are great with their apps, games, internet, music, video, etc.  Yet the basic function of a smart phone is that it still has to be able to make a damn phone call! It's the same with consoles.  All of the multi media mumbo jumbo is nice but you can already get all of that stuff through other means.  The only, and I mean ONLY thing that makes a console unique is it's library of exclusive games.

TheUSASocialist
TheUSASocialist

The ps4 is about 50 persent more powerful if all the specs are right, and the ram is alot slower on xbox. Just to let you know.

newmanjb
newmanjb moderator

Wasn't the PS3 more powerful on paper than the 360 as well?

lenny0487
lenny0487

@newmanjb PS3 overtook the 360 in sales -_-  dont know what you mean by microsoft "winning" the console wars.

arleo_09
arleo_09

@newmanjb You ask that question as id the difference between the two isn't obvious. Just look at the exclusives. PS3 ones are better. And with PS4 the difference could be more noticeable even with multiplats since Ms is using a slower RAM while dedicating 3Gb to the OS, and letting 5Gb to the games.

arleo_09
arleo_09 like.author.displayName 1 Like

@newmanjb @arleo_09 You get me wrong. I said that you've asked your question as if the difference in the quality of PS3 and X360 exclusives weren't noticeable (mostly graohics) . And there is an obvious difference. Exclusives like GodOfWar, Uncharted have the best graphics on consoles. That justifies that PS3 is more powerful than X360 on the paper. On multiplats, it's nearly impossible to tell the difference now. And I went on saying, that difference could be wider between PS4 and X1 (even for multiplats) since PS4 has 2 more gigabyt of RAM (dedicated to games) than the X1 has.

newmanjb
newmanjb moderator

@arleo_09 @newmanjb Okay, you have a list of exclusives from both consoles? Microsoft hasn't even talked about their lineup yet.

jerry420ification
jerry420ification like.author.displayName 1 Like

@newmanjbYeah, it was but this is a little different.   Did you write this article because you said  that both systems have 8 GB of ram, what kind of ram?  


You should have put the Xbox has 8 GB of DDR3 ram while the PS4 has 8 GB of DDR5 ram, it's completely different.    Also the Xbox REQUIRES an internet connection to function.   That means that each potential customer that doesn't have internet,  they are ineligible to own a Xbox one.  How many customers now buy a console without worrying about needing internet?   A lot 

GobFather
GobFather like.author.displayName 1 Like

@newmanjb @jerry420ification Don't be a hypocrite by saying "I never argued that the One will be better than the PS4." by finishing your article with, "The result? Microsoft is winning the console wars."  OH, you weren't implying it, just stating the facts?  I mean who makes a bold GENERAL statement like that without implying one is better than another?  Based on facts?

I liked how you said you only considered "NA" when talking about games, next will you make a general claim that microsoft won because xbox sold the most in your state by saying Microsoft  won*P.S. I am only talking about my state*?  Courtesy of VGCHARTZ: PS3: 77.33 vs XBOX360 77.31 Global as of Today.  Now before you say neck to neck, didn't xbox360, came out 1 YEAR before?  In year to year and every other aspect, ps3 is winning so why would you make a biased statement choosing the only part that microsoft is winning to make that claim?  

Love your last paragraph because in essence it is saying, (why bother complaining about Microsoft when they know what they're doing... I mean they're winning the console war, right?  But I'm not implying one is better and just so I don't sound biased, I will say "I enjoy Sony's presentation" right before I say that microsoft is winning. )  riiiight

BTW, isn't Internet-Based gaming device (the important issue as you stated), the same as who is "gamer-focused"?  If they are gamer-focused, would they NOT address it?  I think you are trying to distract us with confusing statement so that you don't sound biased but fair.  Am I wrong?

newmanjb
newmanjb moderator

@jerry420ification @newmanjb Like I said in the story, the actual real-world affects of the RAM won't be clear for a long time to come. And it may be completely overridden by other factors, like whether the games in question are any good. (I tend to be a gameplay over graphics person, so that's just my view of things.)

Yep, the "phone home" functionality of the Xbox One is a concern. Or at least it is in places where's no Internet. No disagreements there. I never argued that the One will be better than the PS4. In fact, I said all this beef over who's more "gamer-focused" is distracting from these more important issues of whether players are better or worse off with an Internet-based gaming device.