Feb. 22, 2013 at 3:12 PM ET
At long last, Sony has revealed its newest home video game machine — the PlayStation 4. Well, sort of.
At a flashy, big-screen-filled event in New York City on Wednesday, the electronics giant told a crowd full of journalists that the PlayStation 4 will arrive in stores this holiday season. And while Sony revealed a number of details about the successor to the PlayStation 3, it also left us with plenty of questions.
For example, what does the PlayStation 4 look like?
But since the big announcement (which you can read more about here), some new details about the machine — and some new questions — have emerged. Here's a look at the PlayStation 4 intel so far.
What we know
Game prices: Jack Tretton, president and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment of America, told CNBC that PlayStation 4 game prices would range from 99 cents to $60. We expect that $60 applies to the standard AAA game titles — which makes it in line with what gamers are currently paying and less than the $70 (or higher) that some rumors had pegged PS4 games at.
Not backwards compatible but ... The PlayStation 4 will not be backwards compatible with PlayStation 3 games, Shuhei Yoshida — President of Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios — told a group of game journalists after Wednesday's event. However, he said the machine may make older PS1, PS2 and PS3 games available on the PS4 via streaming. (Sony did purchase streaming game service Gaikai last year, after all.)
A new DualShock controller: There's a new controller in town. Sony gave us a good look at its motion-control enabled DualShock 4 controller on Wednesday and has since revealed some pretty pictures showing off the "share" button that will allow players to instantly broadcast their game live, as well as the touchpad.
The controller also features a built-in speaker and headset jack and a lightbar on the front that will be used for things like showing players when their character has taken damage during a game. The lightbar will also be used in conjunction with ...
A new PlayStation Eye camera: Sony's PlayStation Eye camera has been redesigned and, it must be said, it looks a bit like Microsoft's motion-and-voice-sensing Kinect peripheral. AmIright?
In a post on the official PlayStation blog, Yoshida says of the dual-camera peripheral, "it can sense the depth of the environment in front of it and also track the 3D location of the controller via its light bar. The new camera incorporates four microphones capable of accurate sound detection and source origination, and it will support the PlayStation Move motion controller with more precision than ever before."
The camera will also be able to track the 3D location of the DualShock 4 controller thanks to the controller's lightbar.
Some of the technical specs: Following Wednesday's reveal, Sony issued a press release outlining the PS4's technical specs — or at least the specs they're willing to reveal at the moment. Here's the official geeky outline of the console's guts:
Single-chip custom processor
CPU : x86-64 AMD "Jaguar", 8 cores
GPU : 1.84 TFLOPS, AMD next-generation Radeon based graphics engine
Hard Disk Drive
Super-Speed USB (USB 3.0) 、AUX
Ethernet (10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX, 1000BASE-T)
IEEE 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth 2.1 (EDR)
Digital Output (optical)
Online won't be required: While rumors have been circulating claiming that Microsoft's forthcoming competing game machine — the yet-to-be-announced successor to the Xbox 360 — will require owners to have a connection to the internet to play games, Sony has gone on the record saying that will not be the case with the PlayStation 4.
In an interview with Eurogamer, Yoshida said, "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."
Some of the games: We don't yet know exactly what the launch-day lineup of games is going to look like when the PS4 arrives in stores, but we did get a look at a number of games that are in the works. Ubisoft's open-world hacker game "Watch Dogs" will arrive on the day of launch, and Bungie's new project "Destiny" is coming to the machine as well.
For a full run-down of the PS4 games that were revealed and a look at them in action, check out this story.
WHAT WE DON'T KNOW
What the PlayStation 4 looks like: The PlayStation 4 itself was conspicuously missing from its own coming-out party. We saw the new controller, we saw the new camera, we saw a bunch of games and tech demos. But we didn't get a single glimpse of the machine.
Apparently we didn't get to see the PS4's design because it hasn't been finalized yet.
"We don’t have a mass-production box that we can bring out and pull out," Tretton told AllThingsD. "That’s still in development in terms of final specs and design."
Furthermore, Yoshida told game site Kotaku.com, "we have to keep something new for later. Otherwise you'd get bored." (We predict that means Sony will show off the machine itself at the big Electronic Entertainment Expo this summer.)
But as InGame editor Todd Kenreck points out in his video below, the external shape of the machine is not what really matters.
How much it will cost:Sony has not yet put a price tag on its future game machine, though recently leaked information suggests it will come in two versions, priced at $429 and $529
Sony misfired in a big way when it introduced the PlayStation 3 at $500 and a whopping $600 for the top-end model. The good news is, it sounds like the company has perhaps learned its lesson.
"I think our goal with this is to debut at a more consumer-friendly price," Tretton told AllThingsD, when asked about the PS4 price. "But we haven’t made any final decisions about what the price will be at launch."
The state of used games? Rumors have been circulating for some time that Sony and Microsoft's new game machines will block the use of used games. Needless to say, that does not sit well with many gamers, who feel that if they buy a game disc that means they own that game and should be able to share and resell it as they please. Meanwhile, used games are a great way for people on tight budgets to pick up a title at a more affordable price.
Sony didn't reveal anything about the PS4 and used games during its main event. However, Eurogamer popped the question to Yoshida and got an answer ... of sorts. Here's how the conversation went:
Eurogamer: One of the questions my readers really want an answer to is whether you're going to block the use of second-hand or 'used' games, because it's a huge concern for them.
Shuhei Yoshida: Do you want us to do that?
Eurogamer: No. I think if you buy something on a disc you have a kind of moral contract with the person you've bought it from that you retain some of that value and you can pass it on. Do you agree?
Shuhei Yoshida: Yes. That's the general expectation by consumers. They purchase physical form, they want to use it everywhere, right? So that's my expectation.
Eurogamer: So if someone buys a PlayStation 4 game, you're not going to stop them reselling it?
Shuhei Yoshida Aaaah. [Asks PR adviser.] So what was our official answer to our internal question? [Consults adviser.] So, used games can play on PS4. How is that?
So take from that what you will. It looks good for used game fans, but there's certainly plenty of wiggle room in the way he phrased his answers.
Winda Benedetti writes about video games for NBC News. You can follow her tweets about games and other things on Twitter here @WindaBenedetti and you can follow her on Google+. Meanwhile, be sure to check out the IN-GAME FACEBOOK PAGE to discuss the day's gaming news and reviews.