The Pitfalls of the PS4

The Pitfalls of the PS4

PlayStation fans around the world embraced each other out of sheer joy on Wednesday as the PS4 was officially unveiled. Sony held a press conference, we learned about some of the specs, and we saw some tech demos. All in all, it was a good night.

Of course, there were things that Sony didn’t immediately talk about, and some of those things are leaving us with a sinking feeling in the pits of our collective stomachs. Over the past day or so, we’ve gotten answers to a few of our burning questions, but enough of them remain unanswered that we’re not done feeling queasy quite yet.

So let’s look at the criticisms that have been levied since the big reveal, and try to figure out which ones have been debunked and which ones are still uncertain. Join us as we dig into the potential pitfalls of the PS4.

There Might Not Be a Disc Drive

A lot of people are nervous that the PS4 won’t contain an actual disc drive, meaning all of the games would be either downloaded or streamed. And since we didn’t actually see the console itself, we didn’t get to look at a disc drive or a lack thereof. A lot of people are taking that as a sign that the disc drive will indeed be absent.

Status: Debunked Game Informer has confirmed that the PS4 will include a Blu-ray disc drive.

The PS4 Could Block Used Games

With the amount of outcry we’ve heard in the games industry about the evils of used games, the rumor mill has kicked out heaps of stories about the next-generation consoles containing special DRM features that can block used games. Then, some patents were linked back to Sony, which happened to be all about used-game-blocking DRM. Of course, when Sony didn’t directly address this during their press conference, people started assuming that it was all part of a massive anti-used-games conspiracy, and lovers of used games began sharpening their pitchforks.

Status: Debunked – It’s been confirmed that the DRM copyrights had nothing to do with the PS4 . It’s kind of weird that the patents exist at all if they’re not specifically related to the PS4, but it’s good to hear nonetheless.

There Could Be an Always-Online Requirement

Sony seemed pretty excited about the social networking capabilities of their upcoming console. In all that excitement, though, they dropped a few buzzwords that seemed to imply an Internet connection would be hugely integral to the console’s functionality. Based on this, a lot of people were confused as to whether or not the PS4 would require an Internet connection in order to function at all.

Status: Debunked – Once again, we were getting all worked up over nothing. The PS4 will have a lot of cool online functionality, but even if you don’t have an Internet connection, you can still play your PS4 games .

It Could Be Way Too Expensive

With all the functionality and raw power Sony’s been boasting about, the PS4 is going to be an expensive machine, right? In fact, some sites are prematurely offering preorders, and those prices are pretty steep. EB games has PS4s listed at 899 Australian dollars , and ShopTo has the console listed at £399.85 , which is apparently a discount from the console’s actual price of £449.99.

Status: Unknown – Sony is keeping their lips shut about the console’s price, so we’re not sure how much money we should start putting aside. Still, I think Sony has learned their lesson from the backlash from the PS3’s $599.99 launch price, and I have a feeling they’re going to do whatever it takes to avoid all the ire that comes with an overly priced console launch.

And it’s not unusual for retailers to list absurdly high prices on hardware that has no listed price yet. That way, their overly anxious customers won’t feel disappointed if the price point ends up being more than the listed price that they saw when they put in their preorder.

Sony Could Offer a Gimped Console to Keep the Price Low

On the flipside of the previous statement, there’s a possibility that Sony will offer various price options for the PS4, as well as making certain features into upgrades we’ll have to pay for. Perhaps the initial hard drive will be absurdly small, and we’ll have to buy an external one in order to store all our digital goodies. Or maybe they’ll take a cue from the 360 and require users to purchase a network adaptor in order to get online wirelessly rather than just make it an onboard feature, though I admit the chances of this happening in today’s wifi climate are slim. Still, there are numerous ways Sony could keep the price low on this thing, and a lot of those ways actually make us kind of nervous.

Status: Unknown – We can’t really make a statement either way on this. I’m sure Sony is taking all of this into consideration at this point in an attempt to find that sweet spot between price and functionality. Consider our breath sufficiently held on this one.

PlayStation Plus Might Change Drastically

We’ve done the math here at Cheat Code Central, and we decided that PlayStation Plus is a much better deal than Microsoft’s alternative . We just love all the free stuff that comes along with it, and not being forced to pay for online play is a nice gesture of goodwill from Sony. But with as hard as they’ve been pushing Plus lately, it seems weird that they spent an entire two-hour conference not mentioning it. Will the PS4 do away with Plus altogether?

Another possibility is that Sony will implement a tiered payment service. Perhaps there will be higher, more expensive tiers that include more stuff. Of course, this could also mean paying for online play, or for other features that we’ve grown fairly dependent upon.

Status: Unkown – We don’t really know for sure why there was no mention of PlayStation Plus at the PS4 conference, but it’s quite possible that it’s just too early to be talked about at this juncture. I mean, we hardly ever learn about PS Plus specials more than a month in advance; it would actually be kind of strange for Sony to tell us what to expect from Plus on PS4 a good nine or ten months before the console arrives. Still, it would have been nice to at least confirm it would be there. Is that too much to ask?

The Pitfalls of the PS4

Also, one of the things that Sony fanboys constantly ram in the faces of their Microsoft-loving buddies is the fact that Sony doesn’t make us pay for online play. I’m pretty sure Sony understands how important this is to all of us, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

Streaming Games Might Come with a Price Tag

With Sony’s acquisition of Gaikai comes an exciting future for game streaming. And at the press event, we learned that the PS4 will be able to stream PSOne, PS2, and PS3 games. It sounds almost too good to be true. So what’s the catch? Will there be a monthly fee for game streaming? Will we need to re-buy games we already own in order to stream them?

Status: Unknown – Unfortunately, we don’t really know how this whole streaming thing is going to work. It sounds cool on paper, but there are a lot of caveats to consider. Hopefully we’ll know more about it all come E3.

Clearly there are still a lot of unknowns concerning the PS4. We’re sure Sony’s holding back some of the goods for their E3 press conference this year, but their silence on certain things is making us a little suspicious. Still, it’s hard to not be at least a little excited with the metaphorical smell of new console in our nostrils.

Josh Wirtanen
Editor / Social Media
Date: February 22, 2013
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