Photo: PR NewswireWhile Sony formally unveiled the PlayStation 4 at its media event Wednesday night, it left plenty of questions unanswered.
Much of that was deliberate. After all, the system won't hit store shelves until the holidays -- a good 9 months off -- and the company's marketing machine needs to keep some of its powder dry. But Sony ignored several concerns during its two-hour press conference, many of which remain top of mind for those interested in the next-generation console.
Luckily, Sony addressed a few of these following the reveal. Here's the lowdown on a handful of big issues.
Will the PS4 play used games?
One of the most pervasive rumors leading up to the unveiling of the PS4 was that the system would prevent owners from playing used games. Analysts have been skeptical the company would actually do this -- alienating the millions of gamers who enjoy trading games isn't a great business plan -- but patent filings made it seem possible.
There's good news for used game fans, however. Sony Worldwide Studios chief Shuhei Yoshida put the rumors to rest in a post-show talk with Eurogamer, saying simply: "So, used games can play on PS4. How is that?"
Now let’s hope the same silly chatter about used games getting banned on the next Xbox fades away.
Will the PS4 require an always-on Internet connection?
This rumor went hand in hand with the used games block chatter, but it made a lot more sense, since the console would then be able to automatically download things like system updates and game patches.
Kotaku, though, confirmed with a Sony PR rep that the system won’t require a consistent Internet connection. Yoshida also confirmed this in his Eurogamer chat, saying "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."
Will my PSN purchases on the PS3 carry over to the PS4?
Sony announced several visionary ideas about how the PlayStation Network will power the PS4 era last night, but it’s not going to help people who have invested a lot in their current system.
Both PSN purchases and saved games on the PS3 (even in the cloud, apparently) will not transfer to the new console. That’s due largely to the vastly different system architectures, which is also why your PS3 game collection won’t be playable on the PS4, either.
What does it look like?
Console reveals are a chess match. In the next few months, Microsoft will pull the curtain back on its own next-generation system. By keeping the hardware design hidden, Sony has an ace up its sleeve to distract from Microsoft’s coming out party.
Still, the lack of a box was a letdown. Much like Nintendo initially did with the Wii U, Sony only showed off the system's new controller, which, considering they were demoing games on stage, was a smart move. But according to Sony CEO Jack Tretton, the reason they didn't show the console itself is that it simply isn't finished.
"We’re certainly capable of showing playable game content, but we don’t have a mass-production box that we can bring out and pull out," he told All Things D. "That’s still in development in terms of final specs and design."
What will it cost and when will it be available?
These, of course, are the million dollar questions. They’re also, unfortunately, Sony’s most closely guarded secrets. There are rumors that the system will be sold for $429 and $529, but pricing rumors are rarely accurate.
As for the sales date, Sony says we’ll see it this holiday season. If tradition holds, that probably means sometime in November.