Is It Too Soon for a PlayStation 4?
The symbols in the video (probably) say it all.
The PlayStation 3 was first introduced in 2005 — before even the iPhone, and an eternity in the gadget world. But do we need an update?
If a teaser video, featuring the PlayStation logo, that Sony recently released means what many people think it does, a new PlayStation may be on the way — sooner than expected. And maybe sooner than you need it.
Sony will hold a "See the Future" event in New York on February 20th, where the company may provide a first glimpse of its rumored PlayStation 4 game console.
This follows on the heels of Nintendo's new Wii U console, which came out last November. And it would keep Sony a step ahead of Microsoft, which is rumored to be announcing its successor to the Xbox 360 sometime over the next couple of months.
But with the PS3's popularity soaring and a slew of exciting games for the system on the way this year, does a PS4 make any sense for you now? If history is a guide, perhaps not.
When Sony announced its PlayStation 3 in 2005, the news landed with a thud. The lightweight SIXAXIS controller turned gamers off, comparing poorly to the rumble-heavy DualShock 2 controller on the PlayStation 2. (Sony has since replaced the SIXAXIS with the DualShock 3). The game showcase was also lackluster, and the price was sky-high, between $500 and $600, depending on the model. [See also: How The PlayStation 2 Changed Gaming]
Today, you've got many reasons to keep your PS3, or even buy one — at a price that's dropped to $300 (or a bit more for special editions like the new red model). First of all, the PlayStation 3 is still thriving, between popular game sequels that came out over the holidays and a promising 2013 line-up that includes "God of War: Ascension," the latest chapter in the ongoing saga of the mighty Kratos, and "The Last of Us," a stirring adventure from Naughty Dog, the developers of the "Uncharted" franchise.
And some of the rumored "next-gen" features in the PlayStation 4 sound a bit anticlimactic, or even negative. A rumored redesign of Sony's PlayStation Move, in which players strap sensors to their hands and feet, looks rather silly. Rumors also suggest the company will do away with its popular DualShock controller brand, in favor of a new, touchscreen interface. This could be a jarring to those used to the DualShock. But according to rumors, its design is rather innovative, with an interface that resembles a huge eight-ball like sphere embedded on a large touch pad. Definitely a far cry from the Wii U GamePad.
Sony also recently acquired technology that enables "console lock," which could tie purchased games to one system, and one system only. So much for taking a game to friends' houses to play it with them. And forget about buying used games at places like GameStop. Other people's games could be locked out of your new PS4.
Sony's next console, whenever it comes, will likely bring some impressive new features for fans to enjoy, like expansions of its PlayStation Plus program (which offers free and discounted games). And Sony's purchase of cloud gaming service Gaikai could make it possible for you to game without buying discs or waiting for downloads. There could also be PS4-only sequels to popular franchises like "Uncharted" and the "Gran Turismo" racing series.
But how much will the console be able to do at launch? And how much will it all cost? Only when we know, can we say if a PS4 is worth it. All eyes are on February 20th.