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That's what the press was told, but Sony didn't show a working machine. Instead, it showed films from game companies and promised hardware in the fourth quarter of this year,
as the Washington Post noted. Lead system architect Mark Cerny talked up the new box while holding a mock-up of the controller, which looks just like the old controller except for the addition of a small touchscreen.
Reviews from the tech press were stark and negative,
according to Techcrunch. The PS4 was trending on
Google Plus as this was written,
and it's pretty brutal.
The launch comes on the heels of a complete failure by rival
Nintendo(NTDOY), which launched its Wii U in November and has since seen sales nosedive,
as DigitalTrends notes.GameSutra says
fewer than 60,000 Wii U units moved in January, trailing the previous Wii console badly.
Sony's PlayStation competition is no longer limited to
Microsoft(MSFT - Get Report) and Nintendo. Social games, mobile games and free games played on tablets like
Apple's(AAPL) iPad are stealing time from dedicated consoles. Kids are no longer just sitting in their rooms, alone, pushing buttons. They're out in the world, interacting through networks, making the whole console experience look very 20th century.
In some ways the Sony event reminded me of a famous Microsoft sales meeting from the last decade, where CEO Steve Ballmer marched across the stage shouting
"developers, developers, developers." This did not save Microsoft from the iPad.
It's like the old joke about the Lone Ranger telling Tonto, "We're surrounded by Indians." "What you mean we, kemosabe?" Tonto replies. Which developers could well tell Sony this fall. If there is more money to be made investing in other platforms, that is what they will do. Cool isn't nearly as cool as cold, hard cash.
Sony shares were falling the day after the launch, but still stand almost 25% above the level of early January, before the company's hype machine kicked into high gear.