While looking over news feeds today in a bid to determine what was big, I came across what seemed like a fairly common theme: Sony, following its big event in New York just a week ago, seemed to be doing a bit of backtracking as far as just what their new system could do and just when it would be making an appearance. What follows is a summary of what was found, and remarks besides.
First off, there is the issue of release dates. While the event couldn't have made things much clearer thanks to the exhibition of a rather large sign which read "Holiday 2013" for an arrival date, the question that should have followed--but no one really felt a need to ask until recently--was "where?". Fergal Gara, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
's managing director for the U.K., didn't seem confident that the "Holiday 2013" date really applied to Europe, saying in a discussion with Digital Spy that "at least" one region would be getting the system in "Holiday 2013", but he declined to say just which region--or regions--would be getting the system in time for that magical nebulous deadline. Gara did note, however, that release schedules would be released in more detail later, likely at the rapidly upcoming E3 event this June.
That's not the only unusual twist as far as the PlayStation
4 goes; the issue of used games is also rearing its ugly head again. While recent remarks from Sheuhei Yoshida seemed to finally kill off the used game issue once and for all, Fergal Gara once again threw wrenches into the works with his remarks. For instance, Gara reportedly said "the answer to the pre-owned question isn't clarified just yet and we're working through that and we'll announce our position in more detail as and when we can." Not exactly a bell-ringer of confidence.
Yet this may all be merely jumping at shadows, looking for the worst case where there is none. After all, distributed hardware launches are nothing new throughout the industry. For Sony to, say, start in Japan and move on from there wouldn't be abnormal. Additionally, "Holiday 2013" is a pretty big block of time. Thanksgiving qualifies as "Holiday 2013". Black Friday is commonly regarded as the unofficial start to the holiday shopping season
. But then, Halloween also falls into "Holiday 2013", kind of. I've seen Christmas trees up in a Hobby Lobby around Labor Day weekend. I once saw a particularly ambitious JCPenney location getting Christmas trees out on a fine sunny day in August. "Holiday 2013" is a big block of time, and a graduated release isn't out of line.
On used games, consider further: it's Sony's Europe guy who's throwing doubt on the issue. It may well ultimately be that Europe won't get used games, but everyone else will. But then, maybe Yoshida was the one who went off-message--there was a little back-and-forth with the translator on that one, as I recall--and Gara was frantically trying to pull the train back on the rails. Or maybe there's something a little more complex at work here, something a little more ambiguous than "yes, you can play used games" and more like "well, you can play used games, but only under certain circumstances".
Naturally, only time is going to tell exactly under what circumstances the new PlayStation will be released. With E3 getting closer by the day, more news should be available, and the whole situation will distinctly bear watching.