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  1. ITV Report

PlayStation 4 leaves industry critics underwhelmed

Sony unveils the the new Dual Shock 4 controller to go with the PlayStation 4. Photo: Reuters

Sony’s unveiling of the PlayStation 4 appeared to leave industry critics underwhelmed, with many unimpressed at the absence of the actual console at the launch event.

Some analysts suggested that a potentially expensive living room console represented an old-fashioned approach to the now mobile world of gaming.

Rob Fahey, from gamesindustry.biz argued that the company was taking steps in the “right direction” but it still needed to prove its “relevance in an age of tablets and mobiles”.

Techcrunch accused Sony of “falling back on graphics, eye candy and tech demos” without doing anything to “stem the rising tide of mobile platforms like iOS and Android”.

James McQuivey, an analyst at global research firm Forrester, wrote:

Sony believes the future will be like the past and has built the game console to prove it.

The company didn’t even show the console or add pricing detail. This was about as big a disappointment as a major product announcement can be.

McQuivey even went as far as to suggest that “Sony will sell fewer PS4s than it did PS3s”.

"It looks good and had a lot of great games but the industry is different now," said Billy Pidgeon, an analyst at Inside Network Research.

He added: "It'll be a slow burn and not heavy uptake right away".

Sony launched its PlayStation 4 in New York but critics were left unimpressed at the absence of the console itself. Credit: ITV News

However, at the launch in Hammerstein Ballroom in New York's Manhattan Center, Sony Computer Entertainment president Andrew House claimed the console would create "experiences that surpass gamers' wildest expectations".

The architect of the PS4, Mark Cerny, said the console would take an "exponential leap" over its predecessors and the platform is "by game creators for game creators".

In spite of the underwhelming reaction, Tom Hoggins of the Telegraph described some of the new features provided by Sony as “potentially brilliant".

The new console will be powered by an X86 CPU and enhanced PC graphics processor with 8GB of memory.

An image from Sony's new PlayStation 4 game Killzone. Credit: Sony

Despite not showcasing the physical design of the next generation console, Sony did unveil the new Dual Shock 4 controller which has a front touchpad and a motion sensor bar.

The sensor bar will communicate with a motion-sensing camera on the console to identify players and utilise motion control.

The “Share” button on the revamped controller will allow gamers to post clips of their gaming on websites such as YouTube as well as being able to send messages.

Kotaku, a blog focused on video games, described the sharing concept as “enticing” and said the new Dualshock 4 provided some “interesting features”.

The much anticipated unveiling comes six years after the release of the PlayStation 3 which sold more than 70 million consoles worldwide.

The games market has changed significantly since its predecessors release with the rise of smartphones and tablets making gaming far cheaper and more accessible on the move.

Sony has attempted to adapt to the new social gaming landscape by creating, what it bills as, deeply ‘integrated social capabilities'.

The PlayStation 4 will have an app on Android and Apple mobile devices that connects to console games and can act as a second screen.

Other features will include the “intelligent personalisation” concept which automatically suggests content to suit individuals and their gaming tastes.

The PlayStation 4 will have an app on Android and Apple mobile devices that connects to console games and can act as a second screen. Credit: Reuters

While many welcomed the steps Sony has taken in adapting to a much-changed gaming environment, others were left bemused by the absence of any visual design of the console.

The gadget website Gizmodo expressed its annoyance that Sony had failed to display the console but admitted Sony had “stoked our excitement” and was “playing hard to get”. The website was also impressed by the emphasis on personalisation and social integration.

Critics were also left disappointed with the fact that the price and release date were not revealed, although rumours suggest that the console will be available by Christmas this year and will be priced at around £300 in Britain.

The “console wars” will be reignited if Microsoft, as expected, unveils the successor to the XBOX 360 at the E3 videogames conference in June.

Experts claim the potential success of the PlayStation 4 will have a vital role to play in Sony’s survival or demise. The struggling Japanese firm posted a £3.2 billion loss last year marking the fourth year it ended in deficit.

Sony will be hoping the PS4 can revive its flagging fortunes and win the “console war”.