Initial reports concerning the console say that players will have to be connected online at all times to play any game, according to Game Informer. Although Internet-based co-op and versus gaming has become a critical part of the video game culture, this could deter some potential audiences.
Is Sony hurting its market share by forcing people to constantly stay online? questions the publication's Chris Warcraft.
The Game Informer writer also raised some other crucial points; constant Internet access can be expensive for some PlayStation owners. In addition to purchasing the console, which will undoubtedly be a pricey endeavor in itself, individual games can be sold for as much as $60 a pop. Combine that with an Internet fee and suddenly gaming just got a lot more expensive.
The standalone fact that players may not have a choice in the matter is a discomforting thought alone. What if gamers don't want to be online all the time? The offline option should be there. Luckily this information hasn't been 100 percent confirmed by Sony, so the video game community will have to wait and see the console through its development.
But for those hoping that Sony would ditch their anti-backwards compatibility campaign, they are sadly mistaken. The new gaming system is said to only support games created for that console, excluding titles for the original PlayStation and its two successors. Sony is also looking to encourage players to purchase new games, with a new anti-used games system, according to The Verge. Titles will be available as both a hard copy disc and a digital download through PlayStation's network. But once the game is purchased, customers will be required to lock it to their accounts. This means that if the owner were to trade or sell the game, the buyer will be limited in gameplay.
But this could disappoint more than gamers trying to save a little bit of cash. A significant portion of GameStop's profits come from used games sales, and this limited used content could create a dent in those sales. In 2010, the gaming retailer earned $2,394.1 million in used video game products after a 52-week period that concluded in January.
It isn't really in Sony's or Microsoft's best interests to block used games, gaming industry analyst Michael Pachter told GameIndustry International. It would benefit Activision and EA slightly, and would hurt GameStop a great deal. If Sony did this, I could see GameStop refusing to carry their console, and sales of the PS4 would therefore suffer.