It was the two-hour presentation that previewed the powerful new gaming console that is Sony's new eagerly awaited PlayStation system; but there was one thing missing - the console itself.
As Sony offered its opening gambit in the next phase of the console wars some gamers were left feeling cheated by the fact the console itself failed to make an appearance.
Presenters played games that were projected on screens in a converted opera house, but the PlayStations themselves were hidden backstage throughout yesterday evening's two-hour event.
countdown until someone presses the share button accidentally and loses their job #ps4— mystery moon (@beetjeff) February 21, 2013
"I don't know that the box is going to be something that's going to have a dramatic impact on people's feelings about the game. It will be a colour and a size fairly comparable to previous consoles," said Jack Tretton, CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment of America, the US-based arm of the PlayStation business.
"There's a big story to tell here, and it's going to take between now and the holiday season to get all the details out there," Tretton said in an interview.
Also likely to have disappointed fans is the fact Sony failed to put a price on their shiny new console (assuming it is shiny – that is).
Tretton also said the console price was not yet decided, though experts suggest the cost will be unlikely to be less than £300.
Excitement over the new console, which is much more powerful than PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, reached fever pitch last night as presenters played games on screens in front of an invited audience.
Sony did say that the insides of the PS4 will essentially be a "supercharged PC," much like an Xbox.
My current PS4 theory is that Sony hasn't figured out how to ship an AMD CPU+GPU in a box that's small and cool. Because AMD hasn't either.— nilay patel (@reckless) February 21, 2013
Marking a big departure from the old and idiosyncratic PlayStation design and should make it easier for developers to create games. Sony Corp. is using processing chips made by Advanced Micro Devices Inc.
"One of the big challenges we faced in the past was that we created great technology that we handed over to the development community, and they had to go through a learning curve before they could harness it. And when they did, we saw some phenomenal games,"
Tretton said. "We wanted to lower that barrier of entry and really give them the ability to create tremendous gaming experiences from Day One."
But whilst details of the hardware beneath the bonnet were on offer, and some of the games were on display there was no sign of the box itself.
Sony did, however, showcase an updated controller that adds a touchpad and a "share" button.
I don't get it. What percentage of console gamers REALLY want the ability to share recorded gameplay clips? that's a key feature? #ps4— cliffski (@cliffski) February 21, 2013
The controller also features a light bar, which means a new PlayStation camera can more easily track the device for motion control.
As well as failing to reveal the console itself, Sony potentially risks a gaming backlash with the news that the new console won't be able to play games created for any of the three previous PlayStations, even though the PS4 will have a Blu-ray disc drive, just like the PS3.
Instead, Sony said gamers will have to stream older games to the PS4 through the Internet.
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