First PS4 design was "totally different"

Chief designer reveals first iteration of PlayStation 4 external design varied significantly from finalized version.

The first PlayStation 4 external design concept was "totally different" than the finalized version Sony will put on sale next month. Chief designer of the UX Platform Design Group Tesu Sumii revealed the detail in an interview with the PlayStation Blog discussing the design philosophy for the system.

"When we started the product design for PS4, we didn't start by thinking about what the shape would be. It was more about how we were going to create a new brand identity through the product," Sumii said.

He did not provide an image of this concept or any other details on how it varied from the final design.

Though the final PS4 design would end up being "totally different" than the first concept, Sumii said the main design principles remained intact throughout the evolution of the hardware.

"I just wanted to make a simple object for the living room. Sometimes products are a little too exaggerated. It should be simple. That's my thinking," he said.

Sumii said another goal in the design process was to ensure that the PS4 "looked good" from every position, whether oriented horizontally or vertically.

"I think about the horizontal, not just the vertical," he said. "I think about the 360 degree view. The reverse should be beautiful, too."

Microsoft's Xbox One, on the other hand, is designed to be situated horizontally only. "We don't support vertical orientation; do it at your own risk," senior director of product management and planning at Xbox Albert Penello told GameSpot at the Tokyo Game Show last month.

Overall, Sumii explained that his task in designing look of the PS4 was to "create one single identity" across the PlayStation ecosystem, including the DualShock 4, charging station, vertical stand, headset, and the PlayStation Vita.

"I think the PlayStation brand image needs to be changed a little bit, as it's a new console, and we have to show what we're pointing towards for the future. So I thought it should be one of the most smart, cool, and intelligent products from Sony. Not just from Sony Computer Entertainment, but the company as a whole," Sumii said.

"This should be one of the best, coolest, most sophisticated products we've created. That's what we were striving for," he added.

The PS4 launches in North America on November 15 for $400.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

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Discussion

61 comments
trollkind
trollkind

I'm just really happy it's a stackable design so it can fit nicely inbetween my fat PS2 and my fat PS3 on top. Not a lot of people put their video game consoles on a rotating stand under a spotlight in the middle of a room...

UNCStriker88
UNCStriker88

We had a plan..and then we saw the Xbox One...so we started over, at least the PS4 is pretty, but Sony is still losing money on it...

sanchango
sanchango

The only "cool" thing I've seen was the PS2 since you could rotate the PS symbol if you wanted to. 
simple yet cool lol XD

Gadeos
Gadeos

both consoles, ps4 and x1, look kind of ugly to me. Current gen looks way better. Still, I rather have a powerfull and fun crap-looking console than a pretty thing with no meat inside

milomell
milomell

the design is growing on me, but at first when they reveal it i was expecting a sleeker design than this, but the look of it right now grow on me

mdrieber
mdrieber

the console looks pretty bad imo... i mean i could maybe see people complain about the bulk of the xbox one (although it really shouldnt be a problem) but i couldnt stand having a system in the shape other than a square / rectangle.... (gamecube, xbox, xbox 360, ps2, ps3, wii have all been squares / rectangles) the whole rhombus shape is just ugly

Sun-Tzu-GE
Sun-Tzu-GE

I think it's the best looking console ever made.

danmanpro
danmanpro

I hate the look of the ps4...my ps3 slim (2010) model is perfect.

evoloner
evoloner

It most likley looked a lot better, thats why they changed it!

wookiegr
wookiegr

I much prefer the design and look of the Xbox One but we all know that beauty is only skin deep.

Megavideogamer
Megavideogamer

Disappointed that the "could have been" Playstation 4 wasn't shown.

Snakepond1
Snakepond1

If you're not going to show the concept art then what was the point of mentioning it. 

Gegglington
Gegglington

id like to see some concept drawings of both ps4 and xbone

dipdish
dipdish

Well, PS4 is smaller than PS3 slim, and the controller looks a tad better. PS4 design is also stylish, and easy on the eyes. Sorry, but I did not like the Xbox One design, even though it's an improvement, compared to 360.

neowarrior121
neowarrior121

im sorry but people commenting are giving such rubbish about the ps4 when the xbone is a big slab of a box that you can't even stand up horizontally, now im not saying its the best looking console but the ps4 is smaller, not very heavy and at least some imagination been put into it so it was different. the xbone looks like a heavy old vcr from the 1970's, the 360 looked great why couldn't they make the xbone look half as good as the 360 then maybe people might like it. 

toyo75
toyo75

While on the subject of design, Gamespot's new look is quite polarizing.

You'll either love it or hate it.

DARKSPACE
DARKSPACE

Since were on the subject of Design..  Can one of the GS staff members provide factual statements on "how many Mic'd Up users are able to PS4 Chat while doing either gaming or doing different things while we are all signed into PSN using PlayStation Plus?"

Looking for Hard Facts. Not assumptions..  Hoping to see 10 being the magic number.  Once achieved PSN totally separates itself from XBL...  Now that would be a great article for info and comment purpose.

DARKSPACE
DARKSPACE

My PS4 tower power will be standing tall.. No way would it be laying down.. That's for the Lazy.. LOL

DiscGuru101
DiscGuru101

PS4 actually made the XB1 look sleek and high-tech. It's like designing a car that suddenly makes a Prius look kinda sexy.

steelmouth
steelmouth

The current PS4 design is so damn ugly it scares me to think just how ugly the initial design was for them to settle for the current monstrosity

N12K
N12K

So I'm guessing the Xbone design was agreed on day 1 then

Darknight765
Darknight765

I notice that you don't write anything about MS in a Sony article.  This would make perfect sense, but you always seem to find a way to stick something about Sony and every MS article you write.

RicanV
RicanV moderator

Everything Sony does is just amazing. 

Dragon_Nexus
Dragon_Nexus

The Playstation 4 was at one point not a big black box? Colour me surprised.

pongley
pongley

So basically this was a waste of internet. Of course it was different when they first started, when is anything ever the same from concept to production?

Cell_kl
Cell_kl

@plm3d_basic yup, but then they didnt want ppl saying they ripped off XboxOne's design, so they changed it

danusty
danusty

@danmanpro I wouldn't say it's perfect but it sure is prettier. I'd like a ps3 with the same size as the last ps2 slim model

danusty
danusty

@Megavideogamer my thoughts exactly. I only clicked on the link just so I could see it. I didn't even read the article

sanchango
sanchango

@Gegglington there are already xbox concept designs that were released a couple months back. I think it was around the time before xbox reversed their policies and Don Mattrick left

Cell_kl
Cell_kl

@dipdish i personally agree with u, i think it looks great. But its all opinion at the end of the day.

mdrieber
mdrieber

@neowarrior121 i've never known anyone who actually stood up a 360 vertically... it looks ugly plain and simple.... not to mention inserting games is a bigger pain

calamityo
calamityo

@neowarrior121 Well how do you know that the X1 will be heavy?. But anyway both systems went for a retro, minimalistic, chic look.  

danusty
danusty

@toyo75 it looks like a crappier game trailers look IMO

UNCStriker88
UNCStriker88

Yea, where are all the facts about PS4? I don't think anyone preordering a PS4 really knows what they will be getting. How is the PS4 OS really going to work? How is Sony improving online? Why is Sony not giving any details to consumers? Quite disconcerning...

mdrieber
mdrieber

@steelmouth pretty spot on.... we've been doing squares / rectangles for how many years??? now they move to that deformed shape they call a rhombus.... what a joke

se007
se007

@pongley This reminds me south park episode, when the internet was down countrywide, and people were forced to migrate in search of a place where it still worked! :)

iampenguin
iampenguin

@pongley your avatar is wasting my internet next time don't post if you have nothing meaningful to say.

mdrieber
mdrieber

@dipdish @DiscGuru101 no.... the fact people even compare the two is just simply idiotic.... you cant compare two objects just because theyre both "big rectangles"... how stupid you could be??? the vents are stylish... it has sleek, glossy textures.... no chunky buttons or flaps to insert bulky tapes.... that argument is absolutely one of the worst, although many sony fans lack real arguments against the xbox one, that there is

Cell_kl
Cell_kl

@mdrieber @dipdish @DiscGuru101 did u really just say we cant compare the two just because they r both "big rectangles"? R u possibly a tad bit slow? U do realize that we are comparing the two aesthetically because they r both consoles right? 

hertz_donut
hertz_donut

@mdrieber@dipdish@DiscGuru101

Um, those vents are on the top. Think of all of that dust being sucked in, or falling in when turned off or in standby mode. It probably wont go vertical because they would have cut corners again in the dvd/Bluray drive. You know the one... where it scratches the disk badly if you move the console with the disk still in it.

P.S. Xbox one is the UGLIEST console I have ever seen.