The PS4 has to do "PC like" stuff much better than the current PS3 to increase interest. I purchased the PS3 when I did because it was (at the time) an attractively priced blue-ray player and it also did gaming (which I really had very little interest in). If the PS4 doesn't do media sharing and streaming well and it can't easily do browsing, there is little reason for a non hard core gamer to give it a second look.
Using x86 doesn't make the PS4 any more or less able to compete with actual PCs than using the Cell processor did in the PS3. The PS4 isn't being sold as a PC replacement, it's being sold as a PS3/X-Box replacement. There is much to love in gaming consoles by developers. The model is fixed for 5-10 years. Piracy is less common. Consoles are sold specifically for gaming, so the developer has some real idea about the size of the market.
It's possible this will be hacked into a PC replacement by loading some other OS on it... one of the problems Microsoft had with the original X-box. But that's not impacting on the normal use of the console. Gaming consoles start out very, very competitive with desktop gaming PCs per dollar spent, often significantly better than PCs per dollar. But they don't stay that way: PCs change every year, PC games escalate to match. The fixed console, regardless of what's inside, starts out ahead, winds up behind. It happens every time.
"One sticking point is how Sony plans to maintain backward compatibility for all the classic games developed on PS2 and PS3."
Why does it *need* to?
If I'm a gamer, and I have and still play any of those classic games, it's because I have the game console to play them. If the PS4 won't play them, and I care that much, I simply keep the old console to play them. Many gamers have more than one game console.
If I'm Sony, I'm betting on an eco-system developing around the PS4, with new games being developed for it that will be compelling enough to drives sales of the console. (If I'm a game developer, I also have the possibility of games that can be developed for both console *and* PC because both use the same architecture and much of the code will be the same. This increases my potential market.)
Sony's announcement made clear this move was aimed at developers to have content available for the console. I think they made a smart move.
Unfortunately I don't own any Sony products anymore these days. Even 5-10 years ago, I had to have Sony camcorders, digital camera with memory sticks, TVs, CD player, walkman etc. Instead now I have iphone & Samsung Galaxy note, iPad/Samsung tablet, Samsung TVs, and I am thinking of buying a Microsoft surface tablet/PC combo product. The time has changed and Sony no longer produced things I need.
I think you are right that the big question is how they will compete with the Alienwares and other souped up PCs of the world. I suspect they won't.
The price to be paid for standards is commoditization.
Bye bye Kutaragi-san
I was absolutely disappointed of PS Vita memory card. I thought whether Sony has learned anything from its past product launch. Nowadays, consumers doesn't care the hidden benefit of a product. The convenience of the universal adaption matters more. The best example probably is the memory duo. It might support higher data rate. Yet, the fact is it cannot be used in the other devices w/o an adapter. Who would like to buy another set of memory once a new camera is bought?
Sony has made pretty good products. To this date, Sony high-end TV still deliver the best pictures among all brands. If money is not a concern, I will definitely go for it. Sony has made panorama available in digital cameras. It is the best feature that I have been looking for for years. Just like Yoshida said, there are multiple signs showing Sony has come out from Not Invented Here Syndrome. In addition, the fact that Sony has chosen x86 as the platform for PS4 is a very good sign. Now that Sony has understood ultimately consumers drive the success of a product, I hope the bright future ahead of Sony.
Yes, Sony has overcome the not invented here syndrome. The actual digital cameras, music players, ... support standard SD cards. These devices use standard protocols and file formats.
For that reason, no more no go for my wife and me. As a result my wife bought a Sony digital camera some half a year ago.