All the way back in February 2013, Sony revealed the PlayStation 4, while Microsoft debuted the Xbox One a few months later in May 2013. As Sony Computer Entertainment President Andrew House explained at Develop today, their decision to get the jump on Microsoft was very deliberate:
I think we were probably earlier in the announce than we have been previously, and that was very deliberate. I wanted to be out there first with the first announcement for this generation so you’ve got an opportunity to stake the ground and hopefully take something of a leadership position. Again, we’d had the experience of launching later than our competitor and that played very heavily to many of the thought processes and decisions made about PlayStation 4.
One big absence during their PS4 announcement event was the actual console itself. Instead of purposefully keeping the reveal until E3 2013 to combat Microsoft, House revealed that they were just caught off guard:
This is one where I think honestly we were a little caught off guard and wrong-footed. If you look back at our history of previous reveals, we generally always went with explaining what the concept would be, articulating what package the overall consumer experience was going to be and then later revealing the hardware. So this felt very natural and normal to us.
Earlier this year, House talked about how he wasn’t happy with the original PS4’s design, which led to multiple new prototypes being mocked up. At Develop, House explained how he came to a final decision: “My benchmark at the end of the day was knowing I was going to get up there at E3 and have to do this [he raised his hands at this point]. What would I be proudest holding?”