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Is the Playstation 4 an example of good design?

Last week, Sony released its long-awaited PlayStation 4 home videogame console to largely positive reviews. Many were pleased with the console's power, as it contains significantly more advanced hardware than the previous model, the PlayStation 3. Others were particularly happy with the controller, which underwent a redesign that drew it apart from Sony's much-maligned predecessor.

But what about the design of the console as a whole?

In a recent article for Fast Company, John Mabry and Roger Jackson, who are known for working on the design for the original Microsoft Xbox, critiqued Sony's new console. Despite being partially responsible for the PlayStation's primary competitor, the pair is fair to the device, pointing out several aspects that they liked. 

"With respect to configurability, the console has a particularly clever two-faced design philosophy that we loved," they wrote. "When laid horizontal, the forward facing elements are subtle, allowing the console to disappear within its surroundings. Placed vertically, the PlayStation logo jewel and power/state light bar become fully visible, going so far as to graphically play off one another (light bar leading to logo) giving it the desired bold presence as a show-car of the entertainment world."

However, they found the device's quadrilateral shape a bit off-putting at times. The slant makes it difficult to see where some of the wires were supposed to plug into the machine, for example. The writers also raised questions about how such a shape would look in a television cabinet full of rectangular devices.

But in the end, it was the controller and the promise of high-quality games that one them over. They know, as we at Sozo Design know, that when it comes to consumer electronics, functionality is just as important as form factor.

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