Sony showed off what the PlayStation 4 can do, but not what it will look like.
The Japanese electronics giant talked about its upcoming game console for the first time and said it will go on sale next holiday season.
But Sony didn't reveal the device itself. Presenters played games projected on screens in the Manhattan Center Studios, but the PlayStations were hidden backstage throughout Wednesday night's event.
"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 color and a size fairly comparable to previous consoles," said Jack Tretton, CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment of America, the U.S.-based arm of the PlayStation business.
Tretton said the price of the PS4 hasn't been decided yet but hinted it won't be as high as the PlayStation 3, which debuted in 2006 with models for $500 and $600 and now sells for about $300.
The PS4 will be jostling for holiday attention with Microsoft's successor to the Xbox. Details on it are expected in June. Xbox 360 came out a year before PS3 and has been more popular, largely because of its robust online service, Xbox Live, which allows people to play games with others online.
Sony did reveal that the insides of the PS4 will essentially be a "supercharged PC," much like an Xbox. That's a departure from the old and idiosyncratic PlayStation design and should make it easier for developers to create games.
"We wanted to lower that barrier of entry and really give [game developers] the ability to create tremendous gaming experiences from Day One," Tretton said.
The adoption of PC chips means the new console won't be able to play games created for the three previous PlayStations. Instead, Sony said gamers will have to stream older games to the PS4 through the Internet.