In the seven years since the introduction of the PlayStation 3, we've seen our gaming consoles transform into living-room hubs through constant evolution and software updates. Those updates weren't always smooth – though on PS3, they were always happening – but it's easy to see just how far the platform has come.
Meanwhile, the designers of the PlayStation 4 were taking notes and designing a console that, feature by feature, sought to address the failings of its predecessor. The PS3 was notoriously difficult to program for, thanks to its proprietary silicon. So the PS4 was built to be developer-friendly, with a familiar, PC-like architecture. The PS3 was announced with a bizarre, boomerang-shaped controller, and launched with the rumble-free Sixaxis controller before settling into the never-great DualShock 3 controller. So the PS4 comes with the DualShock 4, inarguably the best controller Sony's ever made. And the PS3 launched at an abnormally high price point, costing $200 more than its competition. So the PS4 carries a far more aggressive price, asking $100 less than the competition this time around.
While Sony in 2006 was focused on driving adoption of the Blu-ray standard, envisioning another home media boom that never quite materialized, Sony in 2013 has no such distractions. The PS4 isn't built to sell 3D TVs, or Blu-ray discs or any other corporate mandate. It's a gaming console, a clear message that Sony has been quick to repeat.
That focus has resulted in a console that's better positioned than the PlayStation 3 was in 2006 to compete in an expanding turf war for the living room. But that same focus has also kept Sony from taking the kinds of chances that make generational leaps so exciting.