PlayStation 4 does not require an internet connection
"Social is big for us, but we understand there are some people who are anti-social!"
If Diablo 3 taught us anything, it's that not everyone loves the idea of games that demand an internet connection.
In fact, it was hard to find anyone who loved games that demand an internet connection, which was sort of the problem: if you can't outweigh the pain of potential inconvenience to whatever proportion of your audience, then you simply aren't going to win that battle. Click click click loot loot loot.
Good news, then, because Sony Computer Entertainment seems to have reached the same conclusion at a system level for PlayStation 4, and as the result the new console will do pretty much whatever you customise it to do when it comes to the internet.
Sony's super-slick PS4 conference talked about a lot of functionality that will clearly benefit from an internet connection more than ever before - a processing module that handles downloads in the console's suspend state, for one thing - but when I talked to Sony Worldwide Studios boss Shuhei Yoshida after the PS4 conference he was adamant it was all customisable.
Does the PlayStation 4 always need to be connected to the internet, I asked?
"You can play offline, but you may want to keep it connected," he suggested. "The system has the low-power mode - I don't know the official term - that the main system is shut down but the subsystem is awake. Downloading or updating or you can wake it up using either the tablet, smartphone or PS Vita."
Are all of those things optional, though? For people who have broadband data limits, for example? They can customise everything?
"Oh yes, yes, you can go offline totally. Social is big for us, but we understand there are some people who are anti-social! So if you don't want to connect to anyone else, you can do that."
Sony clearly isn't afraid of technical nuance. This is a company that announced its next-generation console by declaring it has an x86 architecture, advanced PC GPU, 8GB of GDDR5 memory and a massive hard disk. You may like some of its networking ideas. You may not like some of them. I got the impression speaking to Yoshida that Sony has other priorities.
Speaking from experience, it's always been good at allowing people to change what they want up to a logical point - far beyond any of its competitors - and I see no reason to suspect any change this generation.