Don’t be disappointed next week when your brand new PS4 fails to play your hottest Kevin Federline CD. That’s just one of a few eye-opening limitation listed in the North American FAQ. In addition to not supporting audio CDs, PS4 won’t allow MP3 playback or media streamed from a PC. In fact, it appears the only way you’ll hear tunes on your PS4 is through Sony’s Music Unlimited service (and one would assume Youtube via PS4’s web browser).
Give Sony credit for being upfront about this (the FAQ even states that they’re looking for solutions to the MP3 problem), but it’s startling to see such a powerful new device that can’t read an audio CD. Maybe even a little fishy. Obviously, the CD format is on the way out, but there’s still a store in every mall that sells them.
The cynic’s take on this centers on the Music Unlimited (MU) service. No CDs or MP3s means an influx of MU users. Whether or not Sony curtailed audio playback to keep the PS4’s price tag low or to twist ears toward MU is anyone’s guess, but check out this article. Apparently, Sony’s offering a free month trial of Music Unlimited to early PS4 adopters. How generous of them–or should I say, what a shrewd way to get your audience hooked on a monthly media service.
Sony consoles have historically drawn casual eyes due to their multi-media offerings: PS1 gave you an extra CD player; PS2 saved gamers from buying a standalone DVD player; and PS3 was the cheapest Blu-Ray player on the market for years. It’ll be interesting to see how fans respond to the PS4’s audio playback limitations and how Sony handles those responses. The FAQ already has a not stating “*We appreciate your feedback and are exploring possibilities” in regard to the MP3 issue. The question is: are they exploring possibilities or just planning to?