From its sleek angles to minimalist footprint, the original PS4 was largely championed for its design while the Xbox One drew comparisons to the VCRs of yesterday.
Further revisions to Sony’s next-gen console took a bit of a different approach – the Slim sliding into the background and Pro opting for a stacked approach – but its design ethos largely remained intact.
A couple standout special editions like the 20th Anniversary Edition and Destiny 2 PS4 Pro Bundle added some flare to the otherwise conservative console lineup and, as a whole, Sony has continued to prioritize its gaming first mantra.
Whether high end Bluetooth headphones or 4K TVs, the importance of elegance is something that can be seen across most of Sony’s consumer electronics, and in the case of its latest consoles, the principle falls in the hands of Tetsu Sumii.
Who designed the look of the PS4?
Although it’s widely publicized that Mark Cerny was the lead architect for the PS4’s internals, the man behind the look of the system is something covered with a little less vigor.
The official PlayStation blog has two pieces covering Tetsu Sumii, lead designer, but system performance is something that’s been given the spotlight ever since Sony’s official unveiling at E3 2013.
This interview in particular is well worth a look to get a sense of what he was thinking when initially drawing up the design. Among other things, Tetsu reveals that the PS4 looked “totally different” than what it is today and that simplicity was a driving force.
It’s something that’s also seen in the PS4 Slim and PS4 Pro, also designed by Tetsu Sumii.
Designed by Tetsu Sumii
Go searching for more on Tetsu Sumii and you’ll be quick to find his official website filled with a cache of original designs, history, and inspirations (you’ll even find an Xbox One controller among the wall of consumer products). One of the more interesting things about the industrial designer is that he’s been with Sony for over 20 years spanning cities like London, Lund, and Tokyo.
Apart from designing the 3 main PS4 models, he’s responsible for the 20th Anniversary Edition, PlayStation Platinum Headset, and WF-SP700N Bluetooth Earbuds among others.
What is he up to these days?
Since 2014, Tetsu has been the Art Director at Sony Computer Entertainment (now known as Sony interactive entertainment). It’s not yet confirmed who will be designing the PlayStation 5, but it’s safe to assume he’ll play some part in its final incarnation.
The design of the PS4 and all of its iterations took a step back from the rounded approach of the PS3, instead finding similarity with the PS2, and it will be interesting to see whether Sony continues the trend of angular simplicity for their upcoming next-gen console.
If tradition tells us anything, we’ll most likely first set eyes on the new console at E3 2020.
Lover of games, tech, nature, and strange electronic music. Shaped by Sega, PlayStation, Nintendo, and Xbox – platform agnostic ever since. Currently overwhelmed by choice on my Xbox Series X thanks to Game Pass.