Sony took its best shot at stealing Microsoft’s thunder on Monday evening at E3 by announcing that its upcoming PlayStation 4 will arrive this holiday season for US$399.
That’s $100 less than the price Microsoft announced earlier in the day for its competing Xbox One, and the reaction was meet by thunderous applause that shook the Los Angeles Sports Arena serving as the backdrop for Sony’s Electronic Entertainment Expo press conference.
“Momentum and excitement across the industry has grown exponentially,” proclaimed Jack Tretton, president and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment of America.
‘We Won’t Impose Any New Restriction’
Perhaps even more exciting for some users than the lower price, however, was another gamer-friendly announcement Sony made at the event.
“The PS4 supports used games,” said Tretton. “We won’t impose any new restriction on gamers.”
More thunderous applause greeted that announcement, which came in stark contrast to Microsoft’s news that its Xbox One would require an always-on connection and thus limit users’ ability to sell the games.
“When a gamer buys a PS4 game, they have the right to trade in that game, sell it to another person, lend it to a friend or keep it forever,” Tretton noted. “We won’t require you to check in online to play a game.”
PS3 Lives On
Sony began its press event by reaffirming its commitment to the PlayStation 3. The company offered a peek at several upcoming titles, including the soon-to-be released Last of Us, which Tretton noted has garnered some of the highest ratings so far this year.
The post-apocalyptic title was just one of several games that showed that while the PS4 is on the way, the PS3 still has some legs. Other titles shown for the device included the action platform game Puppeteer, racing game Gran Turismo 6 and the highly anticipated Beyond Two Souls, which features the voice talents of Hollywood stars Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe.
Sony brought out the big guns for the PlayStation 4, however, offering sneak peeks at upcoming titles including the steampunk alternate history action game The Order 1886, Killzone Shadow Fall, DriveClub and Knack.
“These games are really looking good,” said independent game analyst Billy Pidgeon. “Sony has pulled out the stops to show what the PS4 can do.”
Sony also offered a look at new titles from third-party developers, including Assassin’s Creed IV, NBA 2K 2014, Elder Scrolls Online and just a glimpse of Mad Max — a retelling of the cult movie series.
In all there are more than 140 titles in development for the upcoming system, Sony said.
‘It Is Very Important’
Still, taken together with the PS4’s relatively low price, it was primarily Sony’s support for used games that stood out at its event.
“It is important,” said Pidgeon. “It makes people feel better, because it is part of the gamer economy.”
Indeed, “it is very important,” agreed Greg Tarr, executive editor of the consumer electronics trade news site TWICE. “Gamers were very upset by the Microsoft news that they could not resell their used games.
“This could make the PS4 much more appealing to the hard-core gamer,” Tarr added.
Sony did also offer a few key points on how the PS4 will fit into the greater Sony umbrella.
Specifically, in addition to streaming services that will include Netflix and Vudu, the new system will feature Music Unlimited and Video Unlimited services, giving users access to more than 150,000 movies and TV shows as well as 20 million songs that can be streamed across Sony’ PlayStation platforms.
“Sony is clearly going after the living room as much as Microsoft,” said Pidgeon. “While this is as much about games, there is a bigger target for both companies.”