Posted by Chris Scott Barr on Jun 11, 2013

Sony Announces Details For PS4, While Taking Jabs At The Xbox One [E3 2013]

The last few months have been pretty tense, with regards to the forthcoming generation of consoles. Rumors swirled around both devices, with many of them being centered around used game sales, DRM, and a required always-on internet connection. Things only became worse after Microsoft created confusion after their poorly-received press conference last month. They did finally give out some solid info on all of these topics, and the results weren’t pretty. When combined with a $499 price tag, it would be optimistic to say that people were simply left with a bad taste in their mouth.

With Microsoft’s big conference out of the way, this left all eyes to turn toward Sony. They could have either shown that they were moving in the same direction as the Redmond camp, or win over the hearts of gamers everywhere with their own press briefing. Needless to say, they didn’t pull any punches.

After getting all of the fluff about PS3 and PS Vita out of the way, Sony started off light, by talking about various media services that would be offered. These competed rather well with what Microsoft talked up. However, they really glazed over these features, in order to get to the meat of things. First up, they announced that 40 titles were currently in development for the console, with 12 of them being brand new IPs (Rather than boring you with those details here, we’ve got pieces up on some of the big ones announced.)

After showing off some gameplay footage and a tech demo, Sony took their first swing: Indie publishers would be able to self-publish games on the PS4. In case you missed it, Microsoft explicitly stated that this would not be the case on the Xbox One. With the explosion of indie games in the last several years, this is a huge deal. It’s good to see that Sony understands this, and supports the little guys.

Now after showing off some great titles, Jack Tretton took the stage, with a smile on his face. This was the moment he was going to throw down the gauntlet, and tell Microsoft that the PS4 would be the winner in the upcoming console war. With that smile still on his lips, he announced that the PS4 will support used games. He made sure to state that when you buy a disc, you have the right to do whatever you want with it. You can play it, lend it to a friend, trade it in, or keep it. This was a direct jab at Microsoft. Think I’m kidding? Check out this video that Sony released shortly after the conference:

Now I’ve been to a number of these press conferences. I’ve seen some pretty major reveals. And I don’t think I’ve ever heard a crowd go quite this wild. There was a chant of “Sony” going on, at this point. But Jack just smiled, and continued on, driving another deft blow. The PS4 does not require an internet connection. You never have to connect it, no single player game will need to connect to a server before you play it. Once again, this was aimed square at the Redmond team.

He rode this wave and used the time to talk about the improved new features of PS+. Your existing PS+ account will carry over, and you’ll get Driveclub PS+ edition for free, along with some other goodies. The timing of this part was very well-planned, as he did manage to sneak something negative past most people. You will be required to have a PS+ subscription in order to play online with your friends. While this is unfortunate, it’s not surprising. You will still be able to use services like Netflix without a PS+ subscription, which still means you get a better free service than what is found on the Xbox platform.

Finally, the big piece of information that was on everyone’s mind was revealed: The price. The PS4 will retail for $399 (or €399/£349 depending on your location) when it launches. This places it $100 below the Xbox One. This was really Sony’s coup d’État. With a price that’s 20% lower than the competition, and the promise of giving consumers the freedoms that they demand, they ensured that Microsoft will have to fight for every inch of ground that they want.

I do want to point out how starkly contrasted this was, in comparison to the last time Sony talked up a brand new console at E3, back in 2006.

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