Sony came to E3 looking for a fight. Following in the wake of Microsoft’s press conference, the company took to the E3 stage revealing the PlayStation 4’s new affordable consumer friendly design, while showcasing a wide spectrum of diverse games. Sony pulled no punches capitalizing on Microsoft’s negative press and questioning them at every turn. Make no mistake; Sony wants to resume its role as the King of gaming.
Sony may not have intended to position itself as the champion of consumer rights this generation, but the company has certainly embraced the role. After Microsoft announced that the company would institute a form of built-in DRM in its new Xbox One console, all eyes turned to Sony. With the entire industry waiting to see if Sony would issue a similar practice, the tech giant remained silent on the matter; that is, until now.
Sony’s Jack Trenton took to the stage to announce that the PlayStation 4 would issue no form of internal DRM. Users will be able to purchase used games and share physical game copies with friends. It was a simple statement, but one that received a thunderous roar from the crowd. From there, Trenton added a few quips aimed at Microsoft’s expense, including the fact that the PS 4 disc-based games don’t require an internet connection, and the machine’s lack of a need to check for authentication. Each elongated pause was another dig at Microsoft; as the crowd wasn’t so much cheering for Sony, as it was cheering against Microsoft.
The crowd was so pleased with the news, that Trenton was able to sneak in the fact that Sony’s paid service PlayStation Plus will now be a requirement to play games online on the PS 4 with little fuss.
PS 3 and Vita Support
Similar to Microsoft, Sony wanted to make it abundantly clear that the company had every intention of continuing support for its current PS 3 and Vita platforms. The company rolled out recent success The Last of Us and showed new footage of David Cage’s new project Beyond: Two Souls. For Vita owners Sony intends to offer a number of re-mastered console hits including God of War 1 &2, Flower, Dead Nation, FFX, and FF X-2.
Sony did of course finally take the wraps off their new device, the PlayStation 4 which offers a black body with a sleek angular design; but the real focus of the show was on the games. The company was happy to tout its impressive array of exclusive titles including familiar franchises like Infamous: Second Son and Killzone: Shadow Falls. Exclusives Drive Club and Knack also made a second appearance; and Sony revealed two new exclusive titles The Order: 1886 a steam-punk fantasy shooter set in the 1800s, and Quantum Dream’s The Dark Sorcerer.
One of the places where Sony has shown to spate itself from Microsoft is the indie scene. The companies showed a strong commitment to independent developers highlighting both Don’t Starve and Transistor along with their respective developers. Sony has been adamant about making the PS 4 an approachable platform for smaller developers, offering the ability to self-publish titles. While Indies may not be a huge cash cow, the move shows incredible forward thinking on Sony’s part, especially as the current AAA market fold and buckle under its own weight.
Sony also made a point to showcase its impressive third party developer support. Sony used this portion of the show to appear to Japanese markets showing off Final Fantasy XV (formerly Versus 13) and Kingdom Hearts III. Sony didn’t forget about AAA fans either showing gameplay demos of Watch Dogs and Assassins Creed IV.
What truly impressed us about Sony was not only the volume, but the variety of games. The company showcased wide spectrum titles that will resonate across multiple regions. Sony is definitely targeting the core audience, but that doesn’t mean the company isn’t spreading a wide net.
Availability and Price
Finally, Sony put the final nail in the coffin when it announced that the PlayStation 4 would come to market this holiday season at $400, a whole $100 cheaper than Microsoft’s Xbox One. Considering that Sony’s new system contains expensive specs such as DDR5, nobody was expecting the company to undercut Microsoft. Sony is likely taking a sizeable hit at that price point, but it just further reiterates the fact that Sony’s playing for keeps this time out.