With sluggish Wii U sales and a flurry of complaints about the Xbox One, Sony appears to have already won the next-generation video game console war. Sony Computer Entertainment CEO Andrew House, speaking at today’s E3 opening day, pulled no punches in calling out Microsoft’s controversial Xbox One policies – requiring daily internet connection “check-ins” and giving publishers the option of restricting the sale and trade of used games. "The gaming landscape is changing with new business models and new ways to play,” House said.
After a February press event that failed to reveal any physical hints about the new PlayStation design, followed by another in May that teased the hardware more than exposing it, PS4 was finally shown to the public. It exhibits an “italicized” rectangular shape, finished with a combination of matte and glossy black that is broken into four quadrants (much like the Xbox One). Gizmodo said the new hardware “looks a bit bulky at first glance, like an onyx coffee table book that you keep propped up by your television.”
The PlayStation 4 will come with an AMD X86 hecta-core processor, an enhanced Radeon PC GPU, 8GB of RAM, and 500GB of storage. The new DualShock controller will incorporate a touch pad, a headphone jack, and a “share” button – in line with Sony’s commitment to make its gaming experience more social. PS4 will allow users to share gameplay clips, spectate on friends’ games, or virtually assist a friend with a difficult level.Enjoying this article? Click here to subscribe for full access. Just $5 a month.
Sony also announced the PS4’s highly competitive $399 price point: $100 less than Xbox One. With similar spec sheets, Microsoft will have to defend its price based on the inclusion of a Kinect 2 gaming camera. Sony’s answer to the Kinect, the PlayStation Eye, will be sold separately at $59, which still keeps the combined price less than an Xbox One.
The biggest relief for gaming fans, and perhaps the biggest slight against the Xbox One, is that the new PlayStation will be taking a completely hands-off approach when it comes to used games. Jack Tretton, Sony Computer Entertainment of America’s CEO, said that there will be “no restrictions” on the sale, trade, or lending of used games.
Additionally, PS4 won’t require constant Internet connectivity or daily check-ins for playing non-online games. "PlayStation 4 disc-based games don't need to be connected online to play or any type of authentication," Tretton explained, taking direct aim at Microsoft. "If you enjoy playing single-player games offline, PS4 won't require to you check in online period and it won't stop working if you haven't authenticated in 24 hours."
Microsoft fell short in many gamer’s eyes when it touted the Xbox One as a media device more than a dedicated gaming console. Sony made no qualms about presenting itself as a gaming system first and a media hub second. The PS4 currently has 20 exclusive launch titles, including world-renowned RPGs Final Fantasy XV and Kingdom Hearts 3. Bungie, the developer of the Xbox-only Halo franchise, will release its massive online first-person shooter Destiny exclusively on the PS4*. Sony’s own Santa Monica Studio, birthplace of the God of War series, is developing another PS4-only title called The Order.
E3 is the hype machine for the gaming industry, and after opening day, Sony has already solidified itself as a force to be reckoned with during the 2013 holiday shopping season, when the Xbox One and PS4 will become available to the masses.
Which are you more excited for: Xbox One or PS4? Which console showed off better game titles? Share your opinion in the comment section below.
*Correction: Destiny will also be available on the Xbox 360 and Xbox One, but will carry exclusive content for the Sony platforms.