Sony put to bed a lot of questions this evening at its E3 Expo 2013 press conference that Microsoft stumbled with, fumbled and mangled last month. While Microsoft said it was up to publishers whether or not gamers could sell, trade, or loan their Xbox One games out, Sony threw out a phrase that resonated with gamers tonight: "True Consumer Ownership." Sony promised no restrictions on used games or rentals, loaning games out to friends, selling them, etc. This is what consumers had hoped to hear from Sony and the company did not disappoint them.
The other huge news coming out of Sony's press conference is that it would be $100 less than the Xbox One. Launching this holiday season, the PlayStation 4 will retail for $399. Microsoft announced earlier in the day that it would launch the Xbox One in November for $499.
Sony also spent a fair amount of time highlighting all the indie developers it is working with and all the indie games that would have their console debut on PS4. While Microsoft won't allow indies to self-publish, Sony has embraced that idea and run with it. This of course means more indie games on the PS4.
Those games include Transistor from Bastion creator Supergiant Games (coming in early 2014), Klei Entertainment's randomly generated survival game Don't Starve, Tribute Games' (the makers of Scott Pilgrim The Game creators) Mercenary Kings, Octodad: Dadliest Catch, cartoon zombie game Ray's The Dead, 17-Bit Games' (creators of Skulls of the Shogun) Galak-Z The Dimensional , Switchblade Monkey's Secret Ponchos, Red Barrels' survival horror game Outlast, and a full remake of the original Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee called Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee New N' Tasty.
The company took a little bit of time highlighting the fact that it would leverage content from Sony Entertainment, Sony Pictures, and Sony Music for its Video and Music Unlimited Service. It also announced that it would create original programming for the platform. Finally it plans to bring Flixster to the PlayStation platform family. Also coming to the PS4, PS3 and Vita is Redbox Instant.
Sony showed off a new IP called The Order 1886. The game is set in London in 1886 and involves some steam punk elements combined with gameplay that apparently involves hunting monsters.
Sony confirmed that the games it announced earlier in the year would be ready for launch when the PS4 goes public at the end of the year. Launch titles include Sony Japan Studio's Knack, Guerilla Games' Killzone: Shadow Fall and Driveclub from Evolution Studios. Infamous: Second Son from Sucker Punch Productions will launch in Q1 2014.
Of interest to Grand Theft Auto V fans is Grand Theft Auto 5 PlayStation 3 bundle to be released on Sept. 17 for $299. The bundle includes a custom Pulse headset. Speaking of PS3 games, Sony announced that a number of new PS3 games would be released this year including Puppeteer, Rain, The Last of Us, Batman: Arkham Origins, Beyond: Two Souls, and Gran Turismo 6.
Moving onto games for the PS4, Sony brought out an impressive line-up of first and third-party titles including Watch Dogs, Assassin's Creed: Black Flag, Final Fantasy 15, Kingdom Hearts 3, Diablo 3 on PS3 and PS4, Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn, NBA 2K14, Elder Scrolls Online, Mad Max, and many more.
While most of the games were shown off via trailers or one-off announcements, Bungie demoed its new game Destiny – which is best described as a cross between Halo and Borderlands. This is a game to watch no matter what platform it is on.
Finally Sony hinted that multiplayer gaming may require a PlayStation Plus subscription, which costs about $5 a month. Given that Microsoft has been doing this all along for its Xbox platform, this comes as no great surprise. The plus is that you don't have to have a Plus subscription to play single player games, download content or use your various entertainment apps. The PS + subscription also gives players access to free games every month.
Ultimately, Sony won this round of press conferences simply due to the fact that they will not require a constant connection – or even a check in after 24 hours offline – to play games, nor will they put any restrictions on used games. These are the two things that really managed to agitate gamers and now Sony is on the right side of those issues.
We will have more on Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo throughout the week. Stay tuned.