June 12, 2013
Sony Steals Show From Microsoft
What a difference 10 hours and $100 makes. Sony upstaged Microsoft at this week’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles, the trade show for all things video games. Sony officially debuted its PlayStation 4 video game console, which had only previewed earlier this year.
While Microsoft was first out of the gate on Monday (the annual press conference day before the show officially opens), Sony ended up ahead. First Jack Tretton, president and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment of America, made a bold statement.
“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 told the audience, which included the bulk of the gaming press. “We won’t require you to check-in online to play a game.”
This is in notable contrast to Microsoft’s strategy for its upcoming Xbox One video game console, which will require an always on connection. That, and DRM issues, could mean that Xbox One games might be able to be sold or even easily played at a friend’s house.
Clearly, Sony was looking to make the PS4 stand out from the Xbox One; and for the record, this will be the first time the two rivals have gone head to head in the same holiday season. The PlayStation 2 had arrived in 2000 while the original Xbox came out a year later when rival Nintendo introduced its own GameCube.
In the end, Sony had the upper hand, but Microsoft pulled a digital “do over” just four years later and brought out the Xbox 360. Sony then had to do the catch up and introduced its PS3 in 2006 and competed with Nintendo’s smash hit the Wii.
Now the two titans will arrive for the same holiday, and in total Sony announced that there were now more than 140 titles in development for the upcoming system. That could be enough to give Sony a significant leg up.
But Tretton saved the best for the last.
Sony announced that the PlayStation 4 will arrive this holiday season (date to be announced) and, more importantly, it will arrive with a $399 price point. That is $100 less than the announced cost of the Xbox One and is actually $200 less than the cost of the PlayStation 3 back in 2006.
One analyst, who asked not to be named, suggested that Sony can afford this move as it hasn’t invested the millions of dollars as it had developing the Cell processor that is in the PS3. Moreover when the PS3 arrived it also included a Blu-ray drive, when Blu-ray players were costing $700 or more. The PS3, even at nearly $600 became one of the most affordable options for Blu-ray.
Without those costs, Sony can afford to “undercut” the cost of the Xbox One.
However, whether that $100 will make a difference has yet to be seen. Both companies have their rabid fans, and what isn’t clear is what Sony is actually including for the $399 price; it is known that Kinect (the motion control system) will be included for the $499 price.
In other words, it could be an interesting video game battle and this time it won’t be limited to just the action on the screen.
Image Credit: Sony