Sony has a message for Microsoft: We’re not screwing up this time. At the company’s E3 2013 press conference on Monday, Sony debuted a defiant, angular design for its box, then proceeded to directly undercut Microsoft’s Xbox One with a both a lower price and more permissive policy on used games.
For starters, the PlayStation 4 will allow you to play used games, no strings attached. Go on down to GameStop, pick up a used copy of Final Fantasy XV for PlayStation 4, you can pop it in the machine and play. No need for an additional fee, no need to be able to share it only with specific family members or people on your friends’ list that.
Not only that, but unlike the Xbox One, the PlayStation 4 does not require an online connection of any kind. Tretton even teased that the console will not, under any circumstances, boot out a player if they haven’t connected to the Internet for 24 hours. Which is precisely what the Xbox One will do.
That’s a startling reversal of E3 2006, when Sony, riding high from the success of the PlayStation 2, swept in and declared its PlayStation 3 would come in two packages, priced at $499 and a mind-boggling $599. Microsoft’s Xbox 360, which was already on sale, sold for only $399, and dominated early sales.
As for the much speculated-upon look of the new console, it looks like the sloping curves, bezels, and soft lines of the last generation are out, and angles are back. We’ve now seen the entire enclosure, and it can be described in one word: boxy. The black slab of plastic contains multiple smaller boxes within, and it looks like a nanotech-powered set of square Matryoshka dolls. While the lineup of games Sony present at its press conference were certainly sexy, the console did not strike us the same way. It might grow on us, but right now we’re trying to imagine keeping dust out of all of those holes on the backside.
Sony has learned from its mistakes. Its new console undercuts Microsoft’s by a full $100 and foregoes the byzantine digital rights management on the Xbox One. The gauntlet, as it were, has been thrown.