I could start this summary chronologically, but I know all of you want to hear the most important information first. After a stereotypically long PlayStation press conference, Sony ended the event with a grand slam. They told attendees the exact thing that they had been waiting to hear for the past 2 hours of the conference. Sony Computer Entertainment America President and CEO Jack Tretton came on stage and delivered a devastating blow to Microsoft’s new console:
“PlayStaiton 4 won’t impose any new restrictions on used PS4 games. When a gamer buys a PS4 disc they have the rights to use that copy of the game. They can trade in the game at retail, sell it to another person, lend it to a friend, or keep it forever. PlayStation 4 disc based games don’t need to be connected online to play, and it won’t stop working if you haven’t authenticated within 24 hours.”
Each announcement garnered ever more rounds of applause from the crowd. Sony played upon the controversy surrounding Microsoft’s new policies and the entire audience just ate it up. Andrew House, Group CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment, delivered the knockout punch by announcing that the new console will cost $399 in North America. “Is PlayStation the best place to play? Without a doubt. Thank you so much for being here. Goodnight.” Matt Helgeson of Game Informer Magazine said, after the conference concluded, “This is my 13th E3…and I’ve seen a lot of press conferences. I don’t remember an atmosphere within a press conference like that. It was electric; I mean people were literally chanting ‘SONY’ at one point…it was like a party atmosphere.”
Earlier in the press conference Sony unveiled another very important aspect of the console: the design itself. Strikingly similar to the Xbox One’s modern look, the PlayStation 4 console is black and sleek. It now features sharp, bold edges as opposed to the elegant curves of its predecessor. Although very simplistic in nature, the console’s interesting shape makes it look like more than just another box in your entertainment system.
Sony also took some time during the event to talk about their new endeavors into cloud gaming. After recently acquiring the cloud computing company Gaikai, Sony hopes to use this technology to stream content to players during their games and even when they’re elsewhere on the go. They claim that Gaikai is the “fastest, most powerful network for gaming in the world.” Sony also promises that with the impressive power of cloud computing comes the ability to stream games from previous console generations, a mock form of backward compatibility. The plan is to start rolling out cloud gaming services sometime next year, so don’t expect any Gaikai magic when the console launches later this year.
Speaking of previous generations, Sony took a brief moment to announce an exclusive Grand Theft Auto V PS3 console, bundled with a GTA-branded headset for $299. The PlayStation 3 will surely live on through a chunk of the PS4’s life cycle. I imagine that Sony hopes that this attractive bundle might be a very appealing option for the more softcore gamer who hasn’t gotten into the current generation yet. Things are looking very good for Sony as they approach the next generation and only time will tell if they can keep this momentum going.