PlayStation 4 is unveiled for the first time. (Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC)Link
Attendees take photographs with mobile devices during the Sony Corp. E3 media event in Los Angeles. (Patrick T. Fallon / Bloomberg)Link
PlayStation 4 is unveiled for the first time by Andrew House, President and Group CEO, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc., at the PlayStation E3 Press Conference. (Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)Link
Close up on Sony Computer Entertainment president and CEO Andrew House as he introduces the new PlayStation 4. (Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)Link
Shuhei Yoshida, President of Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios. (Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)Link
Jack Tretton, president and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment of America, is silhouetted as he watches a presentation at the Sony PlayStation E3 media briefing with the "Mad Max" game in the background. (Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)Link
Jack Tretton, chief executive officer of Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc., talks about the company's PlayStation Vita handheld gaming console. (Patrick T. Fallon / Bloomberg)Link
Jack Tretton, chief executive officer of Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc., stands in front of a display of video game titles. (Patrick T. Fallon / Bloomberg)Link
Jack Tretton, chief executive officer of Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc., talks about the upcoming "Grand Theft Auto V" video game. (Patrick T. Fallon / Bloomberg)Link
A controller for the new PlayStation 4 is on display at the Sony PlayStation E3 media briefing. (Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)Link
At a presentation Monday night in Los Angeles, Sony unveiled the look of its next-generation PlayStation 4 console, showcased a slew of new mainstream and indie titles and threw down the gauntlet before Microsoft, one of its two main competitors in the console space.
The PS4, an upright standing box with two shades of black and diagonal edges, is due to be released this holiday season and retail for $399. It will not enforce digital rights management restrictions on those playing offline, single-player games — a stance in direct opposition to the one taken by Microsoft for the release of its Xbox One.
The Xbox One is set to hit retailers in November and carry a price of $499. From a consumer perspective, the key differentiating point between the consoles appears to be Xbox One’s inclusion of motion- and voice-detecting Kinect in every unit.
Sony’s event capped a run of video game news conferences on the eve of the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), the largest video game trade show in the world.
But after a day in which the gaming media took in new titles from Electronic Arts, Ubisosft and more at events at which the mere mention of top-flight brands such as “Halo” or “Star Wars: Battlefront” can generate applause, it was a rundown by Jack Tretton, president of Sony Computer Entertainment America, of what the PS4 won’t do that generated the largest cheers of the day.
“If you enjoy playing single-player games offline, PS4 won’t force you to check in and it won’t stop working if you haven’t authenticated within 24 hours,” Tretton said near the conclusion of Monday’s nearly two-hour news conference at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena.
The Xbox One will need to be connected to the Internet at least once every 24 hours if one wishes to game offline, Microsoft said last week. If a user tries to access a game library on a friend’s Xbox One, then the system will require a network connection at least once per hour. The tradeoff is that much of one game’s content lives online and users can access whatever they purchase on any Xbox One, once they log in.
To play online with the PS4, however, it will now cost you. A PlayStation Plus subscription will be required for online play, and it runs $49.99 per year.
Sony’s jabs at Microsoft didn’t end on that point. Tretton added that Sony will not place restrictions on reselling discs or buying used games. Trade in the disc at a retailer, sell it to a friend, lend it to a friend or keep it forever, Tretton said in another not-so-subtle dig at Microsoft. The Xbox One will allow an owner to transfer a game’s license to a friend only once, and is leaving the prospect of reselling games to a retailer up to the title’s publisher.
Sony went so far as to release a sarcastic training video online, explaining that the sharing of a PS4 disc is as simple as handing it to a friend. The clip shows Shuhei Yoshida, president of Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios, and Adam Boyes, vice president of publisher and developer relations for Sony Computer Entertainment America.
The console back-and-forth overshadowed the initial reason for Sony’s gathering Monday evening, which was to showcase upcoming games for the PS4. To that end, Sony trotted out a teaser for a previously announced “Mad Max” game from Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, which is to be available for multiple platforms, including the Xbox One.
“Mad Max,” according to a Warner Bros. news release, will center around gamers fighting “to stay alive in The Wasteland, using brutal on-ground and vehicular combat against vicious gangs of bandits. Players are challenged with treacherous missions as they scavenge the dangerous landscape for supplies to build the ultimate combat vehicle.”
Sony also introduced a brand new exclusive title, dubbed “The Order: 1886,” which comes from Southern California’s Ready At Dawn, best known for such titles as “Daxter” and “God of War: Chains of Olympus.” The title looks to be set in Jack the Ripper-era London, but also seems to include elements of time travel, magic and the ability to communicate with a world of the dead.
The long-awaited “Kingdom Hearts 3″ was confirmed to be in development and is destined for the PS4 in 2014, as is “Final Fantasy XV.” Both are from Square Enix.
Unlike Microsoft, Sony previously had unveiled a number of games for its new console, including “Killzone: Shadows Fall,” “Driveclub” and “Infamous: Second Son,” the latter of which was given a new trailer featuring Nirvana’s “Heart Shaped Box.” The company seemed more focused Monday on attempting to spotlight the PS4′s diversity in game selection.
Some of the highlights were “Rays the Dead” from Ragtag Studios, a cartoon-zombie puzzle game in which the protagonist tries to figure out how he became a zombie, and the forthcoming title from Supergiant Games. The studio is best known for its adventure title “Bastion,” and is to release its “Transistor” on the PS4 in early 2014. The game boasted a painted, anime-influenced look.
In the first year of the PS4′s release, Sony expects about 100 titles to be issued. Of that number, about 40 were described as having “experiences” exclusive to the PS4. Bethesda’s “Elder Scrolls Online” will make its way to the PS4, and “Destiny,” Bungie’s follow-up to its work on the “Halo” series, was given an extended playthrough, showing two players exploring a ravaged factory.
Newly unveiled Monday, courtesy of Sony Entertainment Chief Executive Michael Lynton, was the news that the company is developing original programming that will live on the PlayStation Network. The company offered no details as to what that programming would be, but Lynton said it would be designed with “gamers in mind.”
Microsoft is taking a similar path with the Xbox One, and already has revealed that Steven Spielberg is executive producing a series inspired by “Halo” with content that will live exclusively in the Xbox ecosystem.
– Todd Martens
Follow us on Twitter: @LATHeroComplex
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