Never have we experienced the sheer humanity seen with the kind of PR beatdown that Sony has just delivered to Microsoft during their E3 2013 press briefing! Sony’s brass took to the stage with no pulled punches and no coy mannerisms. It seems that even they felt disrespected to be in the same industry as Microsoft, who are infamously demanding a mandatory online check-in, and forcing second-hand fees for used and borrowed games on their upcoming next-gen console, the Xbox One. Many have seen this as an anti-consumer practice by Microsoft, and it seems that Sony is among them. Needless to say, Sony seized their consumer advantage extremely aggressively!
In no uncertain terms, Sony confirmed that their upcoming PlayStation 4, launching as their next-gen console offering this Holiday, will not feature any used game block or fee. Sony stressed that players will be able to freely trade in, lend out, borrow, sell and keep at their leisure any and every PlayStation 4 game! They also bluntly stated that PlayStation 4 will not in any way demand a mandatory online connection, whether persistently, or for a twenty-four-hour check-in, as the Xbox One demands.
After stressing that PlayStation 4 would not place the restrictions on players that Xbox One will, Sony went on to confirm that only one PlayStation Plus membership purchase is necessary, with memberships being shared across PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita. They also confirmed that upcoming PlayStation 4 exclusive, DriveClub will have its own PlayStation Plus edition free to PlayStation Plus members buying a PlayStation 4 at launch!
Sony also didn’t waste the opportunity to announce that backwards-compatibility with PlayStation 3 legacy software would be digitally added for streaming in 2014, with the assistance of recently acquired Cloud partner, Gaikai. This flies in the face of Microsoft’s strategy, after Microsoft aggressively shot down the notion that Xbox One would ever be backwards-compatible with Xbox or Xbox 360 software in any form, stating that such a notion was ‘backwards’ in and of itself. Needless to say, gamers were not amused by that remark.
The killing blow came when Sony announced that their restriction-free, much friendlier PlayStation 4 platform would have a launch price of $399.99 in North America, $100 less than Xbox One, which will launch around the same time for $499.99. This makes it a more affordable and more trustworthy option than its competitor, right out of the gate.
Capping off this barrage of PlayStation 4 advantages was the passionate declaration by Sony that they value consumer trust above all else. They stressed that the happiness and satisfaction of their customers is their highest priority, and that they are committed to re-affirming and earning that trust all over again with PlayStation 4. They said that they wouldn’t be anywhere without their passionate gaming fans, and they will continue to look after the PlayStation faithful, without compromise. It was a blatant and direct jab at Microsoft, to be sure! For an avid gamer, it’s one of the most beautiful speeches ever delivered during any E3 keynote, even if it was also one of the most brutal and public corporate spankings in E3 history!
Obviously, it’s difficult to call an entire generation from the E3 before its proper debut, but one thing can’t be denied; Microsoft is in a very, very bad spot after Sony’s conference today! PlayStation 4 now has all of the consumer and power advantages, with Sony seizing all of the PR, and running with it. Pair that with more established franchises in the PlayStation pantheon, streamed backwards-compatibility on the way, and an equally promising list of new exclusives to come, and Xbox One almost appears to have lost this generation before it’s even begun.
We’ll see if Microsoft can possibly turn this beatdown around, but right now, it looks like many gamers officially have their eyes set exclusively on PlayStation 4! For future news related to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and the remainder of E3, Eggplante will deliver it, as it happens!