Sony’s conference started kind of slowly and generally had much more talking than was necessary. They finally revealed the appearance of the PlayStation 4 console, a modern looking, slanted box; not nearly as large as the XBox One and it can be placed vertically – I like it. There weren’t nearly as many games as in the Microsoft conference. A new game, The Order: 1886 was teased; a Victorian Steam-punk setting with …werewolves? Yes, please. inFAMOUS Second Son looks good and I’m sure Killzone: Shadow Fall will be a competent and pretty shooter and Knack looks decent. But nothing I saw made me think I must have “Next Gen” on day one (though that remains a strong possibility, regardless).
At one point, Sony had a bunch of indie developers each on their own piece of stage playing their game. It’s always great to see love for the little guys. The games that stood out to me were Mercenary Kings, Octodad: Dadliest Catch, Outlast, and Galak-Z. And, of course, Transistor.
Sony’s big announcement, ironically, wasn’t games or the form factor of their new system, but simply stating that the PlayStation 4 will not have the DRM and online-required infrastructure that XBox One will, and will support the used-game market as it exists today. So, from a consumer’s perspective, you’ll have more freedom with the software that you purchase. Oh, and it will be $399, $100 cheaper than the XBox One; “more for less” seems to be the general consensus.
The positive vibe even overshadowed the news that online multi-player will require a PlayStation Plus subscription. Traditionally, XBox 360 gamers have had to pay for XBox Live memberships to access online multi-player, whereas PS3 players enjoyed (an admittedly less robust) network access for free. With PlayStation 4, however, players wishing to play online multi-player will have to be Plus subscribers. One Plus membership will work across all devices: PS3, Vita, and PS4, and costs $50/year. As a Plus subscriber and PS3 owner, I can already vouch for the value of PlayStation Plus, so this won’t really impact me at all. That being said, one of the reasons I bought a PS3 over a XBox 360 was the fact that PS3 allowed non-subscription multi-player.
Speaking of PS3, it still has plenty of wind in its sails: The Last of Us just came out last week (it’s awesome), Puppeteer‘s coming September 10th, Beyond: Two Souls in October, and Gran Turismo 6 this holiday.
For PS Vita, Velocity Ultra for July 9th, Killzone: Mercenary is set for September 10, and Tearaway (from Media Molecule) October 22, and Ys: Memories of Celceta for Fall 2013. But perhaps more interesting is the promise of the Vita being used for Remote Play on PS4.