E3 – Sony and Microsoft Conference Postmortem (updated)


By Hedge

It’s happened. The big two have given us an infodump of content about their new hardware, related services and exclusive titles. If you haven’t already, check out our predictions post to see what we were expecting here at House of Geekery. How close were we?

MICROSOFT

XB1

The giant held the first conference and revealed a great deal about the Xbox One, although didn’t answer many existing questions in order to focus mostly on the pomp and ceremony of it all. We know the console will drop in November for US$499 (£429 in the UK and €429 in Europe). There was no Aussie price announced but I’m confident in saying it’ll match the US price with perhaps a little added as the Australia Tax we here downunder all know and loathe. Aussie price announced at AU$599 – roughly on par with the American cost (after conversion) plus extra for shipping and included GST. Not bad at all.

November is currently as specific as we can get though. While Amazon and Gamestop are both taking pre-orders now (catch up guys, EB here have been doing pre-orders for weeks, albeit with a ridiculously hyperinflated placeholder price) one says the 21st and one says the 30th. So it could go either way. Or it could be the 15th. Or any other time really. Until Microsoft give a date directly, I’m not betting on either team.

It does however give some credence to my thoughts that the consoles would, in some way, mirror the first announced launch date of the next gen games – WATCH_DOGS was given a date of November 21 according to CNET. We could then be looking at a wide sweep release, with the two new consoles, their major game releases and the former generation versions of those games being released within days of one another.

Other snippets include the abolition of Microsoft Points, with all purchases being made in local currency; the news that the cost of XBL Gold will remain static and that, of course, there will be a Halo game for the console.

More interesting to me was the announced concept of TwitchTV integration; streaming gameplay online to Twitch now being considered a native part of the gaming experience. Live streams, Let’s Plays and other content no longer confined to the PC gamer would make for an interesting development.

It says either a lot about me or a lot about Microsoft that their announcement of the “Day One” edition controller has me wanting an XBOne right out the gate more than the exclusive games do though.

SONY

PS4

Sony hit the ground running this year, with details about price, exclusive titles and finally a look at the console, plus a few other details sorely missing in recent weeks. Here’s what we know:

The console will cost US$399, a full hundred bucks less than the XBOne. This might be what hurts Microsoft the most, more than any features or exclusive titles. The fact that for the same price as the Microsoft console, Sony buyers can get a game as well isn’t going to be lost on the purchasing public. This sadly doesn’t seem to translate over as well to the Aussie price, which will be AU$549 (US$517) – still cheaper than the XBOne but not at all reflecting the strength of the Aussie dollar or any sort of currency conversion. This is a shame, but hardly unexpected.

In addition to this, it was revealed that there will be no DRM on games and nothing preventing or limiting the sale and use of preowned titles. Sony even put out this fun, and amusingly official, video detailing the one step process to sharing PS4 games with your friends. This in itself is a serious bow in their quiver as it puts them in the favour of the consumer after so much negative backlash against Microsoft’s always/sometimes/sporadically/who knows online DRM and  the complicated (and fee including) process of lending your mates a game.

Exclusive games announced today include Final Fantasy XV, Kingdom Hearts 3 and The Order 1866. Plus exclusive content for WATCH_DOGS on the Playstation 4.

With no always online, no DRM, the continuation of PS+ subs and that lower price it seems to me that Sony came away the winner here. It’s just a shame that lower price translates so poorly out here in the digital third world.

UPDATE:

PS4 pricing

For those playing at home that is:

US = $399

EU = €399 ($529 USD)

UK = £349 ($543 USD)

AU = $549 ($516 USD)

What’s with the non-US price gouging, Sony?

 

Stay tuned for our E3 Trailer Roundup, coming very, very soon. Lemme just say this; The Division. Aw yeah.

H