In November of 2005 Microsoft officially launched its brand new console, the Xbox 360. At the time, the 360 Core Edition (sans hard drive) retailed for $300, offering gamers the latest and greatest in living room entertainment for a seemingly reasonable price. Almost a year later and after much delay, Sony released its “next-gen” console, the Play Station 3. In many ways the PS3 was an incredibly impressive piece of technology. It featured 256MB of video memory and 256MB of system RAM (remember this is 2006 we’re talking about). Most importantly the PS3 boasted a Blue Ray player. The PS3 was thus able to play larger, more graphics intense games compared to the 360. However, these technical specs came with a hefty price tag. $499 hefty. This partly lead to the 360’s dominance in the American living room. Fast forward to 2013, and we are witnessing a very similar situation unfolding between the two gaming Goliaths, except this time their roles are reversed.
Over the last couple months Microsoft and Sony have both hosted a couple of events to showcase their newest next-gen consoles, the PS4 and the Xbox One. However, until today, each company had left out significant information about their consoles that would presumably allow consumers to decide once and for all, who is going to come out on top this time around. Today marked day zero of the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), at which both Microsoft and Sony laid the rest of their cards on the table.
As we discussed in previous posts, Microsoft’s Xbox one will be available this November for a base price of $499, sound familiar? It will also require an internet connection once every 24 hours to “phone home”, and there are will be strict limitations on how used games can function on the One.
Today Sony dealt a swift and harsh blow to Microsoft’s efforts to maintain control over the living room. Not only will the PS4 not require an internet connection to play games, nor is it regionally locked like the One is, but users can also buy, lend, borrow, and play used games with zero restrictions… just like pretty much every other console ever… except for the Xbox One. Sony has even made a tongue and cheek ad mocking Microsoft’s strict attitude towards used games that can be viewed below.
Sony also finally showed off the PS4’s hardware today. As a journalist I am expected to remain objective, unfortunately in this situation I cannot, the PS4 simply looks better than the Xbox One. Plus its smaller. As if gamers did not already have enough reasons to side with Sony and purchase a PS4 this holiday season, there is one more advantage in going with the Japanese. The PS4 will start at $399, undercutting the Xbox One by $100.
Whether or not this is game over (sorry) for the Xbox One remains to be seen. While the PS4 will sport features such as self publishing for indie devs, the Xbox one is also going to feature a slew of new entertainment features and is bundled with Kinect 2.0. Either way, the battle for the living room will continue to rage on between Microsoft and Sony as Nintendo stands shivering outside in the snow, peering in through the window.
sources: Microsoft, Sony