David Bloom is a Deadline contributor.
Sony’s big annual pre-E3 media briefing Monday night set up a potentially brutal price competition with Microsoft’s next-gen game console this holiday season, with the PlayStation 4 costing $100 less than the Xbox One. As predicted, Sony also touted more of the PS4’s entertainment capabilities than it did in an initial unveiling event in February, even inviting Sony Entertainment Chairman Michael Lynton onstage for the first time. Lynton promised enhanced video and music programming on the PlayStation Network online service, with content tailored for gamer interests.
“Sony Pictures will do everything in our power to drive the success of the PlayStation 4 by developing programming with gamers in mind and providing access to incredible content,” Lynton said. The Video Unlimited and Music Unlimited services will launch the same day as the PS4. Sony also will add the Flixster online movie service to the PlayStation Network later this year, joining apps there for such streaming services as Netflix and Hulu.Sony executives said the machine will cost $399 in the U.S., compared with $499 for the Xbox One. It will cost 399 euros in Europe and 349 pounds sterling in the UK. The machine will launch in the U.S. and Europe during the holidays, though no specific date was given. Sony also set up another big consumer-friendly differentiator from Microsoft, emphasizing it won’t restrict such things as lending or reselling games or playing used games. Microsoft already is grappling with a huge gamer backlash over its byzantine new restrictions on such activities. Sony, by contrast, got a huge cheer when its executives said the PS4 would have no such limits.
Many of the numerous game titles spotlighted Monday night have Hollywood connections, from Arkham Origins, the latest Batman tale from Warner Bros.’ WB Games unit; Square Enix’s Kingdom Hearts 3 collaboration with Disney; a Mad Max game; and even a spiffed-up modern version of the original Oddworld from movie biz refugee Lorne Lanning’s Oddworld Inhabitants. The titles are part of more than 140 games that will launch in the first year on the PS4, a big library that will be attractive to many gamers looking for entertainment options.