It appears Sony was only getting started when it hammered Microsoft during E3 2013. At last night’s E3 2014 PlayStation press conference Sony brought its big guns to play, announcing a version of Grand Theft Auto 5 for the PS4 and sharing more details about its cloud gaming services and consoles.
By far the most game changing announcements at last night’s press conference were related to PlayStation Now, the game streaming service for television sets and PS consoles that the company revealed earlier this year at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The service is now scheduled to enter an open beta testing period in the United States and Canada on July 31st on the PS4. When it does, users will be able to play all sorts of PlayStation 3 games with just an internet connection and a DualShock 3 controller including Dead Space 3, God of War: Ascension, Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes, Ratchet and Clank: Into the Nexus, and Ultra Street Fighter 4.
PS Now is Sony’s answer to backwards compatibility. When it’s finished its roll out PS 4, PS Vita and Sony Bravia Television users will be able to play PS3 games without owning the console. To say that Microsoft has had little to share about backwards compatibility for its Xbox 360 and Xbox One consoles would be overstating it. The company hasn’t said a word about it.
To celebrate the launch of Destiny, which goes into open beta on July 17th, Sony is packaging a white console together with the game and a month of PlayStation Plus at $449. That console will arrive on store shelves September 9th and include a stand and dual-shock controller to match it. Sony made it clear that it’s going to be the only one selling a console bundled with Destiny.
Rounding out the company’s console announcements was the launch date of the PlayStation TV. Sony is positioning the set-top box as a sort of micro-console, a way for casual gaming households who wouldn’t be bothered to purchase PS 4 to get in on the PlayStation games and entertainment. When it launches this fall in the United States, Canada & Europe for $99 it’ll allow users to stream games from PlayStation Now and connect with a PS 4 in one household to stream games as well. $139 will get users an 8GB storage card, an HDMI cable and The Lego Movie Video Game. They’ll also get a DualShock 3 controller, which is required for any sort of gaming. In effect, Sony is hoping to squeeze the Xbox One and the Xbox 360 out of the market with this thing. It’s a brilliant strategy, one Microsoft can’t yet match since even the Xbox 360 is still priced at around $199 brand new.
And finally there were the games themselves. Sony didn’t reveal Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, it also showed off The Order: 1886, Bloodbourne, LittleBigPlanet 3, and Entwined. All of those games are or will be exclusive to the PS4 when they arrive. Sony also revealed a next-generation version of Grand Theft Auto 5 and exclusive content for the new delayed Batman: Arkham Knight. Sony also has promotions in the works for Disney Infinity 2, where it’ll be the first to offer a Hulk action in-game character, and Dead Island 2, where it’ll offer exclusive downloadable content.
All told, Sony pulled out all the stops during its press conference. It doesn’t seem as if it was enough to stop the Xbox One in its tracks, but the games in particular the company announced should help maintain its comfortable sales lead.
For a company that wanted users to believe it was all about the games, Sony also made a few key announcements. It talked more about the Powers television show it has in development and the company also announced that YouTube would arrive on the PS4 sometime this year.