At PlayStation 4 unveil, Sony comes out swingingJune 11, 201301:13
Well, it sure took them long enough.
Almost four months to the day after Sony first unveiled its next-generation PlayStation 4 video game console, the company finally showed what it actually looks like Monday at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles.
And the company finally said what it will cost: $399, and the PS4 will be available in time for the 2013 holiday season.
This is a stunning reversal of roles for Sony and Microsoft, which earlier on Monday revealed that its Xbox One console will debut for $499 this coming November. At the start of the last generation, Microsoft managed to release its Xbox 360 console a year before Sony put out the PlayStation 3 and for $100 less.
As the company teased in a short video posted online in late May, the new console looks very angular, to put it in a word. If the previous PlayStation consoles were made to look like rectangular boxes, the PS4 sort of looks like it's been tilted to the side. It's also surprisingly tiny, judging by how it looked when Andrew House held it up before the audience.
This continues a trend away from Sony's boxier design seen in the original PlayStation and 2000's PlayStation 2 toward an almost ornamental aesthetic.
Microsoft, for its part, chose to abandon this kind of look with the Xbox One, a device that looks much boxier than the hourglass-like figure of the Xbox 360.
Sony unveils PlayStation 4June 11, 201301:20
Gamers and critics took to the Internet almost immediately after that device was recently unveiled, however, to ridicule the console for looking more like a 1980s-era VCR than a modern-day video game console.
Until now, Sony has spent most of its PS4 time with the gaming press highlighting all the new features contained with its revamped DualShock controller — the first major redesign of the acclaimed gaming controller ever since its creator debuted the first PlayStation console back in 1994.
There are 140 games in development now for the PS4, Sony said, including 100 that should be available in the first year.
Also Monday, Jack Tretton, Sony Computer Entertainment of America president and CEO said that the premium PlayStation Network service "PlayStation Plus" will carry over to the PlayStation 4 console at the same price of $49.99 per year.
Existing PlayStation Plus members will receive the PS4 launch title "DriveClub," a racing game from Evolution Studios, for free as part of their Instant Game Collection. Tretton added that PS Plus members will also be able to play one PlayStation 4 game for free each month, though they won't necessarily own all of those games.
Standing in direct (and somewhat snarky) opposition to Microsoft, Sony also repeatedly emphasized that the PlayStation 4 will not have any sort of Internet connectivity requirement, nor will it prevent users from sharing pre-owned games with one another.
"When a gamer buys a PS4 disc, they have the rights to use that disc, resell it, lend it to a friend or keep it forever," Tretton said.
Microsoft said in a statement last week that while it will not mandate any sort of "platform fee" for used games, it will leave the decision of whether or not to charge players to activate or re-register a pre-owned game to individual publishers.
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Yannick LeJacq is a contributing writer for NBC News who has also covered technology and games for Kill Screen, The Wall Street Journal and The Atlantic. You can follow him on Twitter at @YannickLeJacq and reach him by email at: email@example.com.