Sony’s PlayStation 4 unveiling was nothing less than a shocker. The Japanese hardware firm not only revealed its upcoming console will play used games, but that it won’t need to be connected to the Internet and will cost $100 less than Microsoft’s Xbox One.
First, Sony finally showed off its new device. Like Microsoft, Sony went for hard edges and a boxy design, meaning both firms are moving away from the gentle curves of the previous generation’s hardware.
But the highlight of the show wasn’t the PlayStation 4’s new look. Instead, it was Sony’s announcement that the PlayStation 4 will play used video games just like its predecessor, the PlayStation 3. That means gamers will be able to sell their old titles to GameStop or other gamers through sites like Kijiji and Craigslist.
That’s a huge deal for budget-minded gamers who don’t like the idea of paying $60 to $70 for every single game they play. It’s also a very big deal for used game retailers like GameStop and EB Games.
In comparison, Xbox One gamers will need to pay a fee to play used games — and there’s the possibility a game developer will block used game sales altogether.
Sony also revealed the PlayStation 4 won’t require gamers to establish a consistent Internet connection to play games. In comparison, Microsoft wants the Xbox One online at least once every 24 hours — if that doesn’t happen, it won’t play games.
Finally, Sony plans to sell its console for $100 less than Microsoft’s console. The PlayStation 4 will cost $399, while the Xbox One will retail for $499.
It’s worth noting we still don’t know how game developers will react to this news. They may insist Sony place restrictions on used game sales. They may embrace Microsoft’s model and be more willing to strike up exclusive deals with a company willing to share revenue generated by used game sales.
But right now it’s hard to see this as anything but a major PR victory for Sony.