Sony Corp on Monday priced its latest PlayStation 4 (PS4) console US$100 lower than the new Xbox One by rival Microsoft Corp as competition for gamers’ pockets intensifies ahead of the year-end holidays and gift-giving season.
Sony said it would sell the latest PlayStation model for US$399 late in the year shortly after Microsoft announced a US$499 price tag for its first new Xbox in eight years and said it would go on sale in the US in November.
Sony also drew cheers from the audience at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles, California, when it said the PS4 would run second-hand games and did not require an always-on Internet connection.
Microsoft had earlier elicited groans from video game players when it announced restrictions on used games for the Xbox One and said players had to log onto the Internet for authentication.
“The PlayStation 4 won’t impose any new restrictions on used games,” Sony Computer Entertainment America president and CEO Jack Tretton said, as the audience whistled and applauded.
Microsoft and Sony hope the consoles will attract new fans and retain users who are increasingly playing games on smartphones and other mobile devices, gradually eroding the US$66 billion video game business. Both firms are also offering more entertainment options.
The Xbox 360 is currently the best-selling gaming console in the US, but global sales are almost on par with the PlayStation 3. The new Xbox and PlayStation are both pricier than the US$300 Wii U that Nintendo Co Ltd launched late last year, but which has sold poorly, partly because of a dearth of new gaming titles.
Nintendo was expected to announce new games for the device at the E3 yesterday.
Sony did not give details about original programming content for the PS4, but said new game titles would include Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag by Ubisoft and Kingdom Hearts III by Disney Interactive Studios and Square Enix Holdings Co Ltd.
“It’s a very compelling price ... given the entertainment PS4 will provide to gamers,” Sony Computer Entertainment president and CEO Andrew House told the E3 event.
The Xbox One is costlier than the current Xbox 360 and includes a Kinect motion sensor for hands-free game playing. Microsoft also announced several exclusive game titles, including a rendition of Minecraft and a new installment in the popular Halo franchise, which will be released next year.
The device will go on sale in 21 countries, including Britain, before the year-end holidays, the company said. Yusuf Mehdi, an executive at Microsoft’s interactive entertainment unit, did not set any sales targets for the new Xbox.