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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Sony PS4 Available for Pre-Order Now at $399

 Sony's PlayStation 4 will arrive in time for the holidays for $399

It's on. That is how to best sum up the impending battle coming this holiday season in the video game arena - and with both Microsoft and Sony delivering new hardware the action won't be (and hasn't been) limited to what happens on screens. While Microsoft announced on Monday morning in Los Angeles at the Electronic Entertainment Expo that it would release its Xbox One for the holiday for $499 the day went to Sony.

Less than eight hours after the Microsoft price was announced Sony fired back, and announced that its PlayStation 4 would arrive for $100 less: $399.

Moreover, whilst Microsoft had squarely focused on games at its press conference rival Sony showed the games and so much more. While Sony never knows how to keep them wanting more, this time it scored a hit across the bow, and offered a few key points on how the PS4 will fit into the greater Sony umbrella. This included a few words from Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton, who noted that in addition to streaming services that will include Netflix and Vudu among others, the new system will feature Sony's own Music Unlimited and Video Unlimited services. These offerings will provide users with access to more than 150,000 movies and TV shows, as well as 20 million songs that can be streamed across Sony's PlayStation platforms.

Given that E3 is still a show about video games Sony offered users quite a lot to take in during the nearly two hour press conference. The company announced that in total there are more than 140 titles in development for the upcoming system.

"Momentum and excitement across the industry has grown exponentially," said Jack Tretton, president and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment of America during Sony's Monday evening Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3).

Sony brought out the big guns on Monday for the PlayStation 4, offering sneak peeks of upcoming titles including the steam-punk alternate history action game The Order 1886, Killzone Shadow Fall, DriveClub and Knack. In addition to the aforementioned first party, Sony published games, the company offered a look at new titles from third party developers including Assassin's Creed IV, NBA 2K 2014, Elder Scrolls Online and just a glimpse of Mad Max - an interactive retelling of the cult movie series.

 Mad Max was just one of several games announced for the PlayStation 4 at E3 this week

The company further reaffirmed that the PlayStation 3 will continue to be supported - not surprising given that it has an install base of 40 million owners worldwide. To that end Sony offered a peak at several upcoming titles for the legacy console, which is now in its seventh year in release, including the soon-to-be released Last of Us, which Tretton noted has garnered some of the highest ratings so far this year. The post-apocalyptic title was just one of several games that showed that while the PS4 is on the way, the PS3 still is here now, and is still a very viable system.

Other titles include the action platform game Puppeteer, racing game Gran Turismo 6 and the highly anticipated Beyond Two Souls, which features the voice talents of Hollywood stars Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe.

Sony also fired a direct salvo at Microsoft that went beyond price, and announced that Sony understands the importance of the used game market.

"The PS4 supports used games," said Tretton. "We won't impose any new restriction to gamers."

This is very much the opposite of Microsoft's announcement that its Xbox One would require an always on connection, and in turn might limit the ability to sell used games.

"When a gamer buys a PS4 game they have the right to trade in that game, sell it to another person, lend it to a friend or keep it forever," Tretton noted. "We won't require you to check-in online to play a game."

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