The physical box of the PS4 has a sort of a parallelogram thing going on, with a two-tone black and grey color scheme not that far off from what’s on the Xbox One. It will come with a 500 GB hard drive, and, needless to say, will have an HDMI out port around back. Judging from the sheer scale and amount of details going on in some of the games demonstrated, the machine looks no less powerful than the Xbox One, although it will be interesting to see if Microsoft’s ability to leverage its hundreds of thousands of servers in support of some of these games will afford an advantage to the Xbox One.
Sony’s biggest announcements, though (besides the games) were more about what the company isn’t doing with the PS4. Specifically, they looked at what the Xbox One is doing, and then they didn’t do that. There will be no used games restrictions of any sort on the PS4, and there will be no online requirement to play single-player games. As has been made clear, there are going to be a lot of games made by developers to require an Internet connection (or will somehow be enhanced by an Internet connection), but the requirement won’t be coming from Sony. There will be one online change, however – online multiplayer, formerly free on the PlayStation Network, will now require a paid PlayStation Plus account, at $50 per year.
Otherwise, we have Final Fantasy XV (formerly Final Fantasy Versus XIII) and Kingdom Hearts III coming from Square Enix, although it’s since been revealed that those games will come to the Xbox One as well. Sony stressed its commitment to indie developers, and the fact that those indie developers can publish on their own, keeping creative control where it belongs – with the creators. That will most prominently include Supergiant Games’ upcoming Transistor, which will hit in 2014. As it appears now (always subject to change), there won’t be too many console exclusives for the PS4, although one guaranteed exclusive will be The Order 1866, which will see a technologically advanced Victorian England (no, not steampunk) plagued by monsters of an unspecified sort.
The PS4, like the Xbox One, is now available for pre-order. It will retail for $399, and will hit stores this holiday season – one would suspect, not too far before or after the Xbox One’s November release.