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Sony wins opening battle in console war

Michael Thurston (via AFP/ SMH) | June 12, 2013
Sony's new-generation PlayStation 4 console has scored an opening skirmish triumph over Microsoft's Xbox One at the E3 game conference in Los Angeles.

Winner of round one: Sony's PlayStation 4.
Winner of round one: Sony's PlayStation 4. Photo: Getty Images/AFP

Sony's new-generation PlayStation 4 console has scored an opening skirmish triumph over Microsoft's Xbox One at the  E3 game conference in Los Angeles.

Sony and Microsoft each hosted distinctly different private events on Monday (US time) to spotlight their new champions in the long-running console wars.

Both companies showcased blockbuster games, but Sony triggered unbridled cheers with assurances it would not interfere with sales of used titles or require internet connections for play.

The points were in sharp contrast to Microsoft, which designed Xbox One consoles to check-in on the internet once every 24 hours for games to work, and set conditions on used games.

Sony also priced PS4 at $549 as compared to the $599 Microsoft said it will charge for Xbox One consoles when they are released in November.

"Clearly, Sony won the battle of the day," said Gartner analyst Brian Blau.

Pipped? Microsoft's Xbox One.
Pipped? Microsoft's Xbox One. Photo: AFP

"The price point is going to be a big factor," he continued. "At a minimum, it is a poke in the eye because Sony is just cheaper."

Blau responded that the price divide widens when taking into account that Xbox One console owners must subscribe to an internet service, because the device requires an online connection if users want to play.

He cautioned that it was still too early to tell which console would prove more popular because hardware and games, no matter how slickly they were presented at the media events, have yet to get into people's hands.

"Overall, they are both strong platforms," Blau said.

Microsoft fired the opening shot with a media event providing more details about the Xbox One home entertainment hub it revealed in May.

"Xbox One is designed to deliver a whole new generation of blockbuster games, television and entertainment in a powerful, all-in-one device," said Microsoft president of interactive entertainment Don Mattrick.

The beefed-up hardware is powered by software that allows for instant switching between games, television and internet browsing.

Kinect motion and sound sensing accessories accompanying the consoles recognise users; respond instantly to commands spoken in natural language and even detect a person's pulse.

Sony fired back with the first look at its new PS4 console, promising to combine its film, music, television and game strengths in a powerhouse home entertainment box.

 

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