Sony executive Jack Tretton walked onto the stage while the song “Radioactive” blared at PlayStation’s E3 briefing Monday. A more apropos song would have been “Boom” because Sony was about to lower it on Microsoft. Sony landed what might be a knockout punch before the next-gen consoles have even been released, announcing that the PS4 will debut at $399 — $100 less than Microsoft’s Xbox One — and said that the system will support used games and won’t need an internet connection, which is in direct contrast to Xbox One’s policies.
Sony decided to save these reveals toward the end of the briefing, and the news was greeted with a rousing ovation inside the briefing and virtually on social networks. Tretton made sure that the message was extremely clear, discussing in a bullet-point breakdown how you can share and trade in games the same way you always could. This was a direct shot at Microsoft, whose message about used games has been muddled and confusing since the Xbox One’s reveal.
The only aspect of the announcement that wasn’t entirely clear was the need for PS4 owners to be members of PlayStation Plus — Sony’s premium tier — in order to play online. (Sony later confirmed that PS4 users will need PlayStation Plus to play online.) Sony had touted how online play was free during the current generation as opposed to Microsoft, which required Xbox Live Gold in order to play online. PlayStation Plus is a subscription service that runs $50 a year but has given members access to select titles on the PS3 and PlayStation Vita as long as your membership is active. It also granted discounts to games and add-on content that you could keep even if you decided to end your membership. Sony did announce that PS Plus members will receive “DriveClub,” a launch title for the PS4, for free. If you already are a member of PS Plus, it will carry over to the PS4 at no additional cost. So you will have access to select Vita, PS3 and PS4 titles.
But even with…