Boom.

ps4

Knockout blow number 1:

“We’re equally focused on delivering what gamers want most: without imposing restrictions or devaluing their PS4 purchases. For instance, PlayStation 4 won’t impose any new restrictions [on used games].”

Knockout blow number 2:

“When a gamer buys a PS4 disc, they have the rights to use that copy of the game, they can trade in the game at retail, sell it to a friend, lend it to a friend or keep it forever.”

Knockout blow number 3:

“In addition, PlayStation 4 disc-based games don’t need to be connected online to play or for any type of authentication. If you enjoy playing single-player games offline, PS4 won’t require you to check-in periodically. And it won’t stop working if you haven’t authenticated after 24 hours.”

Within those three sentences in the space of two minutes, Sony proper gave a stabbing and gutting to Microsoft over Xbox One’s DRM requirement and second-hand policies. And with it, easily walk away with not just the best E3 press conference this year, but probably one of the best E3 showings of all time.

But it wasn’t flawless, however. After showing off the quite nice chasis for the system, Sony wheeled out the one element that, to its credit, Microsoft did before E3: entertainment. My stream cut out while this was happening so I don’t have the exact details other than Sony Pictures will be working on exclusive stuff just for PS4. I guess the entertainment aspect had to be acknowledged somehow.

ps4

From there on, it was games. Non-stop. Admittingly, Sony’s games line-up day was lesser than it was at the Microsoft briefing, but Sony still had proverbial nukes up its sleeve. To begin on the first-party front, Sony Santa Monica and Ready at Dawn’s 1886: The Order was announced as a first-party exclusive, followed by confirmation of Knack, DriveClub and Killzone: Shadow Fall as launch titles for the system. inFamous: Second Son, which looked in even more impressive form tonight, was confirmed as a Q1 2014 title. While there was to be no reveal of The Last Guardian for PS4 or the next game from Amy Hennig’s team at Naughty Dog, it was a good solid showing on first-party front, if not a little less than expected.

Third-parties took pretty much the remainder of the show in some fashion, though. Indies took over in a big way when Bastion developer Supergiant Games were brought on stage to announce Transistor will make it console debut on PS4 next year. Also on stage, to name a few, were Kiei Entertainment, Oddworld Inhabitants, Young Horses and many many more.

For the announced stuff, Destiny and Watch Dogs looked exceptional, especially for a worldwide premiere for the former. While Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag was also demoed, it unfortunately had stuttering issues. Not the best of presentations, but very unfortunate otherwise for Ubisoft Montreal. The Elder Scrolls Online was also announced for it and Xbox One, as well as Mad Max from Avalanche and Warner Bros.

But remember the PS Meeting? Square Enix promised to show a new Final Fantasy. It didn’t show a new Final Fantasy technically, but nonethless, Final Fantasy XV was finally made real through the renaming of Final Fantasy Versus XIII. Final Fantasy XIV was also confirmed for PS4 – the PS3 version will release in August, as announced before E3. And in a proper bombshell, it finally happened: Nomura announced Kingdom Hearts III in collaboration with Disney. Nothing concrete other than it’s “in development”. A small in-game snippet showed Sora and a group of Heartless. Sign me up for XV/KHIII anyways. More details are expected on FFXV tomorrow.

And Sony’s DRM/always-on remarks regarding PS4 was genius. It wasn’t being subtle in its attacks to Microsoft, it was full-on direct. You would be very hard pressed not to have been smirking and/or laughing at Jack Tretton’s remarks towards the end. It was a genius ploy. Add in a video released during the conference showing how sharing games on PS4 worked between Sony WWS president Shuhei Yoshida and SCEA developer relations boss Adam Boyes, the knife was being twisted even more into Microsoft.

It’ll be hard for Microsoft to come back from that, but I’ll be frank: Microsoft had a good showing. No, really, it did. By doing the entertainment element at Xbox One’s reveal, they at least removed any chance of it happening at its press conference to focus solely on games. Not to mention, Microsoft had the more heavier of the games line-up between the two first-parties.

Simply put, Microsoft had great elements of its presser and Sony had great elements of its presser. We, as gamers, won E3 in terms of the amount of games shown. And after the clusterfuck that was another padded out E3 last year, this has been one for the record books.

But if you had to call it, you have to give this one to Sony, just on the sheer audacity of taking on Microsoft head on. Their call out to indies was also a great little touch and showed how Sony’s support for them will continue following their well-received support on PS3 with Thatgamecompany and Giant Sparrow, to name a few. But mainly, aiming for the Microsoft jugular took the cherry. Truly, this has been an E3 for the ages (and the show hasn’t even begun yet). And one that will be remembered, after being the laughing stock of the show seven years ago, very fondly by Sony.

Oh. What about last bit from Andy House? You know? Knockout blow number 4:

“I’m very proud to announce that PlayStation 4 will be available at $399, €399 and for the folks in my homeland, £349 Sterling. In the US and Europe this Holiday season.”

KO.

[Video credits=Eurogamer and CVG]

More coverage will come throughout the week on @Project_Boom. You can also follow me at @JohnnyCullen for snark/analysis/Vine coverage.

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