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Sony takes aim at Microsoft with PlayStation 4 pricing, policies

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PlayStation 4 (Sony)

The next generation isn’t going to be cheap -- but it’s going to be cheaper on the PlayStation 4.

On the heels of Microsoft’s announcement that the Xbox One would be priced at $499, Sony has confirmed that the PS4 will cost $399, a full $100 less. It's due out this holiday.

Undercutting the Xbox One’s price was just one of the many shots Sony took at Microsoft at its annual E3 press conference.

SCEA president Jack Tretton also announced to raucous applause that the PS4 would put no restrictions on used games, letting players play used games and loan titles to friends -- a point driven home by this scathing promotional video:

Additionally, Tretton said, the system will not require any form of internet connectivity, a direct shot at Xbox One’s convoluted online connection requirements.

“If you enjoy playing single player games offline, the PlayStation 4 won’t require you to check in online – and it won’t stop working if you haven’t authenticated within 24 hours,” said Tretton.

Not all the news will make gamers applaud so loudly, though. Sony will require players to subscribe to PlayStation Plus in order to play online multiplayer. (Current PlayStation Plus accounts will carry over to the system.)

Unlike Microsoft, which focused exclusively on games and kept conversation to a minimum, Sony gave gamers a broader look at the PS4, discussing the system’s entertainment-focused elements.

[ Related: Images of PlayStation 4 hardware ]

Michael Lynton, CEO of Sony Entertainment and Sony Pictures, appeared to announce plans for his divisions to provide content that is tailored specifically for the gamer audience on the console.

“Sony Pictures is hard at work on a brand new original programming plan and unique access to content that will be available exclusively on PlayStation Network and PlayStation 4,” he said. “Importantly, all new and existing programming we provide to PlayStation Network will be tailored specifically to the type of entertainment gamers want and love. … Sony Pictures will do everything in our power to drive the success of PlayStation 4 by developing cutting edge programming.”

Sony had plenty to say about games, though -- both big and small.

The company shined some of its spotlight on independent games, highlighting several that will be available on the PS4, including Octodad: Dadliest Catch, Ray’s the Dead and New ‘n’ Tasty, a remake of the original Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee.

Big titles were what fans cheered loudest, though, with Sony giving advance looks at several of them.

The company revealed a new action title from their Santa Monica Studio (famous for creating the God of War franchise) called The Order: 1886. Third-party publisher Square-Enix announced plans to bring Final Fantasy versus XIII (now renamed Final Fantasy XV) and Kingdom Hearts III to the system. Bethesda will not only develop The Elder Scrolls Online for the system, but is offering an exclusive beta. And original Halo developer Bungie gave an first extensive look at Destiny, which is coming to the PS4 next year.

Sony itself said it has 30 PS4 games in development internally, with 20 coming out in the system’s first year. 12 of those 20 will be new IPs, said Shu Yoshida, head of Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide.

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