PlayStation challenges Xbox with new hardware at E3

10 Jun 2014

PlayStation 4 with PlayStation TV

The Sony Computer Entertainment showcase at E3 in Los Angeles, California, last night revealed new content, new hardware and an expanding entertainment ecosystem.

The PlayStation 2014 E3 Media and Business Summit press conference took place at the the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena, and bleary-eyed gaming fans this side of the Atlantic had to stay up past 2am to catch it.

The showcase boasted of Sony’s next-generation console success, with more than 7m PlayStation 4 units sold worldwide compared to 5m of Microsoft’s Xbox One.

To keep on top of the game, new titles aren’t enough, as cross-platform options are common. And so, Sony peppered its announcements with news of hardware to boost its gaming ecosystem.

€99 PlayStation TV arrives in autumn

Let’s start with PlayStation TV, a small device originally called the Vita TV and available only in Japan. In autumn 2014, this micro-console comes to Sony’s North American and European markets, providing users with access to both gaming and entertainment content via any TV in the house.

The €99 PlayStation TV can be used to remotely play PS4 games you own over a home Wi-Fi network, as well as selected PlayStation Vita and classic PlayStation titles available through the PlayStation Store. At launch, a library of almost 1,000 games is expected.

Entertainment content, such as movies, TV shows and music will also be available to buy, rent or stream through the portable 4.1-inch device.

This may lead to more original content, such as Powers, a series based on the comic book and graphic novel series of the same name that has been given the greenlight from Sony Television and PlayStation and will begin airing on PlayStation Network in December.

PlayStation TV and DualShock Controller

The PlayStation TV micro-console alongside a DualShock 4 Controller

PlayStation Now coming to North America this summer

Sony also announced that PlayStation Now, its cloud-based game-streaming service, will start rolling out to continental US and parts of Canada this summer. The service will hit PlayStation 4 first, followed by PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita, and will even be accessible on Sony smart TVs to anyone with a DualShock 3 Controller.

Publishers signed up to PlayStation Now, which was first revealed at CES earlier this year, include Activision, Capcom, Electronic Arts, Take-Two, Square Enix, Warner Bros.

A beta release opening on 31 July will offer access to more than 100 games, including including Dead Space 3, God of War: Ascension, Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes, Ratchet and Clank: Into the Nexus, and Ultra Street Fighter 4.

Project Morpheus update

As well as TV news, Sony also has an update on its virtual reality headset, Project Morpheus. With better-than-expected sales of the PlayStation Camera, Sony is encouraged that this headset, which builds on this device, will be well-received, and visitors to E3 will be treated to two new playable demonstrations.

That said, it will be at least a year before we’re likely to see Project Morpheus (or whatever its final iteration will be called) on the consumer market.


New gaming line-up

Leading the charge of new games coming to PlayStation 4 is Destiny, the hotly anticipated title from Bungie and Activision. This sci-fi epic will be released on 9 September with exclusive in-game content for the PlayStation 3 and 4 editions.

As part of its showcase, PlayStation announced exclusive Destiny bundles that include the option for an all-white 500GB PS4 and membership to PlayStation Plus.

Starting Thursday and for the duration of the weekend, excited gamers can play Destiny’s First Look Alpha via the PS4 Greatness Awaits website, and a beta release will be available to PlayStation gamers first starting 17 July.

PlayStation 4 'glacier white'

The ‘glacier white’ PS4, available exclusively with Destiny

Though it’s not coming until 2016, the PlayStation event previewed Abzu, the new title coming from the creators of the award-winning Journey that will take gamers on an undersea adventure. For those looking for a more immediate fix, Entwined, the first game from from Sony’s student-lend studio Pixel Opus, is available now for PS4 via the PlayStation Store for €7.99.

Far Cry 4 from Ubisoft was demonstrated live for first time in co-op mode during the event. The game will be released in November and PlayStation gamers who snap it up can invite their PlayStation Network friends to play even if they haven’t.

Another gameplay demo came from Batman: Arkham Knight which promises exclusive content and early beta access for PlayStation gamers, as does Dead Island 2.

Sandbox sci-fi game No Man’s Sky will come to PlayStation 4 first and, according to creators Hello Games, this game’s universe is procedurally generated and, therefore, theoretically infinite.

Bloodborne, the new title from From Software and the critically acclaimed game director Hidetaka Miyazaki (he of Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls) was also unveiled at the event, and Battlefield: Hardline had a new trailer to show off as it announced that the console-exclusive beta is now live on PlayStation 4.


A screenshot from the creepy world of Bloodborne for PS4

Sony also announced that Grim Fandango is coming to both PS3 and PS Vita, while a number of current favourites are in the pipeline for 2014.

Grand Theft Auto V arrives on PlayStation 4 this autumn (as well as Xbox One and PC) and players on Xbox 360 and PS3 will be able to transfer their progress to the new edition.

Disney Infinity 2.0: Marvel Super Heroes will come with a collector’s edition release for PlayStation 3 and 4, with the Incredible Hulk character only available at launch on PlayStation, and LittleBigPlanet 3 will be released in November exclusively to PlayStation and with three new characters.

Other games given a nod during the PlayStation showcase include Diablo 3, inFAMOUS: First Light, The Last of Us: Remastered, Let It Die, Metal Gear Solid V, Mortal Kombat X, The Order: 1886 and PlayStation exclusive Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End.

There will also be more than 100 new games coming to PlayStation Vita this year, including Minecraft, Invizimals: The Resistance, Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number, Helldivers, Hohokum and Guns Up!, a free-to-play side-scroller.

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.