Andrew House, the Sony top executive who took another swipe at Microsoft and the Xbox One from the stage at Gamescom, has explained why Sony has made such arch references to the competition at its showcase events. Basically, Microsoft made them do it.
"We constructed our E3 presentation because there was somehow a suspicion that the policies and approaches taken by our competition would create an industry trend in that direction," House, the president of Sony Computer Entertainment, told The Guardian this week.
"Given the speculation that was happening there, it apparently became necessary for us to make a statement and say what our intent was," he added. House said Microsoft's debut Xbox One event, in late May, portended an all-digital future, for all of gaming, in which gamers' rights to the media they purchased would be sharply curtailed.
Let's rewind. Sony was facing questions about used games on the PS4 going back to February, when it unveiled the machine. In late May, after Microsoft's Xbox One debut event, there was still a lot of uncertainty about the PS4's posture on connection requirements and game sharing. Sony was facing rumours that the PS4 also had anti-used games DRM, enough to get Redbox, the kiosk rental service, to try to mobilize gamers against both console makers. Sony had plenty of opportunities to clear all of this up, but didn't.
They didn't because they aren't idiots. They didn't want to stake themselves out to any position until they knew Microsoft's too. When they saw the intense core gamer backlash to Xbox One's more odious features, they waited — as damn well they should have — for a showcase like E3 to drop the hammer. I mean, how is this video anything but a shot at Microsoft?
None of this changes the fact that, yes, Sony clearly outmaneuvered Microsoft and even forced it to backtrack on its policies. That's an unmistakable win. I don't buy it that Sony did so to prevent a rogue from committing everyone to anti-consumer practices. Sony did it to kick Microsoft's arse, and it's why House reminded everyone that they did.
PS4 boss Andrew House: Xbox One policies surprised us [The Guardian]