By Larry Frum
Special to CNN
LOS ANGELES (CNN) – Sony looked to capitalize on its early sales lead in the console wars at its Electronic Entertainment Expo media briefing on Monday, repeating the mantras of “first,” “better” and “only on” as selling points for its PlayStation 4.
Hours earlier, rival Microsoft stuck strictly to games for the Xbox One in a similar briefing. But Sony’s presentation included new hardware and non-gaming services as well as promises of exclusive titles and titles that will launch on PlayStation before coming to other consoles.
Andrew House, president and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment, said the company aims to make the PS4 “the best place to play.”
Max Parker, a video game columnist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, noted that the more inclusive presentation was a bit of a switch with Microsoft, which last year focused on the Xbox’s entertainment potential while, in some eyes, giving games less than their due.
“Sony pulled a 180 and switched roles,” Parker said. “Last year, they didn’t talk very much about the (services and non-game content).” He added, though, that “there was a lot of good content, games-wise” to go along with the extras this year.
One of the biggest crowd reactions of the presentation came when “Little Big Planet 3” was announced for November. Sackboy, the lead character in the puzzle-platform series, will get three new friends to join him in amazing new worlds, as well as the 8.7 million levels created by current “Little Big Planet” players.
And a never-before-seen trailer, created using the PS4, announced that “Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End,” will be arriving for the console in 2015.
On the hardware front, Sony announced that PlayStation TV will be available in the United States later this year. Already available in Japan as PlayStation Vita TV, the $99 micro-console will allow users to play more than 1,000 games on their television and stream music and video from sites like Hulu.
A new “Glacier White” PlayStation 4 also will be released later this year, bundled with the action shooter “Destiny,” which will be released in September.
The surprise success of the PlayStation Camera – a $60 add-on to the console – and Project Morpheus, Sony’s attempt at a virtual-reality headset, also got mentions.
Other announcements included a partnership with YouTube that will let players automatically upload video to the site, a video-streaming service (PlayStation Now) and two pieces of original entertainment – a movie based on the “Ratchet & Clank” series and an animated series based on the graphic novel “Powers.”
“The thirst for innovation at PlayStation is tremendous,” said Shawn Layden, president and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment America.
PlayStation 4 sales jumped out to a quick lead over the Xbox One when both consoles were released in November, and it has outsold Microsoft’s offering for four straight months this year. It’s worth noting, though, that both are outselling their last-generation counterparts to date, and that PlayStation is currently available in more countries than the Xbox.