At long last, Sony has taken the wraps off PlayStation 4‘s hardware design. As it turns out, the forthcoming console bears a striking resemblance to its primary competitor, the Xbox One. Minimalist. Rectangular. Both flat and glossy black. But where the Xbox One sports rigidly squared sides, the PlayStation 4 is angled, as though it were leaning back.

Yes, the two consoles are cosmetically similar. But they are crucially different in other aspects – aspects in which gamers understandably have an enormous amount of interest. So let’s just say it: PlayStation 4 will launch this holiday season for $399 – a full $100 less than Xbox One – and it will not restrict the buying, selling, trading or playing of used games. At all.

No question about it, Sony put on an enormously strong show. The games were both impressive and impressively diverse: Bungie’s Destiny, The Order: 1886 from developer Ready at Dawn, Final Fantasy XV (formerly Final Fantasy vs. XIII), Kingdom Hearts 3, plus a spate of indie games including Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty, Octodad: Dadliest Catch and SuperGiant Games’ Transistor. That said, for many viewers, the real highlight of the presentation was likely Sony’s explanation of PlayStation 4’s support for used games and offline play, much of which came across like an extended indictment of Microsoft’s policies for Xbox One. It was a genuinely rousing moment – the crowd cheered. I did, too.

Yes, the video above is more than a little snarky, but it makes its point. PlayStation 4 supports the used games market exactly as it exists right now. Disc-based games can be bought, sold, traded, loaned to friends, and they work just like games always have. No fees. No friends list requirements – just pop in the disc and it works. For that matter, PS4 does not need to go online and authenticate itself every 24 hours. It won’t stop working if you don’t connect to the internet. If you’d prefer to play single-player games without the console being connected, that’s no problem at all.

Add to that list of positives the news that PlayStation Plus, which currently covers PS3 and Vita for a single fee, will also cover PlayStation 4 at no additional cost. Oh, and Driveclub PS Plus Edition will be available to PS+ subscribers as an Instant Game Collection title the very same day that PS4 launches. Seriously, how cool is that?

There is one disappointment, and it concerns online gaming. Online play has always been free for PlayStation players, but that’s apparently going to change with PlayStation 4. There is a disclaimer in that “sharing” video stating that “PS4 multi-player online access requires PSN account & PS Plus subscription.” Otherwise, there just isn’t much to complain about.

What do you think, Ranters? Are you pleased with Sony’s policies on used games and online authentication? What do you think about the PS4’s price? Let us know in the comments below, and keep an eye on Game Rant for more on the games revealed during Sony’s press conference.

The PlayStation 4 launches this holiday season for $399 in the US, £349 in the UK and €399 in Europe.

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