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Microsoft's PR blunders caused Sony to re-write E3 PlayStation 4 script

Didn't want gamers to assume Sony was "going down the same path".

Sony re-wrote portions of its E3 2013 presentation - when the company fully unveiled the PlayStation 4 - after seeing Microsoft's unpopular announcements detailing the Xbox One's initial policies regarding used games and DRM.

Speaking at the Develop 2014 conference in Brighton today, Sony Computer Entertainment boss Andrew House said that he had re-written portions of Sony's script after reading concerns that PlayStation would eventually copy Microsoft's restrictive policies at some point - whether at the console's launch, or further down the line.

"It made us feel a little bit clearer about our message," House said, "when a lot of the negativity was emerging around DRM issues and used games. I remember reading an article literally the weekend before E3 that was basically saying that this is the direction Microsoft was taking and that it was only a matter of time before Sony adopts the same approach.

"That sort of put me on the back foot and I went and re-wrote portions of my E3 presentation script that weekend and we re-crafted the presentation because there was now an onus on us not to be seen to be going down the same path."

Sony's policies did not change at any time, House stressed, but it had become clear Sony would do well to state its position more carefully.

"All it did was make us come out and state very clearly 'the status quo has been good to us, consumers like the choice and the balance that achieves'," he concluded. "It wasn't a shift in strategy, it was just a feeling of a necessity to go out and communicate something that we just took advantage of."

Microsoft had also been criticised for its focus on Xbox One as an all-round entertainment system, rather than a console with a priority of simply playing games.

In contrast, Sony had always been "crystal clear" that it wanted to target the core audience first, House concluded. The company was open to the device being used to play other forms of media, but certain that it would only initially market PlayStation 4 to core gamers.

The end result of House's changes can be seen in the video below, when former Sony exec Jack Tretton took to the stage to reaffirm PlayStation 4's position on used games, game sharing, and confirm that the console wouldn't require an internet connection. It was one of the most memorable E3 moments in recent years. Microsoft reversed its policies soon after.

Watch on YouTube

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Tom Phillips


Tom is Eurogamer's Editor-in-Chief. He writes lots of news, some of the puns and makes sure we put the accent on Pokémon. Tom joined Eurogamer in 2010 following a stint running a Nintendo fansite, and still owns two GameCubes. He also still plays Pokémon Go every day.