A lot has changed since the last “next-gen” console war. It has been over eight years, and I don’t know how much of a “war” we will have this time around.
Based on Microsoft’s social media approach for the Playstation announcement this week, it would appear they are looking at it as a friendly competition and embracing the jump in technology and new games for the entire industry. They even had a lot of figureheads from Microsoft expressing excitement to see more of the PS4, posting a picture of a group of them watching the announcement eating popcorn.
From a PR perspective this is genius. Microsoft went into the next-gen last time with the original Xbox having no weight in the market. It didn’t matter the features, the specs, or the games, no one wanted the Xbox because the PS2 was everything you could wish for.
When the Xbox 360 came out though, it blew people away. It had that “underdog” mantra around it, where gamers were pleasantly surprised because they had no expectations.
This atmosphere combined with Sony’s well-deserved arrogance in the console war pushed it to the top. Sony thought people would pay an extra $100-$200 for a console, because their PS2 install base was overwhelming. They had everyone developing for them and major companies like Rockstar were really slow to embrace the original Xbox, if they did at all.
This time around, there is no way there will be a repeat of history. The gaming world has changed for better and for worse. The things that mattered and drove consumers one way or another last generation are widely obsolete, and the success or failure will rely on their current fanbase.
Although the Sony fanboys will disregard this entire article after I say this, I have to…Microsoft dominated this generation and the next one is theirs to lose.
The playing field is level:
- They are both successful in their own regards.
- They both have an online service.
- They both have a handful of exclusives.
- They both will release their next-gen console at similar prices.
- They both have the support of all third party developers. (Capcom, Electronic Arts, Square Enix, Bethesda, Blizzard, Rockstar)
- They both will offer the same experience with subtle differences i.e. user interface.
What is all comes down to in the end is this: THE FANS
Sony lost their dominance with the PS3 by offering a higher price point (which Microsoft won’t be dumb enough to repeat) and Sony had no online service near the level the Xbox 360 was offering.
So now you have millions of gamers who won’t change their system because:
- Microsoft/Sony will entice you to migrate your account over to their new system.
- Gamers won’t learn a new system/controller because they don’t want to “get owned” in the new Call of Duty.
- Gamers have developed friendships over these years and won’t start anew if all their online friends came from PSN or Xbox Live.
Add to that the “hardcore” annoying gamers from games like Halo, Call of Duty, Battlefield, and Madden will be blowing up the hype as soon as they see the next Xbox announced at E3, and it is very clear why Sony needed to do a separate event – which is smart, they need people to talk about their system NOW.
I am not saying Microsoft is great and Sony sucks. Head to head in terms of sales though Microsoft has sold 17 million more consoles in North America than Sony. Their reach is longer and their voice is going to be louder. Sony knew they were going to be outmatched, meaning they are just as aware of the hype exploding on the next Xbox as well. I mean why else would they announce so early?
When both next-gen systems are offering virtually the same experience minus a handful of exclusive games going either way, I don’t see either system “stealing” customers, essentially this is Microsoft’s war to lose, and as long as neither do something really stupid, I don’t see the armistice line changing.
Please direct all poorly written, angry, and immature comments below.