November 21, 2014 Leave a comment
It was around this time last year that Sony’s PlayStation 4 (PS4) and Microsoft’s Xbox One (XBONE) were first released, starting the next generation of the console gaming wars—Nintendo, as per usual, is left out of the conversation. What does the second round clash between these two giants look like? Let’s take a look at the previous year and forecast what might be on tap for this holiday season.
Thus far, the PS4 has outsold the XBONE, 13.5 million vs. 10 million. Though it should be noted that the XBONE used to cost $100 more and was marketed more so as a general entertainment system than a gaming console.
As a whole, this next generation of gaming consoles is selling well; combined Sony and Microsoft have sold almost 24 million consoles since last year. This is roughly 70 percent more than last generation’s PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 made during their first year.
Neither system is backwards compatible, though each company appears to have a strategy to combat this issue. For Sony it is PlayStation Now: a marketplace on the PlayStation Network where older games can be purchased and downloaded. Microsoft appears to be addressing backwards compatibility through a strategy that Sony is known for: supporting both the Xbox 360 and the XBONE simultaneously—just as Sony did with the PS2 and PS3, and to a lesser extent currently with the PS3 and PS4.
Microsoft also has a strategy for hopefully transitioning gamers to the XBONE from their Xbox 360s. Certain games intended for the XBONE like Destiny currently have a special offer where, if you purchase a copy before January 2015 you will receive a digital copy for both the Xbox 360 and the XBONE. This both supports the notion of supporting both consoles but also suggests that Microsoft hopes gamers will begin transitioning to the XBONE.
There are some that believe the days of consoles are numbered. There are many reasons behind this school of thought, though one of the main threats to console gaming appears to be the rise of cheap mobile games that don’t require a several hundred-dollar console solely dedicated to playing games.
Consoles have historically also been threatened by the PC gaming. While the two have peacefully coexisted for a while, it looks like console games might have an additional front to fight. Steam, the popular video game market for computer gaming, is set to release a line of long awaited Steam Machines in 2015, which looks to be a hybrid of PC gaming and console gaming that makes Steam’s sizeable library of games more accessible and easier to interface with.
However, consoles are doing everything in their power to stay attractive. One feature of gaming consoles might see some improvements to this end: video-streaming apps. Video game consoles are important to video-streaming apps, in fact research shows that consoles are the most used source of video streaming services in the US. Sony is looking to take advantage of this audience in a big way, announcing Sony Vue: a TV video-streaming service that hopes to rival cable subscriptions. In a weird twist, Internet TV might be the thing that saves gaming consoles instead of multi-million dollar gaming projects.
In a nutshell, and a surprise to no one, the console war between Sony and Microsoft continues to be a tug-of-war with no end in sight.
Do you own a gaming system? Would you prefer to own a PS4 or an XBONE?