With Xbox One and PlayStation 4 out for a couple of years this November, it is time for us to take a sit and discuss how they have performed so far. In the following lines we will focus on the past, the present and the future of Microsoft and Sony’s consoles, while looking in particular at the exclusive games they have been able to deliver so far. Ready when you are.
THE PAST AND THE PRESENT
Xbox One has had a very troubled start, and that’s nothing we discover or talk for the first time today. Microsoft’s original project was all about 360-degree entertainment, involving TV shows and an unexpected will to control people’s playstyle with always-online (and out of time) DRM. After two years, the only remnant of that unsuccessful strategy is a complex machine for developers to work on and, with the leadership of Phil Spencer replacing Don Mattrick’s lack of view, everything seems to have started getting back to Xbox 360’s times.
Microsoft is just focusing on video games and this holiday’s line-up clearly shows it, with titles like Gears of War Ultimate Edition, Forza Motorsport 6, Halo 5: Guardians and Rise of the Tomb Raider all releasing in about three months and providing Xbox fans with a lot of games they would not be able to find elsewhere.
On the other hand, we have Sony and PlayStation 4. PS4 has had a terrific start this generation, instantly getting the lead in terms of sales and approaching the market the same way PS2 did back in the years, and everything now suggests the current-gen console will be as successful as it was. PlayStation has a name, especially in Europe, and Sony did nothing more than providing the next PlayStation at a really competitive price with a simple (just like the console’s OS) and strong communication strategy. This has been enough to take the lead so far.
Exclusive games have not been delivered in huge quantities and the few we have been able to play so far have often been a disappointment or a mixed bag (Bloodborne is maybe the only one we would say has had an unanimous success); PlayStation Plus is also struggling to meet people’s expectations, but it doesn’t seem to matter at all: PS4 keeps selling like hell and this is probably up to its future games, which we’ll talk about later, and third party best support, both in terms of technology and marketing.
What’s next for Xbox One? Microsoft seems to have delivered its maximum effort this fall to try and recover some market shares in the console war with Sony and PS4: we will know only in a couple of months if this strategy will pay off or will state that console war is over (a circumstance which should occur in case PlayStation 4 will still be performing better although not launching any important exclusive title and just relying on third parties). NPD’s October North American sales data have witnessed a first success which people at Redmond hope will replicate soon.
Sony has instead been really quiet about its strategy although conquering a partnership with Call of Duty: Black Ops III that will be really important in determining which console will be the most successful in November. What they hope is not loosing too many market share by the end of this year, so they can still look forward the first months of 2016 when Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End will launch and ultimately put an end to the lack of PS4 high-quality exclusive games.
Microsoft will have a good 2016 with titles like Gears of War 4, Scalebound, Crackdown 3, Quantum Break and another racing game by Forza Horizon’s developer Playground Games, so it will still be a challenging time for Sony to maintain its leadership in terms of sales. Anyway, this time around, they will be supported by a good amount of triple-A titles at least: Quantic Dream’s Detroit: Become Human, Horizon: Zero Dawn, Gran Turismo: Sport, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End could finally be enough to “justify” PS4’s dominance on the market and let us see what this console is really capable of. May the best console win.