For the sake of this Nerd Rant I’m going to put two things out there: I am predominately a Xbox gamer and that the Wii U will not be mentioned in this next-generation console war argument because Nintendo pretty much wants to do its own thing and separate itself from the behemoths that are the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. This will be an unbiased look at Sony’s and Microsoft’s next-generation console reveals in their wake and a chance to look at the state of the console war that will be in full effect come this fall.
With that said let the ranting begin.
So who won the next-generation console reveal?
I’m going to have to hand this one to Sony because they executed exactly what they needed to do in their console reveal to a T. They knew what Microsoft and the Xbox lacked — exclusive games — and that’s where Sony had their main advantage. They appealed to the hardcore gamer, the people that are most vocal about the industry and keeps up with gaming news, and presented a machine made with those gamers in mind. They also made a machine for developers so they could have a machine capable of being the ultimate sandbox allowing them to create whatever they could imagine.
Sony presented the PlayStation 4 as the ultimate gaming console, a machine that made sure that entertainment came second and that its focus was on games and the people who would play those games.
Enter Xbox One reveal.
Everything about this reveal felt a bit anti-climatic. It felt like we knew everything that was coming and the surprises were more “oh that’s cool” moments – it didn’t have the shock and awe factor that the PlayStation 4 reveal had. Microsoft positioned the Xbox One as the one machine you need to meet all your entertainment desires – it’s much more than just a gaming machine.
There was speculation all around the internet that this was how the Xbox One reveal would be and that Microsoft would return to its agenda of trying to dominate your living room and it did just that.
The reason why Sony wins in this dual is because there is still so much hype around the PlayStation 4 and the hardcore gamers, at least through comments on various forums and websites, are really getting behind this gaming machine. I find myself highly considering switching over to the PlayStation 4 next-generation and leaving the console I’ve supported so wholeheartedly because Sony seems so focused on bringing gamers the ultimate “gaming” console.
As much as I love Netflix and all that entertainment jazz that Microsoft brings to the Xbox, I still consider myself a gamer first, and as a gamer I want the console that will bring me the best experience the next-generation has to offer.
But Microsoft and Sony’s console reveals were just battles and in the grand scheme of things Sony just won one of the many battles that it will need to win before it can consider the war won. E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) is the next, and I would probably say key, decisive battle that will turn the tides in either direction.
Sony presented their console first and I would say that has played a major part in it having the advantage. The PlayStation 4 was presented to be the next-generation console that gamers would want and presenting that first has left a lasting impact that will be hard to overshadow for the Xbox One, but Microsoft can do it if it plays its cards right.
Presenting practically opposite reveals, Sony presenting a gaming machine and Microsoft presenting an all-in-one box, has made things interesting, especially when it comes to E3. Microsoft will drive that the Xbox One is the ultimate gaming console for the next-generation that everyone should own. Sony will try to maintain the status quo of it being the ultimate gaming machine and try to show of its other flashy parts that will make up the PlayStation 4.
Speculation after speculation will be made up until the day that these consoles launch and the numbers come out to inform the world whose console is reigning superior and as of this moment I would say it’s anyone’s game.
Microsoft has positioned this as an all-in-one box that will meet all your entertainment desires, including gaming. The Xbox One is marketed at a broader audience and I think it’s important to note that gaming culture has changed and become more broad and services-based more than just for the hardcore gamer. I would go out on a limb to say that a majority of console owners aren’t hardcore gamers, they’re parents buying consoles for their family and for their children, college students playing Madden and Call of Duty.
Because video games have become more mainstream it is only natural that the hardcore population become diluted and the demographics lean more towards the casual gamer and that may be a key factor in determining who wins this fall.
Microsoft has played its chips towards the broader more mainstream audience and Sony has narrowed its demographic aim at the hardcore gamer and aspires to deliver the console that provides the best gaming experience. Which marketing philosophy will thrive this fall?
We’ll know when the numbers come out this fall, because the numbers don’t lie.