So in a couple of months time the next generation of games consoles will finally succeed the current generation of games machines. The hottest competition is between the XBone and the PS4, but which will reign supreme. If you are looking for hardware spec arguments you will not find it here, No there is a much deeper side to be analysed.
With the two consoles lined up to be released this holiday period it seemed to all who were watching to be a very elaborate game of chess (metaphorically) on which would release first. The answer is actually a mixed bag as both release before the other depending on your territory.
PS4 November 15th
XBone November 22nd
XBone November 22nd
PS4 November 29th
Microsoft seems to be prioritising the European market with this release date, and Sony the North American market. The PlayStation brand is very strong in Europe and seeing as Microsoft cannot even get a foothold in Japan it seems only right that they should battle it out in Europe. In fact a big factor here is that the release dates for both consoles in Japan have not even been revealed, which shows where the real markets for games now lies in the global marketplace.
In terms of which one wins out from their release dates it is too close to call, however the release date in Europe gives Microsoft an edge for this territory.
Not only is Microsoft releasing in Europe first, they are throwing the kitchen sink at potential customers so that XBone is the console of choice in this region. First off is the Day one edition of the console which as the name suggests is only available on day one, so pre-order is a must. This edition comes with a special commemorative controller and an exclusive achievement, so far pretty tame but pre-orders of the XBone also include a free digital copy of either Fifa 14 or Forza Motorsport 5. This is only in Europe and as Fifa games are most successful in Europe, and we mean successful, such a prospect seems very enticing to European gamers.
On the flip side PS4 is rivaling this with nothing. The argument from Sony is that pre-orders are at such a level that they don’t need to do any schemes similar to this to push their consoles to the customer.
You can’t help that feel that with a free game on offer both of immense quality that XBone has scored one over its competition, but again in Europe.
Live and PS+
Of course when talking about free games PlayStation Plus has that covered. With years of service building PS+ has a lot of experience behind it, with the PS4 PS+ comes Drive Club and Resogun, the spiritual successor to the Super Star Dust games, for free. PS+ is now mandatory for online play on PS4 and so anyone who wants to play online will have access to free games every month. Also one subscription to PS+ also gives you the service on PS3 and PSVita, that is even more free games.
The deal here is that Live will stay as a subscription service and now PlayStation too will require a subscription service which personally was bad news for me as one of the main draws for me was the PS was free online. No longer. However when you consider the added value that will come along with PS+ then PlayStation nods ahead here.
When it comes down to it sometimes the price will be the only determining factor, if you can’t afford it you can’t buy it.
Xbox One – £429/$499
PS4 – £349/$399
The PS4 wins out here and whilst not cheap, anyone wanting to jump into the next generation may be swayed by the price of PlayStation’s machine.
the drawback for the PS4 here is that in order to beat Microsoft on price they had to eliminate the PS Eye from its console whilst every XBone comes with Kinect. Now the real question is do consumers see the kinect as enough of a selling point to justify that extra money. I think this generation on the 360 Microsoft struck out with Kinect, they really didn’t manage to sell it to the masses and never really showed off on its true potential. Now this new Kinect may be amazing but right now the customers will already have a preconception of the new kinect based on the old kinect. If they were not impressed or bothered with Kinect on the 360 then likely their opinions will not have changed for now. Microsoft really needs to express why gaming with Kinect is worth the extra money to change opinions.
This one then is a winner in Sony’s favour.
When the release of the consoles were announced something important happened. One company said all the right things and one company did not. When Sony revealed the PS4 they did not even show the console, why? because they wanted to shift the importance of the reveal onto the games and the good changes that were coming. The gamers watching/reading got to hear about the things that mattered to them. Sony announced and showcased games such as infamous and Killzone and they also basically did a checklist of what the PS3’s downfalls where and stated how they have been rectified. This reveal was not groundbreaking, the console is solid but it’s not revolutionary, but Sony marketed this product and their information in the right way and in doing so won over a lot of people very early on. It was amusing that before Microsoft had revealed their console there was a lot of hate flying Microsoft’s way. Many fans exclaiming they were jumping ship, Microsoft couldn’t compete and should give up.
Microsoft will have seen the Sony event, held in America my I add, watched the positive reaction and basically learned nothing from it. Microsoft came out telling is customers that they needed to be online to play their games, that to play their games on a friends console they would have to pay for it again and that the Kinect would need to be on at all times. This served up a massive hatred towards the XBone and was met with a lot of doom and gloom over the next console. Not long after this Microsoft went back on its self and started reversing these controversial policies, with the most recent being that the kinect sensor no longer needs to be on.
Whilst the reversal of policies means Microsoft saw the error of its ways the damage has already been done. There will always be a negative reaction to these announcements and to anybody who does not religiously follow game news they may not even know of the changes Microsoft implemented. It also creates a lot of confusion as to what is what, as many sources from Microsoft try to elaborate or fix an issue and the reality can get lost and confused. Most people will feel a lot clearer about the PlayStation’s message than that of the XBone.
Again another Sony win.
Here lies a very big factor for each machine, the games they can offer that the other one can’t, it is this very reason Nintendo will never die because they games and franchises they offer can never be surpassed. Every gamer wants great games and there lies the way to attract potential buyers.
When these games were announced I was surprised by how more enticed I was by Microsoft’s offering than I was Sony’s. Sure Sony are offering games such as Infamous: Second Son, Killzone: Shadows Fall and Resogun but these are basically Sony owned studios (except Housemarque) and I was expecting these. When the likes of Kingdom Hearts 3 were announced I was expecting a PS4 exclusive but alas no it was coming to all consoles. In fact all the heavy hitters from non Sony studios that were announced were not exclusives, the nearest thing we get to exclusives with PS4 seems to be the extra content in Assassin’s Creed 4 and Watch Dogs which by no means is a reason to buy a console.
XBone on the other hand enticed with exclusives, as a bit of a lover of ancient Rome I was enthralled with Ryse and I think all those people claiming it is a QTE game will be eating their words, it was also from Crytek which is not a Microsoft owned Studio. The big one for me was that Titanfall is coming to the XBone and not PS4, from the creators of Call of Duty this multiplayer only game has the same intensity and faced paced action as COD but with the addition of massive robots called Titans. In essence it looks amazing. It was also stated that the team behind the game aren’t against bringing it to the PS4 but the team was too small for both, if so Sony really should have gone out of their way to make sure a game such as this was coming to the PS4.
Exclusives has to go to Microsoft.
Whilst this doesn’t provide and definitive answer as to who will win the battle of the launch window it is interesting to look at the different aspects that will play on a person’s mind when deciding to purchase their next gaming machine.
Who do you think will win? And which one will you be getting?