So I’ve been sitting here for a while now, thinking about how I’m going to handle all the information that was thrown at us during E3. It’s fairly clear that, no matter if you loved or hated everything you saw, that this is going to be one of the most significant events that the industry will see in a long time. And right at center stage of this event was the twelve-round grudge match between Sony and Microsoft for console dominance in the next generation.There is a great deal of finer details and business decisions that are making this generation both interesting and terrifying from a critical perspective.
So how do I even begin to do this topic justice?
I thought about doing a straight up, ‘Sony vs. Microsoft, Who’s Came Out on Top’ post, attempting to sum up the many issues at play in one neat package, but quite honestly, my heart wasn’t in it. I feel like I’d be glazing over a number of the issues that bothered me, and the features that excited me, simply for the sake of expediency and conciseness. I want to take the time to explore some of these features, issues and business decisions at a deeper level, and try and see how they affect gamers and the industry. I know most people want to read just one post to see who came out on top…but I simply feel like I can’t do it.
So what I’ve decided to do instead is to tackle as many of the larger issues as I can, one post at a time, seeing exactly how Microsoft and Sony measure up to each other in that regard. Hopefully by the end I’ll have a better idea of not only who came out on top, but where it all fits in to the big picture.
But for today, I’m simply going to give the most general of thoughts as a quick lead-in, simply to get myself in the headspace.
Going in to this year’s E3, it was Sony’s competition to lose. Microsoft had been attracting the brunt of consumer anger over the preceding few weeks, due to many an unconfirmed rumor about their consoles connection requirements, policy towards used games, Kinect-spying and many, many more. It was a known fact that Microsoft would have to devote at least part of their conference to some attempt at damage control, which left Sony with a golden opportunity.
Not only did Sony save the reveal of their console(seeming like a much better idea now, isn’t it?), they now had tapped in to the heart of consumer concerns over the XBOX One. You better believe that if the Playstation 4 had a better system for any of the major sticking points of the XBOX One, Sony was going to flaunt it at center stage.
Microsoft on the other hand had something to prove. Not only did they need to minimize the impact of these rumors, but they also needed to prove to gamers that their console still was going to be a core gaming platform, with gamers having come away from the XBOX One reveal feeling somewhat brushed aside in favor of fantasy sports and Netflix.
So that was the way I saw the match lining up. With Microsoft attempting to win back its core gaming demographic, and Sony attempting to solidify it’s advantage, while at the same time making sure people knew that the PS4 wasn’t simply a PS3 with a share button added.
So how did they do? On the whole, reasonably successful on some fronts, abysmally on others. Over the next couple weeks, I’m hoping to take a look at as many of these issues as I possibly can, and see you really came out on the top of the heap. It’s going to be a long time of picking through details, but in the end, I think it will be a journey worth taking.