There’s an old saying that competition is good for business. Not for the competing companies necessarily, but for the consumer. Nowhere is that more true than in the video game industry.
Consumers, or in this case gamers, aren’t the only ones who reap the benefits of increased competition among console manufacturers, though. Third party publishers, like Electronic Arts for example, also end up profiting from the competition as well. The better the platforms, the better the potential experiences, and the more interested gamers are.
Speaking with GI.biz, EA’s COO Peter Moore echoed those sentiments, saying that his company sits in the “sweet spot” between Sony and Microsoft. Moore sees a “great fight” on the horizon for the two companies this holiday, and believes his company and gamers will ultimately feast on the spoils of those two’s war.
As Moore explains, consumers need companies like Sony, Microsoft, and even Nintendo to stay healthy in the market, because it drives investment in the platform by third parties and it drives competition. If a single company took the market share unopposed they could set precedents that only benefit their success, rather than those that benefit the consumer.
“Consumers love it as well, and it’s good for the industry. You need powerful companies like Sony and Microsoft to be battling out with each other because it drives investment in their platforms. It drives competition. You want to see Nintendo come back with the Wii U. All in all, it becomes healthy for gamers, for the environment. When you have a runaway winner, that actually has a reverse effect.”
Take Xbox Live and PlayStation Plus, for example. Microsoft had been riding the success of Xbox Live Gold, their subscription-based online service, for years with little change until PS Plus came along. Sony made their service more valuable with free games and Microsoft was forced to respond. Now both services are much better than they once were, and it’s all because of competition.
For EA’s purposes, the fight between Microsoft and Sony will likely help drive sales for their upcoming fall slate. The PS4 and the Xbox One are already selling very well, and that trend should only continue as we near the holiday season. Gamers are interested in these consoles much earlier on than they were last generation, and they’re going to want games. It just so happens that EA has a full slate of fall releases available.
“What PlayStation did with the PS2 was a wonderful tail. I was at Microsoft and we kind of buried the Xbox quickly because to be blunt, it was just losing money. We stopped making games for it ourselves and stopped manufacturing it because the view was, ‘Let’s move to Xbox 360. Let’s get there quickly, establish a beachhead before the PlayStation 3 came out,’ and that certainly worked well in that generation. You could argue maybe the tables have been somewhat turned in this generation, but I think it’s going to be a great fight in the holiday. And as a third-party publisher, we sit right in the sweet spot.”
We’ve detailed before that the increased competition between console manufacturers this time around has likely bettered the industry as a whole. We have better consoles because one company was worried the other had better specs, and we have stronger online services because one company took a risk. Heck, Microsoft even dropped the Kinect — something they vehemently claimed they would not do — because the competition was outgaining them. Plain and simple: competition is a good thing.
Do you think the increased competition between Sony and Microsoft has delivered better consoles? If you haven’t already, which console do you plan on picking up first?
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