Although it has been almost two full years since the Xbox One and PS4 hit shelves, for some people the console wars are still raging on. Although gamers with more disposable income may have already shelled out close to $1,000 to bring both machines home, other shoppers are still holding out to decide which piece of hardware will perform better in the long run.
PS4 sales (which are helping Sony’s lagging profits) are slightly ahead of the Xbox One’s, but the race has been pretty close since the Microsoft machine recovered from its rocky marketing strategy before launch. Despite the fact that the numbers make it look like a close fight, some industry insiders feel there is a clear winner in the console race.
John Riccitiello, Former Electronic Arts CEO and current boss at Unity, hasn’t been shy about his PS4 preference in this console generation. Riccitiello discussed some of the reasons behind his crush on Sony and the PS4 during the GamesBeat Summit.
“There was a clash of ideas that really separated Sony and Microsoft… [The Xbox One and PS4] actually had very similar architecture that they were trying to bring to the table. But Microsoft focused… a lot on entertainment beyond gaming. Microsoft was trying to [compete against] Apple. They didn’t feel gaming was big enough to justify the pent-up desire … to have the recognition they wanted as an innovator.”
There’s no denying that Microsoft put a much bigger emphasis on the entertainment center console features than Sony did. That definitely came through in the marketing and E3 presentations, while the Sony team was busy delivering a clear message that the PS4 would be a console built for gamers. At this point, the Sony strategy has managed to win the console an edge over the Xbox One.
As Microsoft has said in the past, the console wars are a marathon, not a race; so there is still plenty of time for fluctuation in consumer preference. Although many of the Kinect features didn’t connect with audiences, the Xbox One updated dashboard does make the console feel new and improved, compared to the PS4 home screen, which remains mostly unchanged from the end of the PS3 era.
Regardless of whether gamers are for or against entertainment features like TV and DVR, because the consoles are fairly close in power the biggest deciding factor for many shoppers will be console exclusive titles. Both systems have been off to a very slow start on this front, but going into year three we should start to see games like Halo 5, a new Gears of War, Uncharted, and God of War give each console a real flagship title.
Riccitiello doesn’t touch on the importance of console-selling exclusives in his quotes about the consoles, however.
“Sony focused on the shot they needed to make, which was win the hearts and minds of the gamer. The broader scope of entertainment might be a bigger idea, but not with an unfocused execution… A tight execution on the 50 million people that matter, which are the people currently lapping up consoles … Sony f**king nailed it, and they deserve the victory.”
Riccitiello believes that the gamer-first approach to the console build has secured the PS4’s victory in the console wars, but it looks to like the real battle will come in 2016 as gamers who only want to purchase one console decide which one machine has the better exclusives.
Do you think that the PS4 has won the console war? With both consoles being a financial success, do you think it’s safe to say that Microsoft and Sony have both won? Let us know in the comments.