Let The Games Begin – Sony and Microsoft Battle For Gaming Supremacy

While Nintendo’s Wii U ‘officially’ kicked off the next generation of games consoles late last year, for many of the world’s hardcore gamers and games publishers the real console war doesn’t begin until Sony and Microsoft say it does, when each show their hands and release their next generation of consoles. Speculation as to what features are to be included on each console has been reigning for years with Sony being the first to unveil their gaming behemoth, the PlayStation 4 (although not actually showing the console) at a press conference only a few short weeks ago.

The unveiling was mostly met with critical and consumer praise with Sony determined to impress and win back some of the more devoted gamers they may have lost to Xbox in recent years. Praise was given for not only an impressive showing of upcoming games, but with a list of mouth-watering details of the consoles inside for all those obsessed with gigabytes and RAM. However it may be Sony’s commitment to keeping their console open, making their console easier for developers to work on, and flat-out saying that their console will not be blocking used games that may prove the deciding factor for many gamers looking to choose between Sony’s PlayStation and Microsoft’s upcoming Xbox.

New rumours suggest that Microsoft’s console will be blocking used games, tying any game purchased to the account it was first played on – an unwelcome blow to many budget conscious gamers who rely on cheaper used games to get their gaming fix. Reports that the console will also require an ‘always on’ internet connection, another controversial choice for the company, is a decision which baffles many, especially give the large amount of players who choose to play offline, never connecting their console to Xbox Live, or even worse, alienating the large amount of gamers who don’t have access to a solid or consistent internet connection.

History has proven that the most powerful console is not always the one that goes on to sell the most.  This is particularly noticeable with the Nintendo Wii which still stands a cool 25 million units ahead of either the Xbox 360 or PS3 at nearly 100 million units shipped to date.

For many consumers a good price point and value for money still remains king. With Microsoft’s commitment to online connectivity you have to imagine they plan on continuing their Xbox Live subscription fees, charging customers a quite sizable fee to allow gamers to be able to play their games online, a service which Sony and Nintendo have provided for free.  The question for Sony is, do they try continuing to be different to Xbox and remain free or do they even the playing field and charge customers to play online?

Microsoft on the other hand had to have been watching the Sony press conference and taking notes. They know impressing gamers in a variety of ways is becoming increasingly important; no longer can they rely on key games like Halo to sell consoles alone, as the average consumer is smarter and more than willing to pass up on a few key games if they can gain better features elsewhere.

As the dawn of the new Xbox draws nearer, all eyes are on Microsoft to see if they can steal Sony’s thunder, another battle in the war both companies have been waging for more than a decade.  With fans on either side eager to herald their champion, ultimately, as each company strives to top the other, it’s the consumers who will win in the end. Let the games begin.

    • niallhetherington
    • March 20th, 2013

    Have to say, for all the features promised in the PS4 that impressed me, the lack of backwards compatibility is extremely disrespectful to their fan base.

    If Microsoft were to feature even the same level of backwards compatibility as the XBOX360 has they would have a serious advantage from the off

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