Friday, November 21, 2014
PS4 or XBOX One - Who wins the Console War this Christmas?
So, after a bit more than a year on the market, who is leading the console game war – Sony’s Playstation 4 or Microsoft’s XBOX One? Set aside for a moment the notion that console gaming is on borrowed time. In fact marinate on this: between the two, the gaming answer to Hatfield and McCoy have sold a whopping 24 million units … in the first year alone. Before you say, “well, really, how many is that,” think about this – that’s a 70% increase over the sales of the equally lauded PS3 and XBOX 360.
Here’s the thing…the race for supremacy isn’t, at this point, very close. To date, Sony has sold about 14 million units while Microsoft has shipped roughly ten million. Why the gap? Well, the knock on XBOX is that it’s too general of a machine. Sony went after gamers primarily while Microsoft chased the larger streaming entertainment audience. Nobody needs to tell anyone just how crowded that particular marketplace is at the moment. Also, let’s not forget that the One cost $100 more than the 4 when it hit the market. Sure, XBOX eventually relented, offering a cheaper version without the Kinect camera – which is actually pretty cool, but nobody really cared overmuch about.
Slowly, Microsoft began to catch up. Now, with the 2014 holiday season looming, consumers who decided to get another year out of their PS3 or 360 might be tempted to upgrade. Still, that scenario offers no clear favorites. For every Only One Console Halo or Bloodborne, there are a host of games whose designers have refused to be relegated to only half the market.
But what could give one or the other the advantage this holiday season? Well, first, consider Sony’s new “Playstation Vue,” which is planned to compete with standard cable. Sony hopes this will entice gamers to use their PS4’s even more and to encourage non-gamers to buy into what Sony is offering from a streaming platform.
But the real question will once again be just how ready the market is to give up on gaming consoles altogether. Is the age of the mobile-gamer finally here? Will both Playstation and XBOX be as current as Sega come next January? Don’t laugh, both GTA5 and Destiny had strong digital download numbers, and other games maintain strong fan followings. Wherever the market turns, one thing is certain: both Sony and Microsoft will have to weather the onslaught of wireless gaming while keeping an eye on each other.