It seems like along time ago when the gaming world was eagerly awaiting the release of Sony and Microsoft’s ‘next-gen’ consoles. Back then, as a Microsoft fan, like myself, you may well have been vaguely horrified to hear that the now Head of Xbox, Phil Spencer has said that there is a good chance that the firm’s latest offering might not be able to catch up with it’s opposition only two years after rolling off of the production line.
Before I pain myself with the here and now, allow me to take a nostalgia ride: back in 2005 all the way up until the release of current gen consoles, the Xbox 360 outsold the PS3 in every market apart from Japan, boasted a largely competitive offering of games and probably had the edge in online gameplay. With that in mind, most people would probably have expected some pretty close competition between the two new systems. Yet, from the get go just over two years ago, the PS4 has been rampant over the Xbox One in pretty much every department. That then leaves the console world with two key questions: what has been the reason for the flagging of Xbox and is there anyway back?
Part of the problem of course lies with Xbox and what can only be described as an abject branding failure. Back in June 2013, there were announcements that the Xbox One would need to be connected to the internet at all times, there would be no more pre-owned games for the console and perhaps most importantly: the Xbox One would be an all in one entertainment system. Leaving those first two points aside (for despite their mistakes, Microsoft did make a spectacular u-turn), the decision to move away from making the best games console possible must be attributed to the company losing ‘the trust of [it’s] most loyal customers’.
In contrast, the PS4 had a launch year that only the wildest Sony fan-boy was dreaming off. Being styled as the console ‘for the players’ in direct contrast to Xbox’s thoughtless marketing, the PS4 sold over six million more consoles in the first year following launch.
It’s important to give credit where credit is due and beyond capitalizing on Xbox’s mistakes, the PS4 does things very well, building on what was already a very solid base with the PS3. The PS4 is more powerful and as a result has better graphics than the Xbox One, the games (at launch at least) were pretty much universally seen as superior to it’s rivals offerings and it seems to have finally pulled it’s act together with PSN, even if it the result is some added cost to the player.
I could finish now: Phil Spencer might well be right in saying that there is no way for the Xbox One to catch up with the PS4. A bad first year and specifications that don’t quite match up to it’s competitor make this generation a write off for Xbox fans.
A bad first year and specifications that don’t quite match up to it’s competitor make this generation a write off for Xbox fans.
However, I can’t help but feel as if the Xbox needs some help, so I’m going to point out two things in the future that might give it the boost it needs. Firstly: Windows 10. With links to PC gaming, the Xbox One will be the first console to have mods and might have a chance of pulling over some PC gamers who have so far stayed away from console gaming. Then there’s the gaming line up this Christmas: with games like Gears of War, Halo 5 and Tomb Raider all scheduled for exclusive release on Microsoft’s console before December, surely we can only expect a huge boost in sales?
Despite the promising signs in the near future for Xbox do I really think it’s enough to disagree with Phil Spencer and say that there’s a chance of catching up with the PS4. At this stage? I’d say probably not, but who knows, games are funny things, as can be the people who play them.