Why is PlayStation Dominating the Next-Gen Console War?

Lizzy Finnegan

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Why is PlayStation Dominating the Next-Gen Console War?

Nintendo once reigned supreme in the land of video games, then Sega entered the market with their Genesis. Nowadays, the PS4 fights the Xbox One in a much more civilized fashion.

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Lightknight

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Great article!

I would say the biggest issues (as an owner of all three consoles of the previous generation who was deciding which to buy) were fairly simple when making the choice:

1. Machine power. While I'm still seeing most games playable on the XBO, a 50% power disparity is immense and will be even larger at the end of the generation.
2. Machine cost. Sure, now Microsoft is cheaper but it wasn't for quite a while (particularly when I was in the market) and even now a $50 price drop doesn't compensate for the extreme disparity in price. The WiiU is even more guilty of this thanks to the unnecessary $150 peripheral that is the gamepad.
3. Microsoft's E3 performance. No need to go more into that. Their subsequent attempts have been decent damage control I think but it's hard to come back from that.
4. Nintendo's utter lack of third party support.
5. Sony's top tier exclusives.
6. Microsoft's exclusives all being released on the PC (seriously, I wouldn't even be surprised to see the new Halos show up there now that everything else has).

I like there being competition in the market. I also generally like Microsoft even if they've made some questionable anti-consumer things across multiple products. So hopefully Sony's performance here will only encourage them to do better and be better.
 

Callate

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The article covered things well. Good job.

I think there's at least some truth to the idea that the XBox One was designed from the outset with what Microsoft wanted and needed way out in advance of what their customers wanted and needed, a corporate philosophy that has paid them in markets well beyond consoles not so much in dividends, but in shrapnel. Sony didn't so much have to win that battle as not follow their opponents down that road.

It's well worth noting that Sony has had plenty of big PR pains in their own past, not least their network hacking issues and CD DRM rootkit. But they've managed to not fail well enough in the last few years to come out smelling like roses, and bumps like the "How to share games on the PS4" ad have been masterful.

Right now, the PS4 still has a technological edge over the XBox One. Microsoft has started to make inroads where they can- price, services, exclusives. The big hurdle for both, in some ways, has been that PS4's leg up in horsepower underscores that neither console seems capable of delivering a consistent 1080p 60 frames-per-second experience across the board, with higher resolution televisions very close on the horizon.

It may, eventually, play to Microsoft's advantage that neither console is blowing consumers away with its prowess, leading to diminished expectations across the board. But it's something of a sour victory.

Incidentally, Escapist and co.: why are so many of these articles making it so difficult to find the Escapist Forum comments link? Facebook isn't really where I do these things.
 

AzrealMaximillion

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Lightknight said:
Great article!

I would say the biggest issues (as an owner of all three consoles of the previous generation who was deciding which to buy) were fairly simple when making the choice:

1. Machine power. While I'm still seeing most games playable on the XBO, a 50% power disparity is immense and will be even larger at the end of the generation.
2. Machine cost. Sure, now Microsoft is cheaper but it wasn't for quite a while (particularly when I was in the market) and even now a $50 price drop doesn't compensate for the extreme disparity in price. The WiiU is even more guilty of this thanks to the unnecessary $150 peripheral that is the gamepad.
3. Microsoft's E3 performance. No need to go more into that. Their subsequent attempts have been decent damage control I think but it's hard to come back from that.
4. Nintendo's utter lack of third party support.
5. Sony's top tier exclusives.
6. Microsoft's exclusives all being released on the PC (seriously, I wouldn't even be surprised to see the new Halos show up there now that everything else has).

I like there being competition in the market. I also generally like Microsoft even if they've made some questionable anti-consumer things across multiple products. So hopefully Sony's performance here will only encourage them to do better and be better.
This list is a pretty good analysis of what's going on this gen on consoles. I always maintain, even tough I mainly game on PC, the Playstation consoles have always had the advantage of having many, many more available Japanese Niche titles and cult series available internationally. Niche Japanese games don't sell on the Xbox, ever. And a lot of niche Japanese titles get region-lock fucked by Nintendo and as well as lack of localization. Of the 3 consoles the PS consoles cater to American/European fans of Japanese entertainment, which is a bigger market than a lot of people think.
 

P-89 Scorpion

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You forgot that even though the Xbone released in multiple countries many features where USA centric, why buy the more expensive console to be a second class citizen is what I heard a lot back at the launches and now most shops don't even stock Xbone's and have vastly shrunk the Xbox sections and I live in the UK I hear it's even worse in most of Europe.
 

ecoho

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Ok hate to be that guy but did you even watch E3 this year?! better yet have you dealt with playstations customer support? if you've done ethier of those you would not say playstation is winning. If anything they managed to fuck up what should have been a homerun in the span of a year. Launch numbers are meaningless because the lifespan of a console is determined by what they have to keep people interested, Microsoft has done this by the simple act of doing backwards compatibility(even if its limited). What is playstation releasing that's going to stem that? metal gear? konami pretty much screwed the pooch so I bet lower sells then previous and a lot of people buying used. uncharted will do well but after that what else do they have? meanwhile Microsoft does backwards compatibility, halo, a better online set up, and gears of war, that's pretty much the difference as they'll both get the same 3rd party games.

honestly if I have to pick a winner in the last few years it would be the WII U as it has performed better then any of the others without any of the controversies.

to finish I can honestly say all this because I own all the consoles(save the Wii U due to not enough room yet) and a pc.
 

Aiddon_v1legacy

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Or, we can get down to the far more cynical, realistic reason: dumb luck. Which is pretty in line with Sony, considering that's why the PS1 and PS2 succeeded as well. The problem is that the PS4's success doesn't really have anything to do with smart business decisions or revolutionary ideas from Sony; they just got lucky that MS flubbed up with the XB1's launch and Nintendo got stabbed in the back by third parties. That's it.

It was the same with the PS1. Nintendo stuck with cartridges which pissed off third parties and Sega had been stumbling around for a few years already after the failures of the Sega CD and 32x with the Saturn not lighting the world on fire either (despite nowadays being praised for having probably the most hidden gems ever in a system). And with the PS2, Nintendo was still getting screwed over by 3rd parties and MS was locked out of Japan for various reasons. Can't really praise them for winning against decidedly weak competition, which is all the mroe apparent when it came to Sony's handhelds (which, for lack of a better term, got slaughtered, skinned, stuffed, and then mounted over Nintendo's mantelpiece) or the PS3 (which blew through every cent Sony made off the PS1 and PS2, and is going to take YEARS to recover from). Sony ain't exactly a smart company. Heck, even right now they're struggling to get out of their billions in debt and their management is still clumsy and bumbling. All in all, it's difficult to praise Sony for anything when a lot of it isn't them being smart, but things beyond their control happening to their competitors.
 

Zhukov

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Because Microsoft done goofed, the PS4 is/was cheaper and the WiiU doesn't have any games (yet).

Man, that was an easy question.

I mean, is any of this not common knowledge in gaming circles?
 

Sniper Team 4

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I still remember how I felt when I heard all the stuff Microsoft was saying about the Xbox One before it launched. I was like, "This is a joke, right? They can't be serious. They're serious?! Well...guess I'm not getting one." I could do all the things--check in once a day and such--but it was just so mind-blowingly stupid that I couldn't accept it.
And then, the way they just basically flipped the bird to the people who COULDN'T meet the requirements--yeah, that whole "We have a 360 for them"--just pissed me off. I couldn't believe that they were being that stupid and that against the very people they were trying to sell their system to.

Meanwhile, Sony came out with that add that showed how you could share a game on the PS4. Two guys just stood there, and one handed the other a game and that was it. The level of burn in that add was amazing.


So yeah, I think Mircosoft decided that they wanted to start this race by cutting off their feet. They seem to be reattaching them now--I'm very interested in the backward compatibility and will pick one up if it truly works--but they have a lot of work to do before they can wash away that black eye.
 

VoidWanderer

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Can we please stop referring to this as a 'Console War'? Please?

While I did enjoy the article, it still frustrates me when I see the term. I am not attacking the people who use this term, but the term itself.
 

josemlopes

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The fuck? All you had to say was "Don Mattrick was in charge".

Only now is Microsoft doing some hard work to justify buying the console for playing actual games while Sony is still under the horse that it simply isnt an Xbox One and doing nothing with it. Their E3 this year was mostly multiplatform games.

In general barely any next gen game did anything to justify buying a new console since all they are doing is have less gameplay and better graphics, so yeah, I guess Crackdown for me is the only game so far to actually do something that couldnt be possible last gen.
Destiny and MGS: Phantom Pain are on the 360 for fucks sake.
 

09philj

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Sony did proficiently, everyone else ballsed up badly. And yet people still shout at me for saying this gen is pretty bad.
 

AJvsRonin

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My last few forum posts have been negative regarding Escapist articles (listicles/clickbait) so just thought I'd pop on to say something positive.

Good Article!

Now get yourself on to the podcast. That's where all the best discussion takes place!
(apologies if you've already been on and I just don't remember)
 

Johnny Novgorod

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ecoho said:
What is playstation releasing that's going to stem that? metal gear? konami pretty much screwed the pooch so I bet lower sells then previous and a lot of people buying used. uncharted will do well but after that what else do they have?
The Last Guardian, No Man's Sky, Final Fantasy VII, Shenmue 3, Persona 5...
 

ecoho

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Johnny Novgorod said:
ecoho said:
What is playstation releasing that's going to stem that? metal gear? konami pretty much screwed the pooch so I bet lower sells then previous and a lot of people buying used. uncharted will do well but after that what else do they have?
The Last Guardian, No Man's Sky, Final Fantasy VII, Shenmue 3, Persona 5...
last guardian would be a reason to stay but then its vapor ware till we see a release date.

no mans sky did look good but wont be out till say 2017.

FF7 should do well but once again I don't expect it till 2017.(maybe late next year)

Shenmue is a very niche game so yeah not going to be picked up by the vast majority.

Persona 5 could be hit or miss going to need more details.

while were at it lets add in kingdom hearts since you want to use games that wont be coming out for 2 or more years. seriously they have stuff coming out but its so sporadic that most people would be better off with a one or a Wii U.

also good to note that you can do that with the one as well; scalebound, crackdown 3, gears of war 4, quantum break(I think this is what its called haven't heard of it since last year.), and fable.
 

MonsterCrit

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PS4 had the stronger start. Basically MS screwed themselves over with their 'YOU WILL USE THE KINECT AND LIKE IT MAGGOT!.' stance. Although MS has back tracked the lost ground can never really be recovere dplus I think thus far there are fewer exclusives that matter this round so far. Also with the world economy being a pain, people don't really want to buy a second console. SO that early loss is compounded. people who bought a PS4 are less likely to buy an X-Box.

PLus there's PC gamning., THis was the generation where consoles lost a lot of their vaunted advantages over pC games... in fact they're almost identical now.
 

Lightknight

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Johnny Novgorod said:
Nicely outlined, but why no mention of the Wii U?
I think we all know why...

http://img4.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20120309230737/southpark/images/8/8b/Cartman_evilsmile.jpg

The WiiU practically isn't playing the same game that the PS4 and XBO is. True, it isn't too far behind the XBO but it also had an additional year over all consoles during which is made more than 20% of it's total hardware sales. The truth is that the WiiU is it's own worst enemy and is currently a failed console that has been around for three years now and hasn't outsold the Sega Dreamcast which was discontinued in its third year too (launched in Nov 98, discontinued in Mar 01 meaning that it actually had about two and a half years). Now, to be fair, in January of 2001 when Sega announced their discontinuing of the Dreamcast they did lower the price to $99 to clear out the rest of their stock which is estimated to be around 2 million units. But I have no idea when and if those sold or if they're included in the numbers. But this means that at worst the dreamcast was at more than 8 million units at the 2.33 year mark and all this isn't even considering population inflation which would actually put Nintendo as doing even worse when comparing raw performance even though the Dreamcast could have been at 10 million by the 3 year mark without the price cut.

So... um...

Sega Dreamcast: 10.6 million.
Nintendo WiiU: 10 million.

So I'm unsure how the WiiU is relevant to this discussion. It is currently a failure. It's 7th gen tech being offered as an 8th gen console (come on, it even has the same CPU as the 360 or a very similar one) that isn't priced competitively, had serious branding issues (some people still think it's a peripheral for the Wii or aren't even aware it exists), and has little to no third party support because it is far more lucrative and simple to develop for the more powerful x86 architecture machines.

I guess the real question is whether or not the WiiU is tracking more poorly than the Saturn did. That would make it one of the worst selling consoles in history despite continued support from Nintendo. What a shame, so much childhood joy is thanks to them.
 

JayRPG

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ecoho said:
Ok hate to be that guy but did you even watch E3 this year?! better yet have you dealt with playstations customer support? if you've done ethier of those you would not say playstation is winning. If anything they managed to fuck up what should have been a homerun in the span of a year. Launch numbers are meaningless because the lifespan of a console is determined by what they have to keep people interested, Microsoft has done this by the simple act of doing backwards compatibility(even if its limited). What is playstation releasing that's going to stem that? metal gear? konami pretty much screwed the pooch so I bet lower sells then previous and a lot of people buying used. uncharted will do well but after that what else do they have? meanwhile Microsoft does backwards compatibility, halo, a better online set up, and gears of war, that's pretty much the difference as they'll both get the same 3rd party games.

honestly if I have to pick a winner in the last few years it would be the WII U as it has performed better then any of the others without any of the controversies.

to finish I can honestly say all this because I own all the consoles(save the Wii U due to not enough room yet) and a pc.
Just a few things, because I have a hard time understanding if we live on the same internetz:

- Most people consider Sony the winner of this year's E3.
- If 'launch numbers' are meaningless, is it enough proof that Sony is winning due to the fact the PS4 has consistently outsold the xbox one for 20 months from 21 months since launch?
- It doesn't matter how many times Microsoft, or anybody else, calls it backwards compatibility. It simply isn't, and people are already realizing this as well as just how underwhelming this feature is and eventually will be.
- Almost all the Xbox One exclusives are also available on PC, this is not true for PS4 so Sony almost automatically wins the exclusivity badge, except Nintendo exists and that badge goes to Nintendo
- A sub point for this one, there is a rather large niche market who like Japanese games; No Tales, Disgaea, DQ, Star ocean, digimon, last guardian, nier, arslan, SAO on Xbox, to name a few.


I try not to be on any console's 'side' because I actually own them all, and for the last year (at least) my most played console has been my Wii U, and my least played console the Xbox One, but being a big JRPG fan there is almost no contest between the PS4 and Xbone for me at least, disregarding that though it is hard to deny Sony have pretty much already won 'next-gen' with PS4 sales being more than double that of the Xbox One, we are talking over 11 million more PS4's in the world than there are Xbox Ones, it took Sony a full 5 years to narrow a gap of 'only' 7 million consoles last gen, and they never fully closed that gap despite the PS3 outselling the 360 for 3 years and all but tying for 2 of the other 3 years.