[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]*For now [/font]
[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Back again all, and ready to type.†[/font]
As most of you who have seen or heard from the Sony press conference have heard, Sony won. Now I wonít lie and say I havenít always preferred them, but I think itís important to think about why they won, and perhaps examine how Microsoft could step up their game. Competition is good, and Microsoft needs to get its head out of its ass if it wants to ensure we reap the benefits of said competition. I figure the best way to do this, is to examine why Sony is winning in the court of public opinion. Obvious to some, yet still important to try and begin dialogues to see how everyone feels.
Sonyís used game stance
This was the most surprising part of the presentation for me, as I expected some form of control, at least on a publisher level but nothing was mentioned right now. That might be to ride the PR wave that has buoyed Sony to this point, or it may be something that will never pop up but I think itís great. By doing this not only does Sony alienate [u]no[/u] core gamers or push away Gamestop, but it actually encourages them and reaps the benefits of that love they will get, when store shelves need stocking.
Now where Microsoft went wrong with this is how blunt they were. I think Sony is playing the long game, slowly making obsolete used games with a better service and fazing them out later, when they have a more comfortable position and can either afford to take the PR blow or when their customers are so much more satisfied with new product they donít want used, though there will always be holdouts. Whatever your opinion on this, itís important to note that by doing this they will sell a good amount of systems, and garner good will, but over the long haul will achieve that goal of killing used. Microsoft jumped too early, and too hard, making it easier for Sony to turn the public against them. Microsoft desired the result now, and instead of being clever they simply bluntly stated they were doing it and provided so much misinformation as to create a worse image of their product. That hurt their image, and on that subjectÖ..
Sony vs. Microsoft in the sphere of hardcore gamers
Ah yes, anyone who pays attention to games at all hated what Microsoft was doing, on different levels obviously, but it was the way they did it they pissed us off. This attitude of we need to force you to do because its ultimately good for you permeates Microsoftís corporate culture from windows 8 to the Xbone, and itís not earning them goodwill. But their mistake was not doing all this per se, it was doing it so ham handedly while alienating those who tuned into their conferences.†
Their pre-E3 conference was all about cable, TV, bullshit we donít care about when we tune in. And it was mainly us tuning in, because what casual audience tunes in to a middle of the day conference from a gaming company? No this was their chance to woo gamers, but they spent it on non-game stuff and made it seem as if this game system wasnít for us, and that made it all the more unattractive. Additionally Microsoftís frankly shocking lack of information or indeed misinformation spread and made the system look even worse than it is, and itís already a very unappealing system. That conference foreshadowed the main issue with Microsoft philosophy, namely that
Sony was all about the games
Yeah, there was a bit in the Sony E3 conference about media other than games. It took five-ten minutes.
Let that sink in, while thinking about Sonyís E3 last year, regarding a certain WONDERBOOK.
See the issue wasnít a lack of supply of these features, it just pissed us off that while at the Sony pre-E3 was all about games, and the Microsoft pre was not. And when gamers tune in, we want to know about the games. And Sony delivered, and delivered again while Microsoft talked only about cable and sports tracking at its pre. And while these are actually not terrible, in fact some could be very cool, they shouldíve released this as a press release, not as an event that only gamers would ever watch, pissing off gamers even more when they didnít get enough games. Microsoft mishandled its info and only presented features that while nice werenít what we came to see. And that lost them some goodwill, even though these features might be useful. Its messaging came off as schizophrenic and that really hurt them, allowing Sony to ride the wave of love that came in even though they didnít release all that much info about their own system, which had the potential to be worse. And Sony used that to their advantage, not even having to put out all that much PR, and indeed mocking the Xbone at their own conference, firing direct shots and not even trying to disguise it.
Simcity. Simcity is a lesson in not learning your lesson, a lesson that Diablo III taught before even that, and one that Microsoft fails to see which will be to its detriment. If its servers ever fail, it will mean not only will online multiplayer be disabled, but unlike the PS3 outage crisis, games will be disabled as well. The system has to check in every 24 hours, or no games for you. And considering the shitty internet a lot of the main demographic of America has, that means it will be a no go for those without internet. Yes, some will say we all have internet nowadays, but some of it is sporadic and some of it doesnít work.†
If you buy a PS4, however, you can play offline, and the PS+ benefits you wouldnít get anyway wonít allow you to play multiplayer you couldnít play anyway. But thatís optional, and considering the fact that Microsoft hasnít even brought up Microsoft live yet, which you will have to pay for most likely, that should worry those who like to play, even when the internet goes down or Microsoftís servers break.† And speaking of that Xbox live, and PS+, those are added onto the cost of a system. This is yet another problem for Microsoft, consideringÖ.
How things have flipped. With the Xbox One at 500 dollars and the PS4 at 400 dollars we see an interesting flip in perspective.†
Yet this doesnít include the multiplayer fee, which brings PS4 to 460, and the Xbox one toÖ..no one knows. And since they arenít bringing this up, that means you may be paying upwards of 500 dollars for something that canít play games if the servers die or if you lose internet for more than 24 hours. And thatís going to be a hard sell
What to do?
Microsoft needs to act, and it needs to act fast. I like the competition it provides, hell it made Sony give us rainbows and Easter eggs when alone it wouldíve been a far grimmer market, but they need to start changing their approach. It needs to be all about the games, which they may have started to do, and they should really consider cutting some of the online requirements, at least for now. But if they donít do that, they need good bundles, cheap or free Xbox live, and they need to get their shit sorted out, or risk taking a painful kick to the groin, because though I believe the system will sell well, perhaps better than the PS4 which would be tragic considering how pro gamer it is, it must always remember it couldíve done better. And them not doing well is no good for any of us. And thatís why unless they step up their game in other areas, things may be a bit bleaker ahead for the industry, though collapse is not something I predicate on a wide or small scale.
Share your opinion in the comments; I would like to hear opposing perspectives, things I may have left out, or possible avenues for either company to take, for good or for bad.†
I look forward to the sparring match.
- ‚ÄúIf you don't like bacteria, you're on the wrong planet.‚ÄĚ
‚Äē Stewart Brand