Twitter is annoying
You know, you'd think that in the year 2020, people would have better things to bicker about than whether or not the PS5 or Xbox Series X is better. I follow the topics of 'video games' and 'gaming hardware' on Twitter so that I can keep up with the upcoming beasts, and all I ever see is fanboy banter and ridiculous claims. It's really annoying if I'm honest.
And yet, perhaps I'm the naive one to think that this age old war will ever die. After all, war never changes. The reality is, however, that these two giants couldn't be anymore different than each other in their approach to gaming and business tactics. Let's start with Sony.
The Sony strategy: exclusive, exclusive, exclusive
Sony has gained customer trust by kicking out great title after great title of exclusive content. This looks to be the same approach that they will be taking during the PS5 era as well. It's not a bad strategy at all, albeit a bit dated. At the end of the day, Sony will sell systems and have great success, because they make high quality, exclusive games that look great, play great, and help define gaming technology.
Nobody should expect Sony to fail with the momentum they have. Sony's biggest weakness, however, is their lack of vision for the future. Playstation Now is a somewhat successful, but fairly stagnant service. The latency issues that come with it keep it from truly becoming ideal. It's also worth noting that Playstation Plus currently has around 36 million subscribers. While that's nothing to scoff at, it's a large drop off considering the number of console sales.
The Xbox strategy: subscribe today
Phil Spencer was smart to realize that there was no way they were going to catch up with Sony using traditional methods during the Xbox One era. Thus, Game Pass was born. Game Pass is a terrific service, allowing you to download a variety of games at the cost of a $10 a month subscription.
How does it work? Xbox isn't really trying to sell you consoles. They don't care if you buy the fancy new Series X or not. Xbox's vision is set on the subscription service, and getting it on as many platforms as possible (namely PC). That's not to say the Series X isn't going to be a great device - it's purpose is to provide you an excellent couch experience for those that still favor a video game console hub. It's worth noting that Xbox Live subscriptions are up to 90 million, including Game Pass users. That's almost 40 million more subscribers than Xbox One consoles sold.
Do you get it now?
Both Microsoft and Sony are after one thing at the end of the day - money. Truthfully? Both are going to get it. Their approaches are vastly different, however. I wouldn't say one is necessarily better or worse than the other, but to their credit, both know their strengths, and both know how to reach their intended audience. This isn't a war anymore, though. Sure, they're going to be keeping an eye on each other, they'll be keeping an eye on Nintendo too. That's just business.
But this isn't the days of the 360 and PS3 anymore. We're long past that. We're past (most) third party exclusives (many are timed nowadays). We're past one really being better performance wise than the other. Aside from console pricing in and of itself, it's not even about the cost of the device anymore.
So where do I fall in all of this...
Well, I've thought about this a lot actually. I've really tried to weigh out the pros and cons of what is most practical for me, not only given financial restraints, but time restraints as well. I know that both consoles will offer fun experiences that will look and feel great. But what's right for me?
Xbox. I'm going all in on the Series X, much like I did the 360 back in the day. I have a long history with Xbox, but even I must concede that the PS4 was all around the better device than the One. I have to give a lot of credit to Phil Spencer though, and the Xbox team. I truly think Xbox is thinking about the big picture. Subscription based gaming may not include all the bells and whistles that Sony's exclusives will bring to the table, but I have faith in Xbox's newly acquired studios to crank out some worthwhile content. Even if not, I have a lot of content invested in from the 360 and Xbox One, and I know third party companies will deliver as they always do.
Naturally, I'll be holding onto our PS4 Pro as well. I feel like it will still be a fantastic device for years to come, and offers me a chance to replay the likes of Ghosts of Tsushima, Horizon Zero Dawn, and Spider Man.
What about you though; what are your thoughts on the next gen? I have no doubt most of you are all in on the PS5, which is a smart choice. You can always get your Xbox fix on PC, after all. Either way, I think there's a lot of fun experiences ahead for us.