How Sony and Microsoft Prepare Themselves for the New Console Generation
Media believes that the Japanese company can make a major mistake while the Americans are looking for universal solutions
- New Sony console is designed for hardcore players.
- Targeting the premium segment of the market may deprive PlayStation 5 of a fair share of the potential audience.
- Microsoft hopes to challenge not just Sony but also Apple and Google.
- Preparing for the future of gaming, Microsoft tries to strike a balance between cloud technologies, traditional hardware solutions, exclusive games and subscription services.
The next console generation is near, and the internet is full of discussions on this topic. The two main competitors – Sony and Microsoft – have chosen different tactics in approaching the new frontier. Media believes that the company from Redmond is currently ahead in the race of console cycles.
Sony is walking on thin ice
According to Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida, details have become very important in game development. That’s why the new PlayStation will support ray tracing and come with an ultra-fast SSD which reduces download times to a couple of seconds.
According to a CCN journalist, the main deterrent for Sony will be the console’s focus on hardcore players – a clearly niche stratum of the gaming community. Analytical company Newzoo has identified eight types of gamers, and hardcore players are just a third of the total gamer population.
The Japanese company believes that it will make more money in large-scale development than in selling as many consoles as possible. Sony’s revenues from sales increased by 19% in April 2019 compared to 2018 despite the decline in hardware sales.
For this reason, the price tag of the future PlayStation may be higher than expected. Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter believes that the price of the new device will be not less than $800 as the specifications of the new PlayStation cannot come for $300-400.
CCN concludes that the focus on the premium segment of the market with an expensive console and expensive games may deprive PlayStation 5 of a considerable part of the potential audience. One mistake from Sony, and the initiative will be lost, while the console will be buried.
Microsoft keeps all options open
At the same time, Microsoft is apparently fighting on two fronts. According to the latest reports, the company from Redmond will present both a high-tech console and a streaming device for xCloud. Thus, the company is going to confront not only Sony but also Apple (Apple Arcade) and Google (Stadia).
For many years, the industry relied on console development cycles, but a new business model will be tested by major gaming companies in the near future. Microsoft’s strategy is to keep the Xbox core but at the same time set its foot in the future along with the cloud enthusiasts.
Business Insider believes that Microsoft has several advantages over Google and Apple: many years of experience in the gaming industry, recognition of the Xbox Game Pass brand, focus on technology besides streaming.
Meanwhile, Microsoft is actively buying studios. Playground Games (Forza series), Ninja Theory (Hellblade), Obsidian Entertainment (Fallout: New Vegas), inXile (Wasteland 2), Double Fine (Psychonauts 2) are among the most recent acquisitions. There’s no doubt that these teams will soon start developing exclusive games for Xbox.
In addition, the upcoming Xbox Scarlett is hardly inferior to PlayStation 5 in terms of characteristics: 8K, ray tracing, fast downloads and so on. According to people close to the project, Microsoft is preparing the most powerful console in history.
In other words, while the competition may only have one ace up their sleeves (PS Now can hardly be considered a priority for Sony), Microsoft tries to keep balance between cloud technology, traditional hardware solutions, exclusive games and subscription services.
The release of the new console generation is scheduled for the end of 2020, but many factors remain unknown – we do not even know the official names of the new consoles.
The situation in the gaming industry is changing fast, and the winner of the next console war will be the one who most quickly adapts to the changes.