For the last 8 years, Microsoft and Sony have been battering all hell out of each other in the biggest console war since Nintendo v. Sega some decades ago. Then, consoles like the Megadrive and the Super Nintendo went head-to-head for, mostly, the affection of youngsters.
Since then, Microsoft’s Xbox 360 has gone on to become the biggest console in the world and the Sony PlayStation 3 has sales figure not to be sniffed at either. Not only that, but last year’s biggest entertainment release wasn’t the number 1 DVD or album – it was Call of Duty: Black Ops 2.
Sega – gaming titan of yesteryear – was forced to leave the console-making business, opting instead to focus on games, and Nintendo’s poorly selling new console – the WiiU – could well symbolise consumers reading Nintendo the last rights, hardware-wise.
With the next Xbox to be unveiled next month and released this year – along with the PlayStation 4 which was unveiled some weeks ago – the console wars have returned with vengeance.
The success of each console means something different for each manufacturer. For Microsoft, it means their continued dominance in the living room, allowing them to offer a complete entertainment package which, obviously, is yet another cash-cow for the American company as well as further enticing people onto their other, non-Xbox products.
For PlayStation, it means the survival and continuation of its PlayStation business. That might sound like there is some jeopardy, but in all likelihood, both consoles will sell well.
That said, clearly, Microsoft has a lot more riding on the new Xbox than Sony has with their console. Already having launched its new Windows and Surface, fighting an uphill battle against Apple, along with its continued fight with Windows Phone – which is steadily increasing – the living room is the only area where Microsoft has really been ahead of the game.
And it has been properly ahead of the game. The influx of entertainment offerings on Xbox is unsurpassed with owners now spending as much time consuming content through their Xbox as playing games on it.
The Kinect – a series of sensors where your own body movement acts as a controller – is now being used in healthcare and even the Heineken Experience in Amsterdam. Frankly, the Xbox is one of the biggest yet underappreciated tech innovations of the last decade.
Really, then, it’s a console war of two companies fighting two different wars. The PlayStation wants to be your gaming console, while the Xbox wants to be your everything, but mostly your new TV.
Realistically, Sony can’t really lose. For Microsoft, however, the stakes are quite high in its already precarious position.