By Tyler Bennett
Since the launch of the eighth generation consoles, Microsoft has been fighting an uphill battle.
The eighth generation of consoles officially kicked off with the launch of Sony’s Playstation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One in November 2013, to go along with the Nintendo Wii U which was launched in November 2012.
Coming off the success of the Xbox 360 compared to the Playstation 3, Microsoft wanted to attract more than just gamers.
The Xbox One was going to be an all-in-one entertainment system, offering a Blu-Ray drive and the ability to hook up a television provider box to watch live TV on the One.
However, the launch was not smooth for Microsoft. From the One requiring an internet connection to and being forced to use the unpopular Kinect 2.0, the Xbox One was not received very well.
Another reason for the backlash was not being able to play used or borrowed games and the launch price of $499. Saying that they were the “gamer” system, Sony quickly took advantage of Microsoft’s mistakes by making their launch price $100 cheaper.
Trying to catch up with the number of units Sony sold, during the 2016 Electronic Entertainment Expo Microsoft’s, Head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, announced the already released Xbox One Slim, offering the public a smaller console and a cheaper alternative, 4K player, coming in at $299. Sony also announced a slim version of the PS4 to go along with Microsoft’s slim.
While releasing a cheaper slim version after launch is normal for consoles, what is different is that Microsoft’s and Sony’s may be changing the landscape of console gaming for the foreseeable future.
Codename Neo (Sony) and Scorpio (Xbox) are offering a more powerful version of the current consoles.
The main selling points of the consoles are a faster processor, 4K resolution, consistent 60 frames per second and virtual reality compatible. While having more powerful consoles sounds great, the main problem for consumers is the time frame when the consoles are coming out within the next two years.
Many think that both companies will shift to a cell phone or a PC model, but will the general consumer want the type of model? The majority of the past consoles lasted six to eight years before announcing the next installment, giving owners their money’s worth and selling newer hardware more likely.
Releasing a new console every two to three years will leave many people annoyed or feeling like they wasted their money on being early adapters.
Both Microsoft and Sony have said that new games are coming out, and that developers have to make games run on both the One/PS4 and Scorpio/Neo, but how long will those consoles be able to play those games? Will there be a cut off point where they go the route of Apple where they stop supporting older models? The fact that your phone contract is up makes it more likely for you to buy a new phone. Thanks to contracts, you will be able to get the latest iPhone for only $150 compared to $749.
Retail companies like Best Buy and GameStop are offering trade-ins for newer consoles; both Microsoft and Sony have been silent on if they are accepting trade-ins.
If they decide to go in building a PC, it gives more choices to the user, but it may be too much of a hassle for the average consumer.
When building a PC, the buyer has a say in how the computer performs. If one has the money or the resources, that machine could be more powerful than the One/PS4 combined. The side effect is that having to constantly get new parts to get the most out of new games.
While building a PC sounds good on paper, many like the fact that consoles do not have this feature. When buying a game on a console, the last thing consumers want to see is that they are unable to play the latest game because their console graphics card is out of date.
The future of gaming is going to be here sooner than later when Sony’s Playstation Neo comes out later this year. Will this model flourish and be the future of gaming?
Or will there be a repeat of the video game crash of 1983, when multiple of consoles flooded the market in a short amount of time?