I don’t buy into, as a consumer, the competition between the consoles, but there is no denying there is an intense rivalry between Sony and Microsoft. I’ve bought into both sides: I had an Xbox 360 as a kid but purchased the PlayStation 4 as an adult. At a certain point, Sony dominated the narrative so wholly, and Microsoft kept dropping the ball so immensely, that I switched “sides.” Sony certainly won the most recent console war; the PlayStation 4 is now the second best-selling console of all time.
But Microsoft is already winning this current console war.
It’s early on, but a lot has been revealed about the Xbox Series X. Phil Spencer has recently published a blog post that detailed the new console’s graphical capabilities and power. With 12 teraflops, 120 frames per second, raytracing, and an SSD, the Xbox Series X is looking strong. It’s blurring the line between console and PC.
Meanwhile, we don’t know much about the PlayStation 5. It will be backward compatible, just like the Series X. It also has an SSD, 8k support, and raytracing. But that is pretty much all the information Sony has given us. We only have some idea of the PS5’s actual design, whereas we have seen the Xbox Series X in all of its glory.
I know there is a reason Sony hasn’t revealed too much. It’s all part of their strategy. They want to know everything about the Xbox Series X – it’s price, power, and more – before revealing the PS5’s specs and power. The idea is they can adapt, beating the Series X in terms of price and other features. But this plan is failing. Spectacularly. They have waited too long.
Why Microsoft is Winning
At this point, Microsoft is not only the first team on the field, but they are also establishing the rules of the game.
Every aspect of the Xbox Series X is now the standard. When details of the PlayStation 5 do come out, they will be compared to Microsoft’s new behemoth. Since the Xbox Series X is aspiring to be as powerful as some PCs, the PlayStation must achieve this demanding feat as well. If anything about Sony’s new console is, well, more like a console than a PC, the company will get slammed for it. In fact, if any aspect of the PlayStation doesn’t match the graphical and processing power of the Xbox Series X, Sony is going to lose customers.
This is because Microsoft is controlling the narrative. There is no back and forth between the two companies; no battle is taking place. Sony isn’t making any counter-arguments, insisting that their console will be as fun and impressive as the Xbox Series X. But Sony taking the backseat to this whole situation can be interpreted that they can’t match the Xbox Series X’s power and graphics. I don’t think this is the case, but their absence from the debate can be misinterpreted in many ways.
And, of course, there is no denying the fact that Microsoft is revealing so much early on means they dominate the public consciousness for a substantially longer period of time. I read far more stories about the Xbox Series X than the PlayStation 5. Hell, I write more articles about the Xbox Series X than the PlayStation 5. If all the public hears about is Microsoft’s new console, they are more likely to purchase that console. The longer Sony waits, there is less time for consumers to consider their console, and that means that the PlayStation 5 might sell fewer units.
At the current moment in time, the only thing Sony has going for them is PlayStation exclusives. God of War, Uncharted, and Marvel’s Spider-Man are all series that will have an entry on the PlayStation 5. The Last of Us Part II is one of the most anticipated exclusives, and the game will undoubtedly be playable on the PlayStation 5 on day one. Same situation with Ghost of Tsushima. But there are no confirmed exclusives that are developed entirely for PS5, except Godfall, which will also be available on the Epic Games Store. An investment in Sony’s new console is an investment in first-party games that have yet to be announced, except for those coming to the PS4 as well.
What Should Sony Do to Recover?
Well, first, the company needs to reveal the PlayStation 5 and then give us details about the console. At the current moment, all we have are rumors, and not all of them are positive. If Sony finally releases information on the PS5, they dispel those rumors and begin a positive discussion about their console.
Releasing those details also puts the “war” in “console war.” You have to fight to win customers over, but Sony is just taking a beating. At the very least, they are making it harder for them to win the war when they finally do join the fray. So Sony not only has to release details about their console, but they have to argue why their console should be the consumer’s number one choice. What does the PlayStation 5 have that the Xbox Series X doesn’t? Does it match Xbox Series X power, graphical capabilities, or does it exceed them? Even if certain aspects of the PlayStation 5 falls short, releasing the details gives the company the opportunity and time to promote other features or explain why these shortcomings are insignificant.
Sony needs to argue against Microsoft and promote their console to the public. The sooner the company enters the debate, the faster they loosen Microsoft’s control of the narrative. They can also lean on their strengths. They could announce and promote a game completely and entirely exclusive to the PS5, a game that is developed with the console in mind. While Microsoft is making many of their exclusives available on PC, the only place to play PlayStation exclusives is on PlayStation. By promoting more exclusives, Sony could make their console much more enticing.
A Consumer’s Perspective
Ultimately, the console war on a corporate level is vital for consumers. It gives us an idea of which console we want to purchase. It’s essential not to wage this war against each other. After all, both consoles will be great. They will both be powerful; both make games look great, and both will be fun.
Since I have a powerful PC, I am buying the PS5 no matter what. I can play all the Xbox games I want on PC, but the PlayStation exclusives, which are some of my favorite games of all times, can only be played on the PS5. But many don’t have that luxury. They have to decide: PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X. And if PlayStation wants to push consumers to purchase their console, they have to start persuading them soon.
But as someone who is going to buy the PlayStation 5, I want to know more about it. If I were less devote fan, maybe I would have been drawn in by the Xbox Series X. I would have been drawn in because Sony has been silent when Microsoft has been very, very loud. So Sony is currently losing the console war, but there is still a chance to recover. But they have to act fast, or they are going to a lot of customers.
What do you guys think about all of this? Do you already have an idea of what console you are picking up? What do you think of the Xbox Series X? Let us know all your thoughts in the comments below!