The PlayStation 4 is still clearly winning the console wars. Why this worries me...
According to recent statistics, the PlayStation 4 is outselling the Xbox One 2-to-1 right now, with its sales a staggering 22.3 million systems sold worldwide while the Xbox One is lagging behind at around 11.8 million.
This is bad.
Now, before anyone calls me an 'Xbox fanboy' or something along those lines, let me say that given the history of consoles I've owned I'm more likely to be the opposite.
I'm not though. I can safely say I appreciate both consoles, even look forward to what Nintendo can give us next, but for now let's talk about the two main contenders in the console wars; The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Historically I did prefer Sony's console due to its exclusives; most notably games like Metal Gear Solid and God of War. But at the same time I've always loved Halo and Gears of War so I never looked down on the Xbox at all.
Wait, that's not 100% true. My 'console pride' almost always kicked in whenever the arguments of 'which is the better console?' rose so...yeah. Guilty on that.
Microsoft's early mistakes pretty much handed the current console generation over to Sony on a silver platter
However, I hated the fact that the Xbox One failed so hard with its initial announcements, what with those questionable policies and their lack of appreciation for their intended audience. Microsoft's early mistakes pretty much handed the current console generation over to Sony on a silver platter.
The Damage is done
Yes, the Xbox One has improved a lot over the past few years, what with the price cuts and the recent announcement of backwards compatibility and so on, but the damage has been done. The PlayStation 4 has such a substantial lead that it doesn't seem likely that the Xbox One will ever catch up.
Is this such a bad thing though, you may ask? After all Sony deserves their victory since they played their cards right; They gave the gamers what they wanted by concentrating on the games, their system was cheaper (initially), its more powerful in terms of specs...they nailed it.
Rewind back to the days when the PlayStation 3 was announced. That time around Sony was the one making the mistakes. They had gotten complacent, arrogant even...following the wake of their previous installment's huge success. It allowed the Xbox 360 to dominate the console wars, much like the PlayStation 4 is doing now.
See the similarities between what happened back then and what's happening now? It just all seems to be following a vicious cycle.
The Price of Winning
Look at the library the PlayStation 4 has. What are the titles that come to your mind when you first hear about that console? And no, don't list third party titles. Or titles that are available on the PC as well.
List the titles that convinced you to buy the PlayStation 4. Actually, list the big 'triple A' first party exclusives. You know, the things that helped you decide which console to buy all those years ago if you had to budget yourself for just one.
Killzone Shadow Fall, Infamous: Second Son, The Order: 1886, Bloodborne....uhm...
No, I don't want to hear about remasters.
Let's go back in time again, back to 2008 specifically, two years after the PlayStation 3 was released. I can list at least 10 different first party exclusives off the top of my head. And that was when it was still doing rather poorly compared to the Xbox 360. The Xbox 360 as well had at least 10 different exclusives I can think of right now.
At least, not as much a cause for success as Microsoft's mistakes
By the time November 15th rolls around, the PlayStation 4 will be a full two years old. Look at what the system has to show for it. I know the smaller, more indie-centric games are there but...I'm pretty sure that was not one of the main reasons for the console's success. At least, not as much cause for success as Microsoft's mistakes.
The best part, Sony doesn't seem to care at all. Why should they? Despite having such a poor library, their console is still doing much better than its competition.
A Turn for the Worse
Look at the state console gaming is in now. We're at a point where there are console exclusives on content in games (I'm looking at you Destiny). On third party games no less.
Don't let me get started on what Microsoft did with Rise of the Tomb Raider or what Sony's done with Street Fighter V. It's like both sides are now using the most underhanded ways of boosting their sales and trying to one up the other.
Why can't things be the way they used to be?
Then and Now
I know some people don't like the idea of first party exclusives. But it's what gave a reason for even having different consoles in the first place. Want to play Metal Gear Solid 4? Better have a PlayStation 3. Want to play Halo 3? Better have the Xbox 360.
Those games justified you owning whatever console you had. They offered a completely different experience from one another. Nowadays the differences seem to be limited to a Strike from Destiny being exclusive to the PlayStation 4 while you get to play Rise of the Tomb Raider an year in advance on the Xbox One among others.
Back when first part exclusives determined which console gains the upper hand, we, as gamers, benefitted greatly from it
"That's great!" Said no one ever.
Back when first party exclusives determined which console gains the upper hand, we, as gamers, benefitted greatly from it. We got far more games for one, and most of those games were of the highest quality if not coming extremely close. They obviously had to be good enough to convince us to buy a specific console just to play it on.
It was competition. But it was healthy competition.
Right now, it's anything but that.
Despite how much I want the console I own to do well, I wish for it's own sake that the Xbox One catches up and surpasses it. I want the Xbox One to get those titles that will push it over the edge and knock the PlayStation 4 off of it's comfortable spot on the top.
I want it to happen simply because I want to see great games come out again for both of them. Games that will make you want to buy the console its on just so you can play it. We are getting some soon what with the likes of Uncharted 4: A Thief's End for the PlayStation 4 and Halo 5: Guardians for the Xbox One, but it just doesn't make up for the pitiful state console gaming is in right now.
I don't want Sony and Microsoft to go handing money to third party developers just so they can get timed exclusivity for games anymore.
It's not fair. Not to us.