Sony needed to come back strong – and they certainly have. In a big way.
But before we wade into this week’s big announcements from E3 let’s take a short trip down memory lane. Specifically, I’d like to refute the claim that MicroSoft was the clear victor from the seventh generation of console wars. One could certainly argue that there are many different ways to crunch the numbers. Bear with me for a moment while we briefly compare the recent history of these two competing giants.
As 2012 came to a close the numbers indicate that MicroSoft’s Xbox 360 officially has more units installed than Sony’s PlayStation 3 (by a mere 250,000 units); but the 360 was released one full year ahead of the PS3. Had they been released at the same time (as the PS4 and Xbox One will be) how might these numbers have differed?
Interesting, and certainly worth noting, Sony actually had two consoles out during the seventh generation – the PS3 and the PSP. Both sold about the same total number of units. Combined units sold (between 2006 and 2012) easily bests the sales of Microsoft’s last two home consoles combined (sold between 2001 and 2012).
Arguably, the PlayStation 3’s technical specs could run circles around the Xbox 360… but, since MicroSoft’s machine was so much easier to code games for the difference in graphic quality was rarely seen. In this case, Microsoft was the winner – but only by a bizarre technicality involving the opinions of developers and release schedules. When the production company releases a press statement that your game will be available on a certain date… you just don’t have time to figure out complex technology. Sony is well aware that inferior technology just wins sometimes.
But, honestly, it all comes down to games. Your particular machine could boast the most impressive technical specs and features. It could have the most intuitive controller and be available in nine different colors. It might even slice, dice, and make jullian fries… but if no one’s making any good games for it… who would want it?
MicroSoft’s top three best-selling titles were as follows (excluding pack-in titles):
1). Halo 3 – 14 million units
2). Call of Duty: Black Ops – 12 million units
3). Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 – 7.5 million units
Sony’s top three best-selling titles were as follows (excluding pack-in titles):
1). Gran Turismo 5 – 16 million units
2). God of War III – 10.4 million units
3). Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 – 8.6 million units
(I think we can both agree that, even though Sony comes out marginally on top here, the numbers shown above clearly indicate the obvious winner of the most recent console war was Activision).
Regardless of all the facts stated above the vast majority of the public believes Sony was way behind and needed a strong comeback.
Since the PS2 Sony has declared their console would become the “center of you home entertainment”. The PS2 was a miss and the PS3, while closer to that lofty goal, still didn’t really catch. It would appear that, with the PS4, Sony has decided to drop that business model and has instead re-geared their new product as a gaming machine first.
That’s a very wise move.
On the other hand, someone at MicroSoft must have decided they can do what Sony was never able to do (be the nexus of home entertainment). I’d say that’s a risky and foolhardy move. It also appears most gaming fans agree.
Another good move for Sony is finally embracing other company’s technology. It’s almost like, before now, they felt if it wasn’t 100% proprietary tech it wasn’t truly a Sony machine. I get it – Sony’s a hardware company… but so is Apple, and they don’t seem to have any issue with sharing the wealth with their competition (ie: Intel and Motorola). I’m thrilled Sony has decided to use “off-the-shelf” hardware to power the PS4.
Finally, the price.
All I have to say is that $499 isn’t an outrageous price for new tech. Besides being the cost on the new Xbox One is is also the cost of a new iPad. It could also get you a cheap laptop computer. Or a PlayStation 4 and a couple of games.
Time will tell, but the future is certainly looking bright for Sony right now. I couldn’t be happier.