Yesterday, we reported on Michael Pachter’s assessment that Sony will not release a new bit of hardware to counter the more powerful Xbox Scorpio. At the time, we agreed with what he had to say- we noted that given Sony’s massive lead, as well as the momentum and inertia that they have on their side, they are guaranteed to stay ahead of Xbox no matter what, and their best course of action was to, well, stay the course.
This is something glaringly obvious to everyone and everybody- if the Scorpio is intended to compete against the PS4, it is going up against a system with a four year head start (or around 1 if you count the PS4 Pro), and an install base likely to be north of 65 million by the time the Scorpio does launch. People this generation associate PS4 as the default console- much like the Xbox 360 the generation before that. Even if the Scorpio ends up being more powerful, it is unlikely to unseat the PS4 from the throne that it occupies in the mainstream gamer’s consciousness- precedence for this phenomenon exists with the original Xbox and PS2. The Xbox was far superior in every way, and yet it launched late, by which time the PS2 had already ingrained itself into everyone’s consciousness as the go to console. The Xbox ended up selling a fraction of what the PS2 did.
Throw in PS4 exclusives – highly successful games such as Nioh or critically amazing games like Horizon Zero Dawn and upcoming games like Death Stranding and Gran Turismo Sport, all of which are not available on the Xbox One – and for most people, the choice for a PS4 becomes obvious, especially when considering that Sony is likely to, and will, drop its price in advance of the Scorpio’s introduction. In this case why bother with releasing another new platform- which would be costly for them? A PS5 is definitely going to eventually come, but it is still a few years away, and will have nothing to do with the Scorpio’s success (or otherwise).
This is not to say the Scorpio won’t be successful- I am sure it will see sales spike for Xbox, and it will poach at least some people from PlayStation. But for the larger gaming audience, this generation’s trends are now set in stone, and unlikely to change so far into it. The Scorpio may be a successful venture for Microsoft, but is unlikely to change the direction or trajectory of the PS4’s lead and Sony’s plan for its successor.