Xbox One Vs. PS4: Sony Coasting Along As Microsoft Fights Back

With Gamescom over, we take a look where Microsoft and Sony stand with their respective next generation consoles.

Posted By | On 31st, Aug. 2013 Under Article, Editorials | Follow This Author @JakeDem0


So far this year we’ve got a lot of information about the new generation of consoles coming at the end of 2013. E3 had a treasure trove of information on both consoles and their games for both the PS4 and the Xbox One. At the end of it all though, one company had a clear vision for their console. Ultimately, it was this collective vision of building a community for consoles gamers without limiting their access to content and games that gave Sony the clear advantage in this next generation console war.

So clearly was the message heard in fact, that Microsoft had to go back to the drawing board and re-work just about every single policy they had previously set for the new console. The initial rocky start may have been the firm kick in the ass Microsoft needed to get them motivated and contending at GamesCom this year, and hopefully come November when the consoles launch.

xbox one amd
Microsoft has certainly come out with some great updates about the Xbox One in between E3 and Gamescom. One of the big changes that have been made between these two conferences in that small and indie developers now have a self-publishing option for the console. They’ve removed a bunch of the red tape that has been in the way and frankly only served to separate the indie and triple-A developers.

This is one of the smartest moves they could have made, especially in the face of Sony’s announcement in overwhelming support of small developers that want to release their games on the PSN. In fact Microsoft even released a short gameplay demo from one of the worlds’ most popular indie development company, Mojang. We got to see some of the company’s new project, titled “Cobalt.” A 2D platform shooter that is certainly worth watching as we get closer to release.

What is odd about this whole conference is that Microsoft didn’t do it publicly. Microsoft doesn’t seem to really be interested in competing directly with Sony as the next generation quickly draws near, not in the same way that Sony is anyway. While it’s great that Microsoft stepped back to re-envision the role their policies should play when the new console hits the market.

Microsoft’s vision for this new hardware and by extension, their next generation titles being released on it could suffer. It is going to be curious to see where Microsoft goes with Xbox One, especially so close to it’s rumored release of November.

Tom Clancy The Division Tablet Gameplay

The Gamescom conference was only about thirty five minutes but got right to the point, they did seem to have a more unified direction this time through compared to the earlier E3 and debut presentations but seem to have forgotten their competition is also releasing new hardware this season. What would have been nice to see would be some actual gameplay from some of these exclusives that should be vying for our decision and our money, but instead they seemed to fall a bit short with just theatrical trailers for games like Fable Legacy, which is offering an in-depth cooperative experience and The Fighter Inside, a fighting simulator that works with Kinect.

Microsoft is nonetheless trying to drum up support for the Xbox One, and they seemed to be inspiring more confidence in the upcoming console at GamesCom, adding to the steam it has been building over the last few months. Though all of it appears to be happening all a bit later than fans and the company would probably like. Microsoft’s vision for the up and coming hardware seems to be a bit skewed, gamers aren’t sure where they are going with the One. There is a lot going on with the Microsoft’s new console and not a lot of time to sell the public on it.

To their credit Microsoft did announced some exclusive features to the Xbox One for Tom Clancy’s The Division. They showed a wonderfully tactical view of a battle as it progressed and how another player, using provocative and interesting second screen support for the game. What would have been great to see from this presentation was even more games and gameplay from other titles as well. We’ve seen a lot of the Division  so it’d be great to see even more from Titanfall or other launch titles that are coming. One thing’s for sure though Microsoft is incredibly enthused by their up and coming hardware. It’s got plenty of promise that at the very least, Microsoft and it’s fan are sold on One and they have certainly gained more confidence as they move forward with the new console.

ps4 amd

 Sony has continued onward, give us even more information about the console. In fact, we’ve been given a rock solid, North American release date of November 15th, and the 29th of November for Europe. They don’t appear to be too worried about Microsoft’s sudden change in policy and are still pushing the same information they were from E3 as Gamescom.

Sony has gone into a bit more depth this time around though, which is great. Their community has a bit of a surprise for people who are really into sharing content.The PS4 is going to have support Twitch TV, while it was rumored to be the case, had not been confirmed until Gamescom, allowing gamers to be able to stream their own original content to the web. This big push in community, sharing and friendship in console gaming is a first for consoles and a great idea that Sony seems to have put a lot of thought into so far.

What was wonderful about Sony’s press conference was that they didn’t seem like they were trying to sell us a product, but rather came together to discuss the future of their console what their vision was for not only the hardware, but the games that will be coming to Sony’s next generation console. Sony appears to be using their ideas and the vision they have for the future of gaming to help sell the console and it’s working pretty well, they clearly are taking this next generation hardware seriously and have thought a lot about it.

Fable Legends Xbox One

While they haven’t deviated much from other press conferences they’ve done their formula does seem to work, though a bit uninspired at this point even if it’s polished. For all of this though, they do seem to have a lack of enthusiasm and passion at the time. While Microsoft acted as the excited salesman, trying to grab up market share due to lost time and bad image from E3, Sony had this relaxed approach to it; a bit too relaxed at times. The conference seems to meander around topics and really just doesn’t seem to have much enthusiasm at times.

This may be because Sony’s already announced plenty of goodies with their products and did set a sizable lead ahead of Microsoft since E3. Their new product has absolutely swept through pre-orders. The next generation console war certainly isn’t over, hell it’s barely even started at this point.

The philosophy of game development from the perspective of the creators is great, but I don’t know that Sony’s PS4 press conference was the best play to talk about it. It’s something that is so in-depth it really is something that developers should be addressing for a longer period of time and more individually. Microsoft and Sony’s press events left a bit to be desired on both sides and ironically enough each side seemed to be lacking what the other had in abundance.

Killzone Shadow Fall (5)

Microsoft’s approach to it all was showing the shiny bits, and discussing how they’re going to “improve” gaming, how secondary devices like the Kinect or features like second screen support is going revolutionize the industry. It felt like a sales pitch from a car salesman who is a bit low on sales this month and is trying very hard to catch up to their competition.

The best thing for Microsoft to do in this case was to let the games and the hardware speak for itself, let it’s features sell the hardware and talk about their philosophy as the move forward with their new consoles.

Sony on the other hand seems to have shifted to neutral and is just coasting off the steam they’ve built up since E3 and onto the release date. The console still needs plenty of plugging since it hasn’t even hit the shelves yet and while it is appreciative to see them go into so much detail about the upcoming titles, that focus should be left up to developers and certainly cannot be fully explored in one conference.

knack

Sony’s low-intensity press conference made it a bit difficult to get excited about and at times seemed to devolve into a bunch of developers talking about “What if’s” and “eventually we’ll be able to…” sort of conversations. This may be in part because Sony doesn’t think they have anything to worry about from Microsoft, but even with MS’s seeming lacking focus they still do have a nice product with some impressive hardware.

Coupled with the classic favorite franchises like Halo and the Fable series, Microsoft certainly isn’t out of the game yet, but they’re going to need to pick up the pace if they want to catch up to Sony by the time their hardware launches. One things for sure, we’ve got plenty of time to see which console makes it’s lasting mark on consumers.


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  • Rebo

    You should show a better picture of Killzone : Shadow Fall then that old beta/alpha picture.

  • Wbmaster

    Conclusion. Xone Buy!! Is more thant they show.

  • Exposed

    If Sony cared about gamers, wouldn’t they be investing in a massive server infrastructure like Microsoft to make sure the online gaming community (stability and social aspects) is top notch and competitive gaming can thrive? Maybe they only care about profiting from a console that has been estimated to cost $350 to create.

    Microsoft has invested billions of dollars into building a server infrastructure that spans the globe. It doesn’t matter if you are in Canada, the US, South America, Europe, Australia, Japan, etc. If Sony wants to developers to be able to utilize the cloud and for most multiplayer games to have dedicated servers then they are going to need to invest billions as well. Want to know the cost of just one server farm? Take a look at Iowa or Virginia in the US. Microsoft poured in 700 and 800 million respectively to increase their server infrastructure. Now just imagine these server farms cropping up around the world and what the cost is. Microsoft has had a head start in making sure that most areas of the globe are covered by the infrastructure since they have catered to business for a while. Sony has lots of work to do.

    • Josh

      Sony has partnered with RackSpace one of the largest Cloud DataCenters in the world. OpenStack Cloud services (same kind of tech as Microsoft Azure or Amazon EC2) for this exact reason.

      Source:
      http://www.thewhir.com/web-hosting-news/rackspace-to-help-sony-playstation-deploy-openstack-private-cloud

      Additionally Microsoft didn’t invest billions for the XBOX division, they invested billions to bring their Office product line to a Software as a Service (SAAS) and charge a license fee (more money for Microsoft, less control for you the client – sound familiar to their original DRM idea?).

    • Exposed

      A partnership is a partnership. Its not owning the infrastructure. That is a big difference. Sony is in essence saying that they will utilize OpenStack servers when warranted but they actually don’t own the servers. Thats like saying I own 500 servers and you make an agreement with me to rent out 300. Its a big difference between owning them and partnering with someone. When you own the infrastructure you can decide to do whatever you want to. When you are in an agreement with a 3rd party then you can’t do whatever you want to. You answer to the company that owns the servers.

      Microsoft in essence can allow developers to utilize their server infrastructure for free or pennies on the dollar. Sony cannot from a business perspective since they are utilizing an outside source. They are going to be charging the normal going rate for hosting services.

      As mentioned in my earlier post, Microsoft has been building an infrastructure for a long time now for reasons like Office and other business solutions. Sony can’t just get their own infrastructure in the blink of an eye. Partnering with a 3rd party just shows that Sony wants to take a shortcut and do it on the cheap. If Sony truly wants to compete in this domain, then they need to invest billions of dollars in creating an infrastructure that spans the globe. You can’t have servers in one general location and not another region or the whole cloud utilization turns to crap.

      First Sony supporters mentioned Gaikai as Sony’s response. Completely different as Gaikai is for streaming games. Now people mention RackSpace. Do you not understand the difference between owning an infrastructure and making an agreement with an outside party? Sony could have partnered with Amazon to get a deal on servers when necessary. That doesn’t mean anything. They are a business. A business that is not going to simply rent out servers and give it away on the cheap to take a massive profit loss.

      I am uncommitted to either console. I want the console that is going to provide me the best opportunity to compete against the greatest talent. But right now, if there is one thing Microsoft and XBox One have the advantage on, its the ability for their massive server infrastructure in place to spin up servers around the world. Go listen to Respawn and other companies that have said, “we wouldn’t be able to create the game we envisioned without an infrastructure in place like this.”

      And leave the DRM stuff out of an article like this. Thats like me bringing up the fact that Sony was testing the ability to put RFID chips in discs to help combat piracy and track their inventory. They had the patent to do so. Look it up from January.

    • jb223

      Multiplayer gamers do not represent all of gaming as a whole…i never play any mp outside of split screen couch co op, i like single player games, and Sony has always supported that much better than Microsoft ever has…If you are suggesting that Microsoft invested billions “for the gamer” and not for the potential profit, you are insane…bottom line is they are both companies out to turn a profit, multiplayer is the quickest way to that profit, by charging you a monthly fee to access it….Microsoft has also in the past totally neglected most foreign markets, and while they are making some strides to change that, they are still selling a more expensive box chock full of features that will only be accessible in a handful of markets, including kinect voice functionality and all of the tv stuff…Sony has been in the gaming business longer, and as a result have for more truly classic gaming experiences, coupled w/ a high quality stable of first party developers and exclusives, whereas ms have a history of throwing out money for timed exclusives for third party games instead of creating something genuinely new….both companies have their pros and their cons, but to use multiplayer games as the standard as to which all games should be measured is an inherently flawed argument…guys like me that enjoy story driven single player games are at this point much better served w/ the ps4, between the amount of exclusives at launch window and to be announced holdovers from previous generations, as well as streaming services like netflix not being behind a paywall, combined w/ the lack of forced peripherals like kinect, it’s fairly obvious which one is a better deal for single player gamers….as far as multiplayer and online experiences go, ms shined in that arena in the current gen, but for all the talk done about the cloud and it’s potential, we have still yet to see which system is the better of the two when it comes to that…if Microsoft was such a goodwill company supporting gamers so staunchly, they wouldn’t have shipped a broken console last gen that forced the monthly online fee on everyone that wanted to utilize any other features of the console

    • Exposed

      I’m not going to argue with your opinion. You own your opinion and your feelings. I was addressing facts about one aspect of the “console war” that Microsoft seemingly has the advantage on. I am uncommitted to either console. I just want the console that is going to provide me the greatest opportunity to compete against the best talent. Right now Microsoft seems to be in position to provide the better online experience but if Sony steps up their game, I’ll have no problem giving them credit as well.

      From PC to 360 to PS4, we have all experienced the same inadequacies in multiplayer gaming. It just so happens that Microsoft might actually being demonstrating they are proactive in trying to limit the inadequacies and are putting their money where their mouth is by investing heavily in this kind of server infrastructure. I was waiting for Gamescom to see how both Microsoft and Sony addressed this issue that should be a serious matter for hardcore/competitive gamers around the world. And while neither addressed it directly, there were implications from the COD Ghosts announcement. Now I personally could **care less** about Call of Duty. But the implications are astounding. It is direct proof of the kind of server infrastructure in place from Microsoft that will allow games like Call of Duty to be hosted on dedicated servers. Not only is it the physical infrastructure in place that they own that is impressive, but it shows the great deals they can provide to developers and publishers.

      There is a reason why Activision never wanted to pay for dedicated servers. And there is a reason why many servers were turned off by EA/Dice when it comes to Battlefield. With the amount of people playing these games, the cost can be a true burden. But with Microsoft’s infrastructure in place, owned and controlled by them and not a third-party, then they can lessen the burden and provide a better opportunity to developers and publishers.

    • jb223

      These are still theoretical arguments at this point though, having a preferred platform is totally fine, but I personally don’t see how investment in cloud infrastructure geared towards mp is evidence of Microsoft caring more about gamers than Sony, bottom line they are both companies, offering similar yet varied consoles, MS just happens to be investing in an area that you personally like….I hope ms cloud is as great as it could possibly be, I’m personally more interested in future game streaming functionality personally


 

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