Sony and Microsoft have adopted completely different strategies for the console market. While Sony are sticking with the traditional console model, Microsoft seem to be de-emphasizing the importance of hardware and going for a platform-agnostic service-driven approach, with Xbox Game Pass serving as the centerpiece of their strategy.
There are, of course, merits to both, and specifically with Microsoft, we haven’t yet gotten to see how they’re going to handle content for Game Pass (seeing as their flurry of acquisitions hasn’t yet led to the kind of output they’ve been working towards). Speaking recently in an interview with GamingBolt, Hazelight Studios boss Josef Fares, director of A Way Out and the upcoming It Takes Two, talked about the two approaches.
Fares feels that games and content are, at the end of the day, the most crucial factor, and that Sony’s approach of delivering single player story-driven titles is much more to his liking. He did add, however, that Xbox Game Pass’ “Netflix of video games” strategy is an interesting one, and though Microsoft don’t have too many first party exclusives to offer right now, it’s going to be interesting to see how Game Pass grows as a service.
“I don’t really care about consoles, for me it’s always been focused on games, games, games, games,” Fares said. “I mean, right now I’m much more a fan of Sony’s strategy, because they make more unique IPs and focus more on games that I really enjoy that are story-heavy. So I hope Microsoft goes that way. I mean, with Game Pass, I’m not sure what that’s going to give. I mean, if there’s no games that makes no sense. Doesn’t matter, you know? Another thing, I don’t see it as a war as well. Like looking at how [Xbox boss] Phil Spencer talks about this, it seems more that he wants Game Pass to get on PS5 also. But at the end of the day it’s about games.
“However, this, like, Netflix of gaming is interesting because I don’t really see how it’s going to go in the future. It’s hard to tell, it’s not like movies, you know? Games are a bit different, but it’s going to be interesting to follow to see what goes on there. But I sure hope that Sony continues with what they’re doing. You know, making great games like The Last of Us and Spider-Man and all that they do.”
Microsoft have said on multiple occasions in the past that their first party studios are going to be focused primarily on delivering content and games to drive up the value of Xbox Game Pass. Once the Bethesda deal goes through, it should be interesting to see what level of quality and quantity all of Xbox Game Studios will maintain with their output.
Sony, meanwhile, have no shortage of major first party exclusives coming up, with 2021 itself primed to see the launches of games such as Horizon Forbidden West, God of War: Ragnarok, Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart, Returnal, and Gran Turismo 7.
Fares and Hazelight’s It Takes Two is out on March 26 for PS5, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, Xbox One, and PC. Fares also spoke to us about the possibility of an eventual Nintendo Switch port, and why it might be harder to pull of than people think. Read more on that through here.
Our full interview with Fares will be live soon, so stay tuned for that.