Why Neither Next-Gen Console is “Winning” Yet

Some hardcore fans of PlayStation and Xbox are looking at the way Sony and Microsoft are approching next-gen to try and prematurely call a "winner" for the nonexistent "console war." However, the truth is both brands need to approach next-gen in different ways.

Why Neither Console is "Winning" Next-Gen Yet

Console wars have been around as long as consoles have existed, and by extension polarizing fanbases, in an attempt to defend their console of choice. This is especially true coming up on a new console generation. Fans of both Xbox and PlayStation compare specs, games, and designs. This can naturally be done in healthy conversations, but more often than not can turn into a toxic argument trying to defend or convince one way or the other. Fans have now taken it a step further and are attempting to prematurely call a winner of a nonexistent console war based on how each brand is choosing to approach their next-gen reveals. The fact of the matter is, whether you support Sony’s silence or Xbox’s bold and transparent approach, both brands need to approach next-gen in different ways.

Xbox has been approaching the next generation with an extremely vocal and transparent perspective. Stemming from their console reveal at the Game Awards 2019, Phil Spencer and the rest of Team Xbox have been feeding out details about their next console nearly every week. Most recently, Xbox showed off several games coming to its next-generation library with the launch of it’s Xbox 20/20 initiative.

Xbox needs to build good rapport with fans again, and be as transparent as possible with hardware and software to avoid any type of “always-on” situation they had with the Xbox One launch. Winning next-gen for Xbox also has a different meaning than previous generations. For Microsoft, this generation will be all about the ecosystem. Whether you’re playing on PC, console, or streaming xCloud from your phone, Microsoft simply wants you in its ecosystem. This can’t be relayed properly unless that information is given out in regular intervals. 

On the flip side of things, PlayStation doesn’t need to be providing constant updates every few weeks the same way. Sony has the larger player base and two massive first-party titles yet to release. Revealing a PS5 and the full lineup and all of the information now would eat into mindshare for The Last of Us Part II and Ghost of Tsushima.

Sony recently hosted a State of Play live event showing off new gameplay for Ghost of Tsushima.

Sony recently hosted a State of Play live event showing off new gameplay for Ghost of Tsushima.

Additionally, PlayStation did not suffer from a disastrous console launch with which it needs to recover from. The route for PlayStation is a lot smoother and therefore does not require daily, weekly, or even monthly updates. PlayStation’s reveal of the DualSense is probably the largest piece of information we’ve received about the next-gen console. For Sony, winning next-gen is doubling down on what won this generation for them

Next-gen isn’t here yet and therefore, despite the fact that “console wars” don’t rightly exist in the first-place, nobody is winning or losing. In the grand scheme of things, fans will play whichever console they prefer and whichever games they prefer. Both brands are offering different options such as PlayStation with PSVR and its powerful first-party showing, and Xbox with xCloud streaming and the wildly successful Game Pass. Both companies have room for growth and have seemed to show interest in doing so. PlayStation is beginning to invest more into PSNow and Backwards Compatibility, whereas Xbox has made major strides in first-party content with several high-profile acquisitions. With two vastly different companies  that have immensely different needs, it only makes sense that they would be approaching this next-generation with contrasting strategies.

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