The 3rd Time’s the Charm: The PS4 is in a One Horse Race
The way it looks now, the PlayStation 4 is about to handily outsell the Xbox One. This will be the 3rd time in a row a PlayStation platform has outsold a Microsoft platform. And on top of it, this generation looks to be more of a PS2-type victory than a PS3-type victory. I’ll explain below:
This is the most obvious factor, so I’ll start here. The PlayStation 4, regardless of everything else it’s better at, is cheaper. This is the first thing uneducated gamers are going to be looking at when it comes to buying a new next-gen console. You can get a game and a PS Plus membership for the price of an Xbox One, and this will be a big deal around Xmas if anyone is weighing the options of a Christmas present.
Aside from sports games which perform fairly evenly across most same-gen systems, ALL multiplatform games seem to look and perform better on the PS4. This is a big deal. One of the big advantages of the Xbox 360 was early on a lot of multiplatform games performed better on the 360 and weighed in to people’s decisions of what system they would buy their multiplats on (if they owned both systems), or what system they chose to buy if they could only choose one. The PlayStation 3 having more raw capability, was eventually able to overcome this problem, and mixed with strong 1st party exclusives, was able to get back into the race and eventually overcome the 360. This is not the case this generation. The Xbox One is similar to the PS4, but less capable. Period. Expect the gap to widen, not close, unlike with the PS3.
3. THE PS4 IS ALREADY LEADING
Yes it’s early. Yes, the systems just released. But this time with the PS4 already holding a commanding lead. Remember this: the casual crowd buys what their friends buy. They don’t care about lots of the stuff we care about. They care about 4 things: what’s better, what’s cheaper, what’s popular, and what their friends have. The PS4 wins in every one of these categories, which again is a big deal. It’s very easy to understand why these kind of factors would generate a snowball effect of people buying into Sony’s flagship console.
4. PUBLIC RELATIONS
I’ll keep this short because I could go on forever. Microsoft’s PR has been a disaster. Period. Don Mattrick and Microsoft have done a better job selling the PlayStation 4 than Sony ever could. And at the same time, Sony has done the best they’ve ever done PR-wise in selling the PS4. This is a big deal. In my opinion, Microsoft should fire everyone in public relations. ASAP.
5. DA CLOUD
This will seriously hurt some feelings, but that shouldn’t matter because it’s true. What the PS4 is doing with Gaikai is 10x cooler and more grounded in reality than what MS is doing with all their cloud hype. Yep I said it. I don’t know about you, but having a Netflix-style gaming catalog sounds waaaaay better to me than dedicated servers and AI processes like Drivatars. But, as always, someone will start going on about dedicated servers. I know they’re great; most 1st party PS3 games (like Killzone, Warhawk) had them. I think the casual crowd would find more enjoyment in a gaming catalog vs. dedicated servers for some games. Also, most of the big multiplayer games of this gen didn’t have dedicated servers and no one seemed to notice, either.
6. THE CONTROLLER
Last gen most people preferred the 360 controller to the DualShock 3. The Xbox One controller improved a little, the DualShock 4 improved a lot, and most comparisons now are evenly split. What was once an advantage for the Xbox One is now just a wash. If anything, the fact that the DS4 doesn’t use AA’s batteries or battery packs gives it an advantage and also factors into the first point: the price.
7. THE POWER OF MEDIA
Wow. How things can change. The media is fully backing the PlayStation 4 as the winner of this generation, even in the States. Last gen, the 360 had the media on their side and it helped alleviate pressure from Microsoft regarding RROD (Red Ring of Death) defect and other issues on the 360, and helped paint a sinister picture Sony touting their overpriced PlayStation 3.
Now the tables have turned. Everyone is ready to pounce at Microsoft’s mistakes, like they did with the PS3. Microsoft had better pray that they don’t have any more major system issues, because this time the media won’t be there to simmer everyone down (other than a few questionable sites). And sites like IGN and Digital Foundry can’t keep making excuses for Microsoft and at the same time, expect to maintain any credibility that they have left among the serious gaming community.
These 2 territories are virtually what kept the 360 alive last gen, and now, the PlayStation is leading in both. MS is trying to create a false demand, while the PS4 is actually sold out. This is giving Microsoft some major heart palpitations. If MS doesn’t figure out how to heavily outsell PS4, than they’re done. MS can’t match Sony; they have to crush them and it’s not happening.
9. INDIES AND 3RD PARTIES
The PS4 being more powerful, easier to develop for, having a bigger install base and generally being more popular/wanted, makes it a much more alluring platform for Indies and 3rd parties. Most of these advantages were held by MS last gen, but that’s not the case anymore. The more people have to cut back their games (because of the cost of the console) to be on the X1, and the more the PS4 outsells the X1, is only going to drive 3rd parties to cut the X1 out of the equation the same way they cut the Wii U out.
10. FANBASEThe PS4 has stolen many 360 fans, especially with MS’s help. The PS4 seems entirely focused on their own fanbase, and on Microsoft’s old one as well, all the while MS seems to be trying to grab a newer, imaginary fanbase. Sony is almost entirely zeroed in on games and gamers. Â I’ve never felt more confident as a PS fan/fanboy/supporter than I do now, and I imagine many feel the same way, for good reason. Sony is in the perfect state of mind to be successful. Sony and their fans are symbiotically feeding off of each other and everything just feels so right. To sum up my feelings, look no further than the Antonio Banderas meme. Â
The PlayStation 2 days are back. This generation is going to be a landslide victory for Sony.
* The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect SpawnFirst as a whole.