The console wars have been going on as long as at-home gaming has been allowed by technology. Today’s war is a legacy taken from the fathers of gaming: Sega and Nintendo. But every generation of console has been met with a competitor. Maybe there is some inner working agreement to release them at the same time to avoid someone getting an advance, but it usually makes for an environment of gamers having heated debates online. You know, having dropped the issue of Batman vs Superman for a day.
The companies that lifted their fathers’ swords from the wreckage of the last war are now Sony and Microsoft. The PlayStation and the Xbox have gone head-to-head for over three generations of consoles now, neither one ever backing down.
So, here we are again because war, war never changes. Granted, there are new players on the field and new tactics being deployed. If you’re interested in a rundown of the current console wars, read our brief guide.
Are there any outside forces?
Of course, there is more competition to both of these two consoles in the industry than their ongoing feud. While they butt heads PCs have always stood in the corner, watching, smirking, while sipping a Chardonnay with diamonds for ice in it.
The consoles have learned to live with the ever-looming presence of every brand of PC and laptop taking customers away from them. Both casual players who need something to play Sims on after having done their homework, and “real gamers” who are consuming more energy drinks than air at this point are attracted to the PC for either convenience or power respectively.
But even PC might have a reason to look up from his champagne glass. Enter, mobile gaming.
The gaming community might laugh, but mobile is quickly advancing on gamers. Not only is it the most lucrative way to make money in games, sending a lot of broke developers into the welcome arms of Candy Crush rip-offs, but the concept itself is gaining legitimacy from a combination of big AAA games being adapted for the phone and quality indie games getting more press.
That, and a rise in mCommerce trends has made for a very formidable foe that the consoles haven’t seen shift out of the shadows.
In the blue corner: PlayStation
PlayStation started out strong. The PS5 strode into the ring like it owned the whole stadium with its amazing specs and gaming exclusive. Xbox would let them be grandiose. It would soon be their turn.
Finally, the two were leaked to the press and comparison reviews were abound! And it turns out… the two consoles are essentially the same. They both released similar devices, a digital and a disc version, with similar specs, for similar prices.
But then a worldwide pandemic hit, and Sony took a huge blow to the face. So far, it’s not a knockout blow, but even now, just over a year since its initial Christmastime release, the effects are still being felt.
Namely, this blow is the chip shortage. Since the world shut down, a lot of trade routes had to stop, and a lot of factories had to close. There is more to it, in that reopening factories and trade routes again aren’t going to solve the problem, and in fact, Biden and IBM are in their own war of where and how the chips should be manufactured, but in the meantime, this means that PS5s are being drip-fed to a very hungry public.
If the rule of business is “Supply and demand”, Sony is spectacularly failing at the “supply” aspect. It felt like watching the biggest, baddest, braggiest fighter getting knocked out with the first punch.
In the green corner: Xbox
This allowed Xbox to step forward. It didn’t need a grand entrance, but instead quietly whispered about all the great perks it could offer that PS5 couldn’t.
Sure, Xbox was also affected by the chip shortage, but not as bad. Demand wasn’t as loud, shall we say. There were gamers excited for it, but they weren’t worried about the console itself, and more about the few exclusive games Xbox was known for, like the latest addition to the Halo franchise.
And in the silence from Sony, Xbox players started talking. Have they tried Xbox’s Gamepass yet? So many games! Hundreds! From old versions of the Xbox! All are available for a $7.99 subscription fee!
Had they noticed that the specs were essentially the same for the two console brands, but the price of the Xbox S was significantly lower than the digital PS5?
And then 2022 hit, and here we are, watching in awe as Microsoft buys up developers like they’re collecting Pokémon cards. First, there was Bethesda, who transferred their entire back catalog of Fallout and Elder Scrolls games, while confirming that the new Elder Scrolls game would be Xbox exclusive. Activision has been bought up for a – ahem – criminally low price due to a lot of workplace allegations, and there’s talk of more incoming.
Meanwhile, Sony has Marvel. Make of that what you will.
Who will win?
Honestly? Probably, PC or mobile.