Sony’s announced overnight that the Playstation 4 will go on sale in Australia on November 29th, two weeks after it appears in the US. Sony appears poised to capture a lot of the market if you read around, but is it already actually winning the console war?
If you’re a fan of picking up earlier generation consoles, Sony’s also announced a price drop on the 12GB PS3 to $269.95 and on the Vita to exactly the same amount. That might shift a few Vita units, given the proposed PS4/Vita cross-play arrangements.
At Gamescom, both Sony and Microsoft showed off various parts of their ongoing “Next-Gen” strategy for the Xbox One and Playstation 4 respectively, but Sony’s has been the approach that’s won the most plaudits from the gaming press, showing off a large heaping of indie games titles (Hotline Miami 2! Minecraft!) as well as its own launch lineup.
It’s also poked fun at Microsoft’s sometimes-backflipping PR campaign around the Xbox One, and in many ways that’s a target that Microsoft has made for its own back.
Sony’s gone with the proposal of — shock, horror — a games machine, and that’s why a lot of the games press is declaring that Sony’s “winning” the console war right now.
Microsoft’s proposal is a logical enough extension of its long-term strategy around the Xbox brand, where it’s long sought to be the sole box underneath people’s television for all sorts of services.
The reality, of course, is that much of this doesn’t matter at all right now, because what will make or break these systems will be the same thing it’s always been — the games. Sony trumpeted the inclusion of Minecraft for PS3/PS4 and Vita — and I’ve got to admit, the prospect of “full” Minecraft on Vita is one I’m looking forward to — because Microsoft’s made a lot out of having it as an Xbox 360 exclusive up until now.
Both the Xbox One and the PS4 will both have the same range of EA games, most of which will be incremental improvements on the existing ones. They’ve both got online strategies, and independent games development strategies. They’ve both got cameras for motion games, although I’m yet to see a motion game that lives up to the prospect that everyone imagines for a motion game. Nintendo waits in the wings with the Wii U, although given its sales figures it’s hard to see a scenario where it suddenly jumps ahead of either Sony or Microsoft.
It’s all about games, in other words.
Sony’s strategy has been games-centric, and that’s won it a lot of plaudits, but banks don’t tend to accept plaudits, I find. Games are what will win or lose a console war, and right now, the mass public doesn’t have either consoles or games to play. There’s still everything to play for in the Sony or Microsoft — or even Nintendo — camps.