Console Wars: No matter who loses, do we win?
For years now you could not go through the internet without seeing “Xbox is better than PlayStation”, “PlayStation is better”, “Nintendo has better franchises” or “PC gaming is superior”. Why is there so much fighting amongst gamers? Are we justifying our purchase? Do we truly feel that one company is better than the other? Something is causing segmentation in the gaming community and it may not be based in fact. My analysis will focus on the most vocal battles in this war, Xbox versus PlayStation.
There is a misconception that certain types of gamers go to specific consoles. Xbox has the “bro gamers” who are very rude online. PlayStation gamers are snobby “hipster” gamers that know more about what games are cool than others. These assumptions are not truly the case. I’ve heard rude comments while playing online shooters on PS3. I’ve had unique game experiences on the Xbox while playing games such as Fable. There may be a specific way gamers display themselves via social media. We may group ourselves in with a type of conversation so we feel like we belong. What is lost in all of this is, while we may choose different ways to game, we all have at least one thing in common. We all love to play games.
The “war” may be a result of the financial times we live in. Nearly all gamers can afford to only play on one platform. The amount of available disposable income we have is very limited nowadays. We have to make a choice and stick with it. Once we make this decision, it is human nature to defend the decision. To justify their purchase. To let everyone know that what YOU chose is the right decision. Any other choice is simply wrong. This does not imply that there is truly one right or wrong answer. Each choice has its pros and cons.
Is the segmentation due to video game companies and their perceived stance in the world of gaming? Does Microsoft hate gamers? Does Sony think that their approach is the only approach that cares about gamers? Our perceptions are based on what the companies want you to think. Microsoft is up front about their choices on DRM, but their services are all-encompassing. You will only need one box for everything. Sony yells from the mountaintop that their box is for the gamer. They will be DRM free and their box is $100 cheaper. The fact is the services will not be very different once all talking is over, the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One will not be very different from one another. Sony’s announcement that the PS4 will be DRM free has been followed up with statements that there could be DRM if 3rd party publishers choose it. The announcement of a price point $100 lower than the Xbox one fails to point out that this does not include the PSEye (Sony’s attempted equivalent of Microsoft’s Kinect). This does not include any of the possibilities that both companies will provide multiple options spanning different price points. Microsoft has a history of providing excellent services for independent developers. To think that the future Microsoft services will not adjust to be more indie friendly is to ignore history.
At the end of the war the true winner is the gamer. All consoles will continue to push each other to innovate. Price points will go down as each company makes bold moves to gain more market share. We all will have to make a decision of one or another at some point, but we are very lucky to be a gamer in this amazing time. So, what side are you on?