Yes, yes, yes! Eat it up peasants, we are bringing out our new console that looks like the goddamn Messiah next to the greasy hobo taking a shit on your lawn while molesting kittens, we all have humorously titled the Xbone. So far Sony has taken a 6-0 lead on Microsoft, while neither console has yet even seen a Chinese factory floor.
Thus, it looks like the current state of affairs is caused by three things, number one being Microsoft’s poor understanding of current gaming market, leading to poor decisions on which direction the “hard-gaming” console should be sailed, this being the shallow and scarce waters of casual gaming and integrated television/internet/Blu-Ray player, where the ability to plug in a controller and play a fun game is an optional extra. The Xbox One is clearly trying to redefine its niche in the market, and its wise managers have decided to plop it down on a spot that is already occupied by bigger, better competitors, and where it is going to be pretty damn irrelevant.
Number two, deciding to follow a common trend on the gaming/publishing market, that being dicking the end-user as hard as possible to please big-name publishers; something that has unsurprisingly backfired from the end-user front, and threatening to leave a lot of big, clunky Xbox Ones sitting on the market shelf. In latest updates, the console requires the Kinect must always, at all times be connected and watching, which apparently is now clever enough to recognize its owner to react to their slightest twitches more readily, and even recognize labels on the users clothing, to better personalize adverts presented to the user. Meaning, what Microsoft is also trying to sell to you, with its connection-dependent entertainment center, is an Orwellian level omniscreen that sees in the dark and spies you every time you try to have sex, that collects information of the inside of your home, so Microsoft can better personalize the adverts you see, in conjunction with your social media posts and feeds. So if you drag this little beast into your living room and you start to see a lot more adverts for Viagra and discount baby clothes…you only have yourself to blame.
Finally number three: Sony’s infinitely better business strategy. It looks like Sony, crafty little devils that they are, have purposefully been keeping the info on their new console to an absolute low, until Microsoft came out and laid their cards on the table. The only thing being that this game is like poker, except you get to go through the deck and pick out the cards you like. So Sony acted fast and picked out cards that were decidedly better than Microsoft’s cards. And laid them out. And then was very smug about it, pointing a finger at Microsoft while everyone was busy pre-ordering PS4s. Thus it looks like Sony clearly noticed that the best business strategy for next gen consoles was offering a better, cheaper console than Microsoft (which, by the way, is not a bad strategy, on the whole), since it was quite clear that Wii U got singled out as the odd one out very soon. I guess having a console with no games available on it didn’t work out as great as they thought.
The Sony press conference was pretty clearly custom-manufactured to outshine Microsoft, and their E3 conference was an ironic reflection of Microsoft’s own. No DRM, allowing second-hand games and borrowing, disc-based gaming, showing a library of coming titles, no slaughtering first-borns in their cribs and no poaching of baby unicorns.
So far we can say congratulations to Sony and PS4, you are clearly the shinier of two turds. Bring your damn games prices down to a reasonable level and we’ll have an awesome time. XBOX fans can only hope that there is some sane soul left in Microsoft’s Ivory Tower, waking out of their cocaine haze and noticing that they will have to remove their bone from the end-user’s expelling cavity pretty fast, assuming they don’t want their entire market share to switch to Sony overnight. At best, we can hope the consumer counter-reaction would make some small impact on the bigger industry, and change the bleak and toxic trend towards shower-raping the end-user with 24/7 DRM, poor online service, crappy background-managers and on-disk DLC.