With Xbox recently showing their hand there’s much to be said about Sony and Microsoft’s movements leading up to the fall. For a large part there seems to be factions of fans sided with each company willing to die for them, arguing on Twitter and bleeding blue or green.
What Did Xbox Have to Say Then?
This time last week Phil Spencer introduced us to some of the projects and games we can expect to see on the Xbox Series X. They led with Halo: Infinite their launch title and possibly Xbox’s biggest exclusive franchise.
It wasn’t the most welcomed look either, despite good numbers on Youtube. The graphics seemed to be somewhat lacklustre for a next gen game. Its possibly the biggest talking point for Halo at the moment and ammo for those in blue.
It had other features unseen before, seemingly being more open world than linear like previous games. The gunplay and enemies seemed to be reprised from the original games and the cut scenes promise a story worth telling.
After Halo however, it was rather forgetful. We saw a teaser for Forza, but that’s it, a small reveal type look. We saw a teaser for Fable (I’m generous when I say teaser) and the same for Avowed, Obsidians Elder Scrolls knock off. There were a bunch of games from all over the genre spectrum and some Microsoft exclusives but nothing too worth mentioning. I say Microsoft as they seem to be aiming for PC/Xbox crossplay/save.
So Who Has the Upper Hand?
This all depends on your approach to gaming. Sony have been quite vocal in their approach and their intentions for next gen.
Sony are ready to leave PS4 behind, with new titles being PS5 only.
For Sony, next gen is the future and the past is to be left behind. Their showcase backed this as well as they seem to be closer to launching more next gen titles than Microsoft. They have had a stronger showing so far in terms of games and exclusives. Arguably Spider-Man has as much attention as Halo, and it’s only a large DLC.
Sony’s console is probably the only thing that hasn’t been received with applause and anticipation. Its clunky and looks kinda weird. Especially next to Xbox’s simple rectangle design. For Sony they would consider this a win, all aspects considered.
Xbox, while having a more attractive console, are lagging behind when it comes to games. They have all their eggs in Halo’s basket in terms of launch title exclusives and are relying on third parties from Ubisoft and CD Projeckt Red to boost their library out of the gate. They’re also looking backwards to games intended for the One.
What Xbox do have is Gamepass. With Gamepass they are significantly lowering the paywall entry into next gen and full priced titles at ~£70. They have secured Destiny 2’s content on Gamepass and promise titles such as Halo: Infinite and Forza for a tenner a month.
In a nutshell for the price of 2 games at release cost, you can game for a year with the Gamepass library. That is huge, but it’s the only thing Microsoft and Xbox are banking on to boost sales after a poor showing for the One series.
Sony on Top?
I would say overall Sony has generated a bigger buzz. It currently leads the console market in sales and has a prestige library of exclusives in its repertoire. When we think of gaming we want the best games and Cyberpunk, Valhalla, Godfall and Spider-Man are all coming to PlayStation by the end of the year, whereas Xbox will only receive half of them.
When push comes to shove, Xbox’s hand will start to prove dominant. Not many of us can afford to keep up a hobby that costs 60-70 of our currency each game. With Gamepass there will be access to a massive back catalog and next gen games which will prove more valuable to some than 1 or 2 top tier entries for PlayStation can do.
I would say that quality is louder than quantity and for this Sony is on top, especially out of the gate. Xbox are looking to multiplayer and community within their games whereas Sony are looking for quality and critically acclaimed titles.
My advice would always be to play with your friends or where your favourite games are at. I can’t bear the thought of not having access to Spider-Man: Miles Morales or God of War 5 (rumoured to be announced next month). So I’ll see you on PlayStation.