Sony’s PlayStation 4 has been dominating the console market since their shaming of Microsoft’s Xbox One at E3 2013. While Microsoft were humiliated for their money-grabbing, anti-consumer initial Xbox One ideas, Sony were praised for their classically simple system that just did good games well. The announcement of the PS4K, or Neo, has quickly shattered that ‘for-the-fans’ facade. Creating an upgraded console this early into the life cycle has insulted fans who are now being expected to shell out for a newer console if they want to keep playing the best versions of their games. Microsoft on the other hand has been watching the backlash and vehemently denying a similar upgrade for their own system, though filings have emerged that suggest a mid-cycle refresh. Fans are quickly losing faith in their PlayStations, in a turn similar to the post-2013 Xbox distrust.
Recent news has broken suggesting that the PS5 might not even exist, according to Game Informer’s Lorne Lanning who spoke with Sony’s Shuhei Yoshida, whereas Xbox has revealed a definite successor to the Xbox One. Sony’s business plan is definitely a conundrum at this point. It’s seemingly asking a lot of its fans, with relatively little in return.
Xbox’s main trick however, is the Windows 10 Dev Mode – a system that allows games to be developed and ported directly to PC, Xbox One, and any future refresh systems. Whereas developers will have to create a whole new port for the PS4K, Microsoft has its focus where it needs to be – the ease of development for both big name games companies and users themselves. Xbox has become the simpler development console, after years of being labelled convoluted by the opposition. Indie gaming has stopped flourishing, we’re well past the rise of the independent – now it’s a formidable force moving the industry forward through user innovation and risk. Before going in for the kill shot however, Microsoft needs to sort out the wealth of faults their systems have.
With backwards compatibility, an Xbox One price drop, and promises of substantial future upgrades, Microsoft is pulling out all the stops in reestablishing itself as a fan-driven company, taking Sony down a few pegs in the process. Give it a couple of years and we may be looking at an entirely opposite console gaming landscape.