With Sony and Microsoft’s next-generation of gaming consoles only months away to be released, let’s take a look at how these new systems got to where they are today. Keep in mind not all the specs and features have been released yet, especially for the Xbox One, and as Microsoft recently demonstrated, policies can change really quickly.
So far, the PlayStation 4 is shaping up to be the fan favorite this generation. With polls all over the internet leaning far into Sony’s side most of the time, it’s hard to see it any other way. So lets take a look at how the PS4 got to where it is now.
Back in January, Sony’s CEO Kazou Hirai said that Sony would let the competition make the first move in the next generation of gaming. Then on February 20th Sony held an event in New York to announce the PS4 well before the competition. While only the new DualShock 4 was shown at the event, plenty of specs and game trailers were shown too. Developers could finally say “yes, our game will be on the PS4”, while Microsoft had to sit quietly and wait, giving Sony a big head start for the next generation race.
The next big thing in the PS4’s time line was E3 2013. This is where Sony finally got to actually show off their new console and announce a price. Sony undercutting Microsoft on price by $100 at $399 was huge but as we all know anything can happen at E3 and it did. Microsoft went on stage earlier in the day and announced a ton of games for the Xbox One.
Microsoft had earlier done a terrible job of explaining their DRM policies to the public and press. As a result the PlayStation 4’s no DRM policy was a huge success leaving the Xbox One to get destroyed by truckloads of bad press about its price, DRM, mandatory Kinect and even the style of the box itself, while the PS4 basked in the glory Microsoft was surely loving when they released the Xbox 360 a year ahead of the PS3 back in 2006.
Since then some little things about the Playstation 4 and PS Plus have come out like how you will be able to play all of the games in your library by signing in to your account on another PlayStation 4, and that Remote Play on the PS Vita will work over WiFi to play your PS4 games. For the most part though, Sony is riding the wave of good press its had since it was announced.
So far, the Xbox One is looking like it’s going to be the underdog this generation. Those same polls all over the internet that were in Sony’s favor are obviously not for the Xbox one. The Xbox One has had a one very crazy pre-launch. Unfortunately, this isn’t a good thing but as time is going by it’s doing a lot to right its wrongs. Now lets see how the Xbox One got to be where it is now.
On May 21st Microsoft held their Xbox One reveal. While Microsoft showed the actual system at their conference and some of the unique things the Xbox One will be able to do, overall the entire conference was ill received. Microsoft showed off their Kinect 2.0 functionality which is looking much improved over the current Kinect. They also showed off their TV functions like saying channel names to change to them, instant switching between TV and games, and snap mode which lets you watch TV while you surf the web or play games. The Kinect can also scan redemption codes.
They didn’t however talk about games very much which everyone though was a bit odd for a game console reveal. On top of that they didn’t answer any of the questions flying around about its DRM policies that had been spreading all over the internet like a wildfire. The combination of little talk about games and not answering any of the burning DRM questions left everyone wondering what the Xbox One would be all about.
Then came the infamous E3 press conference. Microsoft thought they had everything under control saying things like E3 would be all about the games and they would destroy Sony at E3 this year. While Microsoft’s conference did heavily focus on games it was all overshadowed by what everyone at the time thought were horrendous DRM policies. Your system needing to check in every 24 hours, no trading physical games, no selling physical games except at certain stores and the fact that the Kinect is mandatory and always listening ignited what was probably the biggest movement in video game history to get Microsoft to change their policies.
It didn’t take long for Microsoft to hear the consumers demands and on June 19th Microsoft reversed their policy on DRM. However since they were getting rid of the 24 hour check in they were also getting rid of a feature they didn’t talk about very much–family sharing. With the DRM policy in place you would have been able to buy digital copies of games and share, sell or trade those downloaded games. Without the DRM all those features became non-existent and that has now started its own movement to bring back the DRM.
Now with Gamescom right around the corner from August 21st-25th, Sony is looking to keep the lead it has and Microsoft is working hard to win back consumer trust. Both companies still have questions about their respective consoles to answer, features to talk about and surely some new games to announce. While the PS4 might currently be looking like the best console choice, don’t count out the Xbox One just yet. Xbox is a strong brand with a huge following and has some impressive exclusives like Halo.
Gamescom is going to be a deciding factor this holiday season for each of these console releases. The next generation hasn’t even started and is going to be around for a long time, it’s still anyone’s race to win. As Sony’s Jack Tretton said they just won day 1 of a lengthy battle that will last for years.