First post, eh? Lets start with a fun one.
In the interest of full disclosure, let me start by saying that I own an Xbox 360 and I’ve pre-ordered an Xbox One. its just got more features that I like and, to be honest, the downsides don’t really affect me that much – although I appreciate that’s not the same for everyone. If you feel the need to be a dick about my choice of consoles, go ahead. I’m sure it will make your tiny insignificant existence that much brighter.
But I hate to break it to you, your choice of console doesn’t really matter. The console wars were won a long time ago, and they were won by the manufacturers, not the “Gamer.”
I put that in speech marks, because the nebulous definition of gamer, that apparently is chosen by some mythical hierarchy of COD-playing muppets annoys me. You want to know my credibility as a gamer? I started off playing games on a tape-drive Amstrad. I progressed to a C64 and then got a mega-drive/genesis. I moved from there to the Ps1 and Ps2. Then I got my 360. This is why it strikes me as particularly amusing when some prat calls me a “Game-Hater” for daring to disagree with their opinion on EA/Microsoft/Sony/Whoever. And yes, that has happened.
But the Console Wars? They aren’t a thing any more.
DO you want to know why? Because as far as Microsoft and Sony are concerned, you’re no more than a drop in the water of their profit margin.
Here’s a curious fact: Neither Microsoft nor Sony truly NEED to make a profit off their next generation console. It would be nice, but it isn’t a priority. When Microsoft announced the Xbox One, a lot of Playstation fans made a big song and dance about the fact the Sony’s share prices went up. They immediately accredited this to Microsofts announcement – and ignored the fact the Microsofts share prices also went up that day.
Penny Arcade Report wrote this article discrediting that theory. A business journalist also weighs in in the credits.
See, for Sony, their electronics business – and that’s not just the PS4, thats their entire electronics DIVISION – represents less than 10% of their annual profits. The same goes for Microsoft, for whom the Xbox 360 represents $2.5 billion of their $25 Billion annual profit.
So, the fact is, Gamers, you ain’t the special little snowflakes in Microsoft and Sony’s eyes that you think you are.
Now, just for a change of tone, here’s why that’s a good thing:
One of the main things many of Nintendo’s fans have complained about recently is the chasing of the ‘casual’ market. You know the kind of person who sits behind you on the bus playing Candy Crush and oh god the tune is in my head WHY WON’T IT STOP.
Sorry, went to my dark place there. Anyway, the reason Nintendo is having to chase that market is in the search for profit, and that’s the downside of being a pure games manufacturer – they have to make and sell games that appeal to as wide an audience as possible. this is something that’s going a long way towards explaining the ever decreasing amount of third party content for their consoles.
Sony and Microsoft, on the other hand, don’t need to chase this market. With the gaming divisions representing so little of their profit, the can afford to take a few more gambles. Members of gaming forums can claim that their favourite has won the console war as much as they want, bathing in the post-E3 afterglow until they turn crispy, but they disregard the fact that there is no console war. By the end of the current generation, barring a handful of exclusives on either platform (a good portion of which are made up of the Grand Turismo and Forza games) both consoles will have approximately the same library of content. This will remain pretty much the same on the next generation, because no matter what people on forums say, they are representing a tiny portion of an already tiny portion of the consoles user base.
Both consoles will sell well, and developers and publishers will continue to make games for both. the world will keep spinning, and the fanboys will keep bitching at each other.
Because at the very best, the Console war is a Cold War. A minor exchanges were fired across the border during E3, but ultimately, both combatants will go back to warily eyeing each other over the barbed wire fence.