Xbox has lost the console war forever but so has PlayStation – Reader’s Feature

Xbox has lost the console war forever but so has PlayStation - Reader’s Feature

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The game has changed (Picture: Metro.co.uk)

A reader argues that the most important reveal at the Xbox business update podcast had less to do with multiformat games and

I’ve seen a lot of people say that the Xbox podcast on Thursday was a non-event and that they didn’t really saying anything major, but I don’t think that’s true. Sure, the talk about multiformat games and new hardware was as vague as it could possibly be but those are just symptoms of what is currently ailing Xbox. The real problem it’s got, as Phil Spencer and co. made clear is that Xbox simply isn’t making enough money.

They may not have said exactly that, but they may as well have, with all the talk of having to focus on growth, attracting larger audiences, and looking for new revenue streams. Selling their consoles and their games doesn’t make enough profit on its own, so now they need to sell them on PlayStation and Switch as well – plus push further into PC and mobile.

This alone proves that this will not be the only multiformat games and that soon enough more high-profile titles will join them. Microsoft is not going to make any money selling Pentiment to PlayStation 5 owners. It probably isn’t even going to make that much with Starfield, it has to be everything, all the time or it just won’t make a difference.

Since I already own all three current consoles (I don’t always but Lady Luck has been kind this gen) I don’t actually care all that much about all the multiformat drama, as interesting as it should be for an industry watcher like me.

I’m more interested in the idea that Microsoft no longer considers console gaming to be enough to balance the books. Sony apparently agrees too, as they started saying almost exactly the same things this week, albeit in an even more roundabout and vague fashion.

(I’ve just got done reading GC’s article on the week’s events and I generally agree with it, especially the comments about Microsoft and Sony’s inept communication lately. How anyone let the Sony president start going on about multiformat games like that, while the topic was doing Xbox so much damage, I have no idea.)

So, while I’m sure there’s many PlayStation fans celebrating the fact that Xbox has essentially dropped out of the console war – not in terms of stopping making hardware, but admitting it needs to sell games on PlayStation to pay the bills – Sony is in the exact same situation. Only instead of releasing their games on Xbox and Switch their solution seems to be live service games.

From that perspective, PlayStation fans are losing a lot more. Starfield or Indiana Jones being on PlayStation doesn’t spoil anything for Xbox owners, in fact it’s a benefit if it means Microsoft has more money to spend on making other games. But Sony has all but given up making the sort of games that made the PlayStation 4 such a success and not only do most fans not seem to want the live service games, but Sony hasn’t managed to release any of them yet anyway.

Xbox hasn’t really lost the console war because there is no console war anymore. Sony outselling the Xbox by 2:1, or more, has gained it nothing because it still has to find alternative means to make money from its games, given the ridiculous sums of money they cost to make now.

Plus, Microsoft are the ones still making lots of traditional non-live service games, not Sony. They might have trouble releasing a good one but they are trying, with lots of games in the pipeline. Instead, it’s Sony that’s acting more like they lost the generation and are having to go away and do something different. No major new games for 12 months? Great… so, why did I buy a PlayStation 5 again?

I’ve noticed a lot of people sticking their heads in the sand, trying to pretend none of this matters, but this week was a milestone for gaming. Not an exciting one, in terms of the reveals themselves or what they imply, but important nonetheless.

Nintendo is now left as the only console manufacturer that makes all its money from selling traditional games, as exclusives, on a console. But who knows whether that will still be true for the Switch 2? Maybe they’ll start talking about multiformat releases and live service games when they announce their new console. I doubt it but that is the way the industry going, whether anyone likes it or not.

By reader Gordo

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