It has been said that “it is better to have a gun and not need it than to need a gun and not have it”, a wise saying which seems to be echoed in Sony’s approach to their next-gen flagship PS4 console. Sparring no expense on features in an effort on being crystal clear in how their new platform stacks up against the competition, Sony it seems has had the psychological edge on the next-generation front ever since E3.
While Microsoft has shown they will change their course of action in order to remain competitive and viable on the gaming scene by doing a 180 on their highly criticized DRM initiative, offer ‘Games with Gold’ for a limited time to appease Live users from the distraction of PS Plus and self-publishing position for the indie community, it is fair to say, Sony has played a major role in forcing Microsoft’s hand. Since E3 Sony has been on the offense at every stop, detailing hardware specs and capabilities with system engineer Mark Cerny taking the lead followed by performance contrasts to the Xbox One also in Sony’s favor.
Both the PS4 and the Xbox One seem more than capable of meeting our gaming and entertainment needs for the next- generation, yet Sony’s objective feature list of the PS4 continues to reveal more value and bells and whistles at a more affordable price point making it simply too hard for gamers to ignore. A recent update from Access Playstation reveals PS4 users will be able to have a friends list of 2000 users. With the current PS3 friends list limited to 100, the idea of 2000 does appear to be overkill, but whose complaining. In fact Microsoft revealed their friends list for the Xbox One which is limited to 1000. Of course this also seems like more than enough friends to engage your online gaming needs yet, that’s what we said about 250 GB of HDD space. In addition, the next-generation platforms will be able to video stream live, a feature many gamers are hit and miss about. While Microsoft has revealed their live video streaming service to offer up to 5 minutes of streaming via the Xbox One, Sony’s PS4 goes the extra mile allowing for up to 15 minutes of live video streaming.
Sony will also bundle each PS4 with a headset in an effort to promote their new systems social connectivity. If you decide you don’t like the bundled PS4 headset, all PS3 headsets are compatible with the PS4 while all bluetooth ready headsets or earpieces work seamlessly with the system as well. Microsoft on the other hand has announced they will not bundle a headset with the system for the moment as the Kinect 2.0 device comes bundled with each Xbox One console with voice recognition technology. Xbox One is not bluetooth ready and Xbox 360 users cannot use their current gaming headsets without the use of an Xbox One adapter. Microsoft however, has announced that a proprietary headset for the Xbox One will be available at launch.
A major selling point and key advantage to Microsoft’s Xbox Live service this generation was its ability of allowing users to engage and communicate across applications and games via the cross-game party chat feature. However, now that Sony will be offering this service which will not be placed behind a paywall (among other services) allowing PS4 users to simply jump in and start party chatting it up across the all apps and game titles with no restrictions, gives this service advantage to Sony.
The Xbox One by all accounts is a more than capable platform with a unique and incredible set of Kinect TV features which translates into a great option for gamers. Microsoft though has been on the defense since the system was initially revealed trying to prove to the gaming world that if Sony can do it or has it, so do we and this needs to change. Viewing the current advantages of the PS4 and one has to ask themselves whether Microsoft will continue to react to Sony’s played PS4 hand. Will we eventually see Microsoft add more users to their Live friends list, up their users video streaming time, somehow allow cross game party chat to be removed behind the paywall? While these would undoubtedly be great updates for early Xbox One adopters, continuing to respond to Sony in this fashion only paints a more compelling picture of desperation while Microsoft bends to the will of the competition all before the launch of their more expensive platform.
Sure, it can certainly be said that Sony is offering cross game party chat because of the success of Xbox Live, bundling a headset with every PS4 like the Xbox 360 and we definitely understand that Trophies might not be in play on PSN without the popularity of Achievements on Live. While it is no doubt the same, the perceptions are completely different. Is it a bad thing to offer the same service as your competitor, of course not. However, it does appear to be more of a profound approach when Microsoft makes these reactions to counter Sony’s PS4 initiative all within less than one year of the of the Xbox One launch after these policies have been set in stone while maintaining a higher price point. I completely understand Microsoft’s aim to have no stone left unturned as we head into the exciting holiday months, yet when your system cost $100 more than the competition you really can’t afford to be just on par.
Ultimately when it comes to gaming systems the truth is, more, oftentimes translates into better. The more exclusive titles, the more valued features, the most apps, the more capable hardware, more free games, the list goes on and on.
At launch both next-gen platforms should be flying off retail shelves at a frequent pace with gamers quickly becoming indoctrinated into their platform of choice. For the moment the PS4 feature advantages and price point appear to be a tough act to follow, but this is probably nothing that the perception of a price reduced Xbox One and extended “Games with Gold” update couldn’t remedy.
What do you think, does the PS4 clearly have the edge going into the holiday months and does it make Microsoft look weak by seemingly copying Sony PS4 policies in order to stay competitive? Let us know your thoughts.