With next gen consoles almost with us, we ask if Sony's financial issues will cause problems in the future, or can the PS4 help save them from becoming the new Sega?
The Microsoft Xbox One launch event will go down in marketing and video game history as how not to introduce your new product. Who knew that completely ignoring your demographic and trying to promote the TV features of a games console would go down so shockingly bad? If the term 'Epic Fail' wasn't already invented that would have been that event which spawned the phrase.
However, while Sony got all excited at their initial pre-order figures and wasted time making viral videos laughing at the Xbox One's game sharing situation and such, Microsoft may have quietly played the greatest poker face ever.
(ironically, that is now how you share games on the Xbox One also)
Sony highlighted how they listened to their fans before the launch events, and constantly talked about how they know what gamers want, and convinced everyone they got it right, however in poking fun at what their competition was doing wrong (like they have never made some serious blunders) they might not have noticed what they were secretly doing right.
We're pretty sure Sony got a worrying chill when Microsoft surprisingly dropped all of its features the fans didn't agree with such as the used game rule, 24hr online check-in, the mandatory Kineckt and such. Microsoft automatically won most of their fans back overnight, got the pre-orders they wanted and have an even more united community who now feel heard, valued and involved.
But most importantly, they lured Sony into a false sense of security, pushing their PS4 into production to secure the pre-order demand. Meanwhile Xbox were able to sit back and really pick at their console for a little longer and in doing so made even more changes (such as a better CPU) and could have spent that little extra time future proofing their console against the likes of the Red Ring Of Death (PS3's Yellow Light equivalent) who knows?
One thing Microsoft got right with the 360 was the simplicity of the Xbox's hardware and design, so getting into the guts of your machine took half the time as opposed to the PS3, and when your warranty runs out things like this are important, just look at the online support for home Xbox repairs compared to those of the PS3 (And seeing that the PS4 has a built in power supply, I think it's safe to assume getting into the guts of the PS4 will be just as annoying as the PS3). Its about the longevity, and to this day Microsoft are still dropping hints at features they might add later on down the line, such as backwards compatibility via cloud gaming etc. It's evident that Microsoft are very much playing the sensible role of the Turtle in the age old children's lesson, 'slow and steady wins the race', so could Sony's pace and confidence hinder them as they hurtle towards the finish line?
That is what's really important here, the longterm plan. Because what was an embarrassing launch for Microsoft could possibly turn into an embarrassing end of Sony completely. How? Because one thing many might not be aware of is Sony's highly worrying financial situation. The company has had it rough for a good while now, billions have been lost over the decade, in 2012 they had to reduce staff to cover marketing costs, and recently they had no choice but to sell their US Headquarters.
What with products such as the PS Vita failing to sell, their big budget movies such as 'After Earth' and 'White House Down' being huge box office flops, a lot now relies on the PS4, which is a pretty scary gamble.
The impressive PS4 specs (having the GDDR5 Ram etc) that beat what Xbox One has to offer suggest it is more expensive than the Xbox One to make, and though they have the pre-order figures to help them relax for a while, with the console currently on sale cheaper than the Xbox One, how will they cope down the line when Microsoft start dropping the price because they can afford to? Or offer great exclusive game bundles?
With Sony's big focus on indie games and lack of overly exciting, familiar big budget launch franchises set to compete with the likes of the Halo franchise things are not looking too secure.
Meanwhile, Microsoft just recently bought Nokia for $7.1 billion so in the future there could be a big mobile device push from Microsoft, a possible Xbox handheld like Nvidia's Shield down the line (not that they have had great experience with this kind of stuff, anyone who has used Windows Mobile will understand, and Zune? Jeeze). Who knows, but they have the finances for options at least, something Sony seem to lack more and more according to financial reports.
So, when it comes to the question of, who will win the console war? We're confident that the PS4 will do well at the start due to its fan base, I own and supported both consoles so its not like we're team Xbox. We just hope Sony can keep up in the years to come and that the new exclusive titles they have backed turn out to be serious competition for the powerhouse that we know Microsoft's will provide.
We believe the gamer might pick a PS4 this winter due to launch hype, but the sensible longterm investment looks to be the Xbox One.
Our Verdict? Xbox One will reign in the end.