November is less than 90 days away, and the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X are equally as close. Everyone has been comparing teraflops and solid-state drive speeds in a technical battle for superiority.
While this is happening, all three major console players have been laser-focused on their next-gen goals. Interestingly enough for Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft, these goals intersect but often do not run parallel.
There will be no real console war this generation
I’ve noticed that a lot of people out there don’t seem to notice that Nintendo actually kicked off their ninth console generation with the Switch, back in 2017. While they’ve effectively dominated the generation, and done pretty dang well in sales, with their hybrid console, Nintendo’s vision of the future of gaming is almost completely uncompromising. Nintendo’s belief is that their staff should be flexible and have multiple skills. This absolutely reflects in their first-party titles and how the Switch is viewed overall.
The Switch may be a less-powerful system but it is an absolute godsend for anyone that doesn’t have time to sit down in front of a TV for dedicated amounts of time when they want to play games. Nintendo’s Switch has also become a haven for indie developers. The e-Shop is stuffed to the brim with sub-$20 game titles that are full of unique experiences. Nintendo wants you to have your game on the Switch. Big or small, they don’t care. As long as it works, at least.
Xbox Series X seems to be all about playing together
Microsoft is coming off of a less than successful eighth-generation. The Xbox One suffered from a poor introduction, horrible optics with crappy initial policies, and overconfidence. The Xbox 360 was the winner of the seventh-generation and Microsoft figured the Xbox One would be the default console for most, regardless of price and features. While this current generation didn’t sink Microsoft’s console endeavors, it was a wake-up call. That wake-up call is that Microsoft wants to just be what you think of when someone says “video games.”
If you have bothered to pay attention to Microsoft’s Xbox Series X announcements, Microsoft is no longer interested in a battle. Instead, the house that Gates built wants to help you build a gaming ecosystem. Platform exclusives are less of a thing. Cross-platform play is a major focus. Microsoft even wants to change the way you buy games. Xbox Game Pass has revolutionized the market. Where else can you get the hottest games instantly? You can even play most on your PC! That’s not even considering xCloud.
The ninth-gen for Microsoft is all about paying them monthly for an incredible amount of value. Cloud gaming is a very real thing for Xbox and the ability to potentially play Xbox games on anything with a screen and internet connection is huge. Microsoft is releasing one or two consoles (Series X and maybe the Series S) but it doesn’t sound like that’s the real goal here. They want you subscribed to their service, using the cloud and downloading your games as you see fit. The console is just the icing on the cake.
Sony is the only one showing up to battle
Sony’s PlayStation 5 is the guy that shows up at the bar and yells “Woooo!” for no reason. They slam a few beers, cordially introduce themselves to anyone that makes eye contact, and brag about all their cool things. They seem super nice, but under the surface, you can just see they are just waiting for someone to look at them sideways. Yep, Sony is the only real console developer that is showing up for a fight in the ninth-gen. Microsoft is enjoying their craft beer, Nintendo is sipping a cocktail, while Sony waltzes up with a bucket of Natty Ices and says “Bet you can’t drink more than me, scrubs!”
The PlayStation 5 is touting some of the hottest exclusive titles at launch. It has a bombastic design that the internet is chuffed with. Trust me, I’ve seen the memes. Part of the console unveiling included telling people they can totally buy a new headset or charging base for their controllers. Sony is showing up to this next-gen ready to roll over anyone that is getting in their way. The problem for them is that no one seems to want to fight. Sony can have the exclusives and mandatory new peripherals and controllers. Nintendo and Microsoft called off the fight already.
When you have three consoles doing different things, we all win
Now, this doesn’t mean that Sony wins the ninth-gen by default. As a matter of fact, it’s far from it. Sony is highly restrictive of their brand and is just now starting to work with others on cross-play. There have been rumors out on the internet that Microsoft is willing to let Nintendo use their xCloud services and vice versa. There’s a possibility that you may one day be playing Halo Infinite on Xbox on your Switch alongside people playing on PC.
Sony announced that, yeah, you would need to buy all new controllers for the PlayStation 5. Seems expected, right? Then Microsoft announces that no, you do not need to get new controllers and that all peripherals from the Xbox One generation will continue to work on the Series X.
I fully expect that Sony will absolutely dominate console sales for most of the world. I foresee Nintendo continuing to be the supplementary console that provides unique experiences and full gaming opportunities on the go. My prediction for Microsoft is that they aim low and knock it out of the park. They are going to be all over mobile devices, computers, and probably at least one of their competing consoles.
This time around though, I think we are all better off overall. Sure, fanboys will fanboy, and people will still go out of their way to tell you why their choice was the best. However, it really does seem that the ninth-gen of consoles is going to be about providing unique experiences across the board. I don’t know how anyone could complain about that.
What do you think? Do you feel that there will be a “console war” for this generation of gaming machines? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.