Are you ready for a battle? Starting this November, the video game industry will be headlined by two major competitors: the Sony PlayStation 4 and the Microsoft Xbox One. And both devices, which promise enhanced graphics and outstanding game libraries, are looking to win this year’s 2013 sales competition.
Of course, as history has shown, only one console can win that race. And in some generations, as with the last one when the Wii took center stage, surprises can crop up and certain products might sell better than expected.
This time around, however, is appears unlikely that we’ll see too many surprises. And by the end of the year, it’ll be the PlayStation 4, not the Xbox One, that will win the day.
Sony’s PlayStation 4 looks like the immediate winner out of the gate. Sure, it doesn’t come with all of the fixin’s available with the Kinect, but its graphical capabilities look to be at least able to match those in the Xbox One initially. Even better, Sony has said that the console will have nearly three dozen games available for it by the end of the year, beating out the 23 games that will be running on the Xbox One.
But perhaps we should also consider price. Microsoft’s console is by no means affordable. In fact, the console will retail for $500, and those who want an additional controller will need to pay $60. That’s not exactly the best deal.
Meanwhile, the PlayStation 4 will hit store shelves at $400. Yes, the console is still expensive, but consumers who are on a budget and can only buy one device for themselves or their kids this year will want to save the $100. As the PlayStation 3’s sluggish sales showed, console pricing really matters. And when Sony finally brought the price back down to earth, sales soared.
We must also remember that the Xbox One was dogged by some major complaints after its announcement. Gamers didn’t like the idea of being forced to use a Kinect, and really hated that Microsoft would force them to connect to Xbox Live each day to be able to keep playing games. Granted, Microsoft fixed those policies, but it left a sour taste in gamers’ mouths. And sour tastes usually translate to lower-than-expected sales.
Finally, I think we need to consider the current preorder stats. It’s believed that Sony is outselling the Xbox on preorders right now, and Amazon’s own listing pages seem to agree with that sentiment. In fact, customers can still preorder an Xbox One that they can get at the end of the year, but no PlayStation 4 preorders are available on the site.
So, what does all this mean over the long-term? Not much, really. But between now and December 31, it means a lot. Sony, at least for the first month, will be the champion in the console space. And Microsoft will need to address that in 2014 or face being left far behind its chief competitor.
The stakes are high. And the busy holiday shopping season means everything. Microsoft must remember that.