As a longtime gamer, I’ve seen the ups and downs that befall even the greatest of video game companies. I’ve watched companies like SEGA and Nintendo rise and fall, I’ve watched Sony take a few missteps, and I’ve watched Microsoft become an important player in today’s marketplace. At the risk of dating myself, I even remember the good ol’ days of Atari rising and falling and an odd device named the 3DO failing to captivate gamers (well, besides me, who still finds time to play it from time to time).
All of that experience has taught me one thing: trying to figure out which company will win the console wars is practically impossible. And yet, I find myself sitting here ready to write a column predicting success or failure for today’s hardware makers.
Right now, from my vantage point, I can’t possibly see a way that Microsoft wouldn’t win this year’s console war for the holiday season. I’m not saying that the Xbox One will definitely win this generation, but I do believe that when it’s all said and done, Microsoft will claim victory at Christmas.
Now, I’m sure there are many Sony fans that are already laughing. They needn’t look any further than to the fact that Sony has sold millions of more PlayStation 4 units than Microsoft has sold Xbox Ones, and one could argue right now that Sony is poised for continued success in the coming months and years.
But going into the holiday season, one could argue that Microsoft has more going for it. For one thing, the company recently announced that it will temporarily slash the price on its console for the holiday season, saying that the device will now be available for $349 in the US, making it far more affordable to shoppers than it was just months ago.
So far, Sony hasn’t responded with a similar price cut, and given the company’s troubling financial performance as a whole, it’s unlikely that it would take a major loss on PlayStation 4 sales this holiday season and risk annoying investors. Microsoft, on the other hand, has the cash in the bank to take the hit and move on.
Then there’s the issue of software. While both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One have deep game libraries and Call of Duty will again be a major seller for both consoles, I think the Xbox has a better game lineup this holiday season.
For one thing, Microsoft is offering a special Call of Duty bundle that will appeal to gamers, and Sunset Overdrive has proven to be cooler and more popular than anything else Sony is selling right now. It should also help that Microsoft has Halo: The Master Chief Collection exclusively available to its Xbox One owners.
There was a time when exclusives were far more prevalent and they mattered greatly in the gaming world. Now, they’re few and far between. But Microsoft has put its money on the right games – Sunset Overdrive, Halo, and even Assassin’s Creed: Unity in its own bundle – that will appeal to gamers. Best of all, Halo and Sunset are both exclusives that Sony can’t get its hands on.
So, I think a Perfect Storm may be developing. With hardware prices lower, bundles appealing to consumers, and exclusive software to boot, this holiday season looks to be a winner for Microsoft.
Watch out, Sony.