The lights are on
Power Member - Level 10
Before I even get into what I think this is all about, I feel the need to express something fundamental to this "argument". I have been a PlayStation guy all along, and I've never owned an Xbox. In spite of that, I do not consider myself a Sony "fanboy". For me, it's always come down to the games. Microsoft has only had three exclusives that ever made me want to buy their console:
The rest of the Microsoft exclusives just never got me truly excited. Gears of War, Forza...I can't even think of any others. But they just weren't enough for me to want another console. PlayStation, on the other hand, has had a ton of stuff I really wanted and couldn't get anywhere else. The Uncharted series is one of my favorites of all time, and games like Infamous, Gran Turismo, and Heavy Rain were titles I would not have wanted to miss.
So how can I say I'm not a Sony fanboy? Well, to put it simply, I consider myself a GAMER, first and foremost. I follow the games I want, wherever they land. When Blizzard puts out their core franchise games, I upgrade my PC, and that's a helluva lot more expensive than picking up an Xbox. I am not a Microsoft hater. I've just never felt enough draw for their exclusives to shell out the money for the system.
I am a gamer. That's all.
And because I can say that, I can also say this: Microsoft is losing the next-generation console war because they are not appealing to GAMERS.
I blogged about this some back in February, just after the PS4 reveal. What I didn't realize then, but can articulate now, is the reason that conference worked so well is because Sony said all the right stuff to me as a gamer. And they're still saying it today. Microsoft, in almost direct contrast, opened up with a bunch of technology that had nothing to do with games. In fact, it almost felt like they didn't care about gamers at all.
Before I get burned in effigy, allow me to explain. The first 30 minutes of the Xbox One reveal was about what? Multimedia features. The ability to control cable television using voice commands. The ability to sidebar the internet or certain apps while watching TV or playing games. The ability to instantly switch between games, movies, TV, and internet. I gotta tell ya, I was blown away while I was watching it all. It was very cool. And then a funny thing happened.
I realized that I just didn't care.
I already have the ability to switch between components with a single device. It's called a universal remote. And while it is certainly slower than what the Xbox One will be, is that really important to me? No, not so much. The ability to pull up a mini-browser while in a game looked sweet, as was making or receiving a Skype call the same way. But then it hit me. Am I going to be browsing the net while I'm actually playing a game? No way. I will do the exact same thing I'm doing now, pause the game and look up what I want to look up, then go back to it. I have a tablet for that. I might talk to a buddy while I'm playing, but again, that can be done on my cell or tablet.
When I really put some thought into it, what was this new box really doing for me, besides making all that stuff easier? Nothing I couldn't live without. Nothing, in fact, that I ever thought I wanted until they made it look cool. Once I saw the box from that perspective, my excitement literally fell away. So what, then, would have kept me interested?
And that's what they barely touched on in that first conference. Games were practically a no-show. And I am far from alone in feeling that way, judging by the public reactions.
After that came the stuff people really got upset over. True, there wasn't a requirement that the system be "always online" as we originally thought might be the case, but the truth wasn't that much better. It's just every 24 hours and every time you change games, right? But isn't that just a modified version of always online? And I'm not even going to try and discuss the whole DRM issue. I will simply say this: roommates and college dorms are going to have some serious adjusting to do.
I want to clarify one other thing about these points, lest you think I'm just another whiner in sheep's clothing. As restrictions go, these things don't even apply to me. I almost never buy used games, and my console is already always online. So at a fundamental level, I could care less that they're doing this stuff. But you cannot deny these things seem like anti-consumer restrictions. And who is the primary consumer of a games console?
This is why Sony is looking like the big hero right now. Their message has been clear and concise. We are a console for gamers. Everything else is secondary. Microsoft seems to be more interested in appealing to everyone else first. Even their own message seems to support this theory. What did they say? The Xbox One reveal was about the tech in the box. E3 will be all about the games.
Maybe I'm reading too much of a veiled statement in that. But to me, this is a fundamental difference in marketing. For Microsoft, they are pushing a home media device. The show they appeared at on Monday is all about games. Not their box. The show. Sony, in complete contrast, has stated repeatedly that their console is a games console first and foremost.
I don't know about you, but as a gamer, that's the philosophy I want my games console manufacturer to have.
So what, in total, am I saying? Basically, the impressions I'm left with are as follows:
When you break it down to that level, the attitude of gamers out there who feel betrayed seems pretty well justified. Microsoft is hoping to appeal to mass consumers, not just gamers. But they're gambling an awful lot on the hope that Joe Consumer is willing to spend $500 on a box that changes channels when they tell it to. Sony is counting on the same market that has made them successful for the past 20 years. There's a word for that, and that word is "loyalty". Whether reality or just perception, it's what we see and feel that drives us. And right now, Sony feels like the company that cares about us, the core gamers.
Gamers care about games, not gimmicks. The Wii U is proof of that. Microsoft is walking a very thin line, and it's currently biting them in the hindquarters. Sony is winning the battle for the people who really matter in the next-gen console fight, and that's gamers. Even the haters barely even noticed that PS+ will now be required to play games online. That's how little Microsoft is appealing to them now.
And did I mention that Sony also undercut the Xbox One by $100?
this is what it sounds like when a console drops the mike