Yes, the game is not really afoot, but we see the kick-off by Keith Stuart in the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/games/2019/oct/09/playstation-5-v-xbox-scarlett-the-next-console-war-begins-in-2020). Microsoft and Sony are now starting to face each other is what is going to be the biggest fight that they have had so far. there are a few parts, in the first the consoles are basically released at the same time and unless you have a spiffy bank account, this time around you will have to make a direct choice, this means that one of the two will have a direct advantage, and with the PlayStation 4 having a head start to the degree it has also implies that it could be off to the races from day one.
In this the media will be the largest problem, like crack addicted prostitutes they will be hunting for advertisement from both and that is part of the problem. In February 2019 I gave: “In October 2012, I alerted the media to an issue impacting 30 million gamers within the commonwealth. I directly alerted Channel 7, Channel 9 and the Sydney Morning Herald; the all ignored it to the largest degree. There were clear screenshots on how the impact was given, yet the left it on the left of what was important. A change by Sony for their gaming community 3 weeks before the PS4 was released, they all (except for the Australian Guardian) ignored it for the most, and perhaps it was not news? What they (as I personally see it) intentionally ignored is that the Sony Terms of Service is a legally binding contract, the mention of a memo is merely a piece of paper that could be ignored the very next directors meeting. The press needed advertisement dollars and Sony is high on that list of needs, PlayStation 4 was big bucks, plain and simple” this all came from an article I wrote in November 2013 (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2013/11/20/pricing-a-sony-game/). The problem was that the media (the Guardian being one of a few exceptions) who decided not to write anything on it and they left millions of gamers hanging in the wind. The problem is whether we will face this same situation again. If the media facilitates towards the shareholders, the stake holders and the advertisers, there is every danger that the gamers will not be properly informed and that tactic was done by Sony AND Microsoft.
It is not the only issue, Microsoft with its new Xbox will have a larger issue, the flaws in their design were unacceptable (online harassment, and storage space), so the bullying has set in motion an aversion towards the Microsoft console and if Sony has the same great approach that they had in the past they already have a larger advantage from the very beginning.
Yet there is a new stage, both players know that the foundation is games, when hardware has so many similarities, getting the games is everything. It will be all about the exclusives a lot more than ever before. In this I would reckon that Microsoft has a small advantage, yet Sony has had the titles for the longest time, so they can prep what they need ahead of time.
The new part is the 8K option, the problem is having the games and the TV to enjoy it and that is where the problem starts. Even as we look a year too early, at present Samsung is the ONLY one with an affordable 8K TV. With (only) 65″ it is the only TV under $5000, with at the upper end we see Sony with 85″ at an astounding $22,000. Even as prices will decrease over the next year, we can see that the console will be overpowered (for now), this is a good thing and this implies that 4K games will be fast and smooth, which in light of the affordability of 4K TV’s is great but that is only one part.
Storage space has been the eternal issue and with 4K and 8K games storage will be everything. Microsoft was stupid, yes truly stupid in their design. It is like making a one seater sports car, you get to enjoy, but you never get to share what you view and gaming is all about showing off your point of view, which means that serious storage space was required. Sony gave the option for people to buy a larger drive and I did on day 1, in 2012 for a mere $109 I doubled my PS4 with a 2TB drive, I never regretted it, only last year (after 6 years) did I finally max out my gaming space. I hid the max on my Xbox within 6 months. Microsoft was indeed that stupid! I hope that they learned from this disastrous choice. For Sony things are different, at the same stage, if the PS5 supports the Samsung 860 EVO 4TB SSD things change by a lot, OK, we admit that it is currently expensive at $900, yet in a year it will be cheaper and starting your new console with 4TB storage is nothing to be sneered at, I reckon that I will survive for a while and my normal PS4 is on 2TB, so getting double that for 4K gaming is not a luxury.
Even as I will admit that the large backward compatible drive works for Microsoft, we have not seen a lot where Sony will go, in addition, neither party has shown that they comprehend social media and gamers, as such what they think is interaction, really is not. Both Sony and Microsoft failed in that department and there is no telling whether they will drive it in the next generation of consoles. Both players are all over haptic feedback and some version of VR, yet the games are the driving party and even as they can enjoy additions through the upgrades, we see that gaming needs to evolve.
As I looked at the redesign of the Mass Effect series, I made certain discoveries (it is easy when you redesign a game in your mind), the (many) flaws that were there and the path to take to make a much better game also gives a handle on the question: ‘what can I do different‘, it is not a given, but having to make a change is also a path towards a larger game and a larger interactive change. You get from the first question to the second one: ‘what can I do different with the parts I have now?‘ That tends to be a game changer. What if leveling up is not really changed, but could be augmented? When all the memory triggers are on the Hyperion, what if upgrading and repairing the Hyperion becomes an actual long term mission? For example 25 missions just to fix parts of the Hyperion giving 25%-50% additional tech powers? There are examples in abundance where we can adapt the game to be more inclusive and becomes the foundation for a much larger story.
When we take that towards the consoles, we see that the narrative is an actual dimension in gaming. What if the community part gets evolved into an actual social media channel where you can present a narrative and over the length of a game that could bring a lot more information towards gamers and game designers; the fact that the social media part was teased in 2012 and left untapped to a much larger degree in both consoles (except the abundance of forced advertisements by Microsoft) was a little disappointing, as Microsoft was all about utilising awareness through advertising on your console front page, the idea to utilise the option for gamers to up their game was largely left untapped.
Sony had its own flaws, but fixed a few of them well in advance of time giving them a few advantages at present, storage being the biggest, but not the only part in this. As 8K comes near, I reckon that PlayStation home will be missed out on, especially as virtual spaces will be the larger thing in 8K on 5G, an advantage lost.
There is a larger node in all this, we have seen the attempts by some to add dimensions via online and mobile gaming, I believe that this via 5G will take a much larger floor. It failed initially because we are not ready, but for a lot of sport games (EA), the direct link with NHL, NFL, NBA, FIFA and the game we play will take a much larger central position, the player cards that could connect to social media of our favourite players and teams. The option to link the 49’ers (for example) to our NFL game would give us the direct events and also more info on our favourite team (whichever that one is), in sports it makes more sense, it drives fans, it had for the longest of times. Consider you get the player card of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and by clicking on the twitter icon you see his ACTUAL twitter feed. I believe that this is what sport fans live for, until 4G+ the system was not powerful enough, on next gen systems with 5G it will be smooth and easy as pie.
It is a larger frame that we see, a social media framework that both ignored earlier. Yes, we can argue that hardware and telecom were not ready in 2012, yet over a term of 6 years nothing really changed to the degree it should have and that too is an issue with both. We get that it is all about gaming, but nowadays, when we see that the Overwatch group on Facebook has 83873 members, we see an untapped part of gaming, Facebook is not the best vessel here, but the console could unite hundreds of thousands of fans for many games, by making not the player but both the gamer and the game a united cluster we see a very different story and it seems that neither Sony nor Microsoft seriously looked at his.
And as we end today with the look on what both consoles deliver and what sets them apart, we see the failing that is coming when it is not properly looked at, a level of interaction in gaming that both ignored, when you set the foundation like Google Plus you get a much better handle of whatever else you can do, whatever else you can facilitate towards and prosper from, those two parts when properly done go hand in hand. Game developers seem to wait for Facebook to do something, but that is the failure, it was not up to them, it was up to Microsoft and Sony to facilitate for systems that game developers could have gotten to give a much larger drive to gaming and their fans.
We might be 64 weeks away from the next season of gaming, but in the end in 30 weeks the marketing machines will drive hypes and forget that proper testing might reveal what else was missed in the 11th hour, as such we await the two streams that follow, inclusion of marketed BS segregation. It tends to be one of the two and Microsoft in their one Windows central gave us that on June 2018 when they gave us: “Microsoft’s repeated consumer product failures could be indicative of a fatal flaw in the company’s culture“, they have proven that several times in the Xbox One life cycle and then repeated the same mistake in the Xbox One X, Sony is not without failings either but corrected a few of them over the years.
I wonder what they will have missed by July 2020, at that point most system choices will be locked in and will not be fixed before the second wave of consoles are released, which makes for the repair of the found flaws and shortcomings no earlier than Winter 2021.
I wonder how what this stage looks like when we get to March 1st 2021, I believe that in light of the past Sony with the PlayStation 5 will be the reigning champion (yet again), but we need to acknowledge that Phil Spencer does know the field he is in, will the Microsoft board of directors give him the space he needs? I am not certain but we will know when the system comes, actually, I reckon that in the month before release we will have a clear view on how much space and options he was given, it will be the first decisive strike in the upcoming console war.
In this, the largest trap is that executives start feeling ‘relaxed’ with the hypes they create, once anyone bursts that bubble whomever relied on unsubstantiated hypes will lose almost all momentum immediately making them less than second best in that race. Still, it is quite the feat to become 3rd in a race with 2 players, is it not?