State of Play: PS4 and the Next Xbox

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Microsoft and Sony go head-to-head again.

Things are about to change.

This time next week, Sony are tipped to reveal the Playstation 4 to an eagerly awaiting gaming world.  This is the generation that has gone on too long.  Back in 2005 when the Xbox 360 launched, no-one would have believed we’d still be getting releases like Dead Space 3 and Bioshock Infinite 8 years later.  Yet here we are.

Wild-Fire

Sony’s announcement, due Wednesday 20th February, couldn’t come any sooner.  Console fatigue, effects of which have been seen in the last 18 months due to the rise of Steam and iOS, has truly set in.  The gaming community – developers, publishers and gamers alike – have been crying out for something new and any little nugget of news or whisper of a rumour has spread across the internet like wild-fire.  Finally, things are about to change.

I’m not going to speculate here on what we’ll see from Sony on the 20th – a Japanese release date and some pre-rendered “target” footage would be safe bets – but what it will do is open the floodgates.  All those secret games publishers have been dying to talk about?  Expect a whole raft of them to be announced over the next month for PC and PS4.  Then it’s Microsoft’s turn.

Microsoft are playing the waiting game, it seems.  According to most industry chatter, they are a little further down the line with development of the Next Xbox and most anticipate a US and European launch at the end of 2013 (Sony will be this year in Japan, at least).  Yet Sony are going to reveal first.  Is this a smart move from Microsoft?  In a way, yes.  They can assess what Sony reveal and what they reveal with and then attempt to blow them out of the water.  Make no mistake, Microsoft WILL reveal the Next Xbox soon.  On the other side, going second means they have to deal with a lot of negative press – something that is happening right now.  It is no coincidence that, in the lead up to the PS4 reveal, there are stories in the press about the Next Xbox locking out pre-owned games and the like.  It’s misinformation to a degree, designed to give the PS4 a lift and its the price you have to pay by being second.

Giant Enemy Pre-owned?

Do I think Microsoft HAVE thought about locking out pre-owned? Yes and I reckon Sony have too.  They wont do it yet though.  What you will see is a wholesale adoption of the online pass model for new games by both companies and all major publishers.  In a couple of years time, both companies will release ‘Slim-line’ versions of their consoles with no disc-drive, using digital distribution only.  In 2013, the world isn’t quite ready for that yet.

What it is ready for though, is a fresh start and a new generation – possibly the last generation as we know them.  I, for one, couldn’t be more excited.  Roll on the 20th.

8 comments on “State of Play: PS4 and the Next Xbox

  1. On balance, who goes first probably won’t matter that much. The Xbox 360’s 12 month head-start on the PS3 didn’t seem make a huge difference to the relative successes of those platforms, in so far as there is no clear “winner” between them.

    It’s very likely that Microsoft have the next Xbox’s hardware specs already tied down. In fact, even more than that, parts are probably already being manufactured and stockpiled as we speak. Their ability to react to whatever Sony announce may be limited to software tweaks, if anything.

    Still, interesting times. I can hardly wait.

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    • I don’t think launching first makes that much of a difference long-term but revealing first does in terms of favourable press etc. Sony are doing a marvelous job right now of garnering positive stories about them and you’d have to be naive to think they’ve not got their fingers in a few of the negative ones about Microsoft!

      In terms of reaction to what Sony reveal I mean more things like strategy, pricing and what games to show off than actual hardware specifics. Like you said, they’re already pretty much done you’d imagine. Firmware is a different matter though…

      The pebbles will turn into an avalanche next week anyway! – Dave

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  2. I just want great experiences. I’ m gamer, so I like games. A good ones. Alan Wake, Heavy Rain, Uncharted titles… I want excitement, I want quality time spent with my games! And one thing is certain PLAYSTATION will something to show us in couple of days!

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