Last generation it was clear after both Microsoft and Sony revealed their consoles who would be on top. All Sony had to do last generation was announce to the world that they were not going to do anything that the Xbox One was going do and deliver a decent set of games on launch. This time around both platforms will launch on equal footing and while we still don’t know what Microsoft has in terms of first party titles, some fans around social media are hyped with anticipation. Is what Sony showed off today enough to ensure their leadership position?
How Sony won last time around.
Lets look at their presentation itself. Today Sony offered a dive into a plethora of games all in a very precise showcase. Unlike most other modern presentations(cough Xbox), Sony let their games do the talking. No awkward anecdotes, no inside jokes amongst hosts, just flat out gameplay with tiny snippets of details being supplemented. Nintendo perfected this type of presentation with their Direct showcases. Sony’s version of a Direct presentation offered a premium Playstation styled information drop. It was digestible and just flat out perfect. That being said, the contents within the presentation had some similar issues that the PS4 presentation had before.
Perfectly presented, no unnecessary fluff.
While the PlayStation 5 presentation was expertly delivered, the games themselves weren’t up to par. It’s strange to see this miss step happen multiple times to both Sony and Microsoft. When the PS4 and the Xbox One X were first revealed they both highlighted indie games for the majority of the showcase. Sure for the PS4 it was excusable since they did everything else right with the rejection of the Xbox One principles but the Xbox One X which was touted as a true 4K device was showing off small experimental games at 4K.
This truly shouts next generation leap in technology.
If you don’t see the issue let me elaborate, the main selling point of these new consoles is their graphics and SSD. Everyone wanting to buy these consoles wants to see what makes your consoles special, Sony with their PS5 and Microsoft with their Series X should be aiming to share with their consumers content that can only be attainable with their hardware. Unfortunately it seems as though both companies just used up all their resources on games for the last generation. Lets be clear, there isn’t a problem with indie games but when you’re trying to promote a console that can produce insane graphics and frame rates, then perhaps it’s best not to highlight games that aren’t up to a certain technical standard. With the exception of Ratchet and Clank, no titles showcased the highly touted SSD that could remove loading between levels. That being said, not every game was bad.
Check out the level swapping. A real SSD tech highlight.
Every presentation has its games and Sony showed off a variety of neat looking titles. Games like Spiderman, Horizon Zero Dawn 2, Resident Evil 8, and a few more definitely helped alleviate the middle of the conference. Spiderman alone will do numbers even if it does turn out to be an expanded DLC for the first Spiderman game from the PS4.
Even if it’s just expanded DLC, can Microsoft even match Spiderman hype?
All in all, what it will come down to is whether or not Microsoft messes up. The self inflicted damage Microsoft did to the Xbox brand last generation had the company in flames. The Xbox team needed to prove itself to gamers during the lifespan of the Xbox One. Truth be told, Microsoft still needs to prove itself and if they’re presentation isn’t at the very least on par to what Sony showed off today then the Xbox team should prepare to continue being second place.
Xbox gamers have just been heartbroken one too many times.
What can Microsoft do to stand a fighting chance? Well in all honesty they need years worth of above average conferences. As said before Microsoft still needs to prove itself to gamers. Sure it bought all of these studios but if they will all produce games like Bleeding Edge that will only be complete years after being placed on Game Pass then it’s a lost cause for them. Especially since MS has a history of abandoning titles that don’t deliver Halo like numbers, see games like D3, Recore, and Killer Instinct. If Microsoft’s saving grace is Halo, then second place is assured for them. The franchise just doesn’t have the fire power it once had and it’s not because the franchise is bad, it’s just that we have all played Halo and Gears too many times before.
If there isn’t a new KI is Microsoft even listening to its fans?
Sony already had the perfect dream conferences, they showed off Final Fantasy 7 Remake, Shenmue 3, Spiderman PS4, God of War, Shadow of the Colossus, The Last Guardian and more during their conferences. Those conferences gave Sony fans the confidence that Sony will never let them down. Microsoft has yet to have a conference where they have multiple dream games showcased. Where is Banjo Kazooie, Killer Instinct, Scalebound, Phantom Dust, new IP, Xbox’s Marvel game? This generation may have been a climb for MS to start off slightly below where they were during the 360 era in terms of support, but unless they have the dream conference I don’t think we will see Microsoft truly overtake Sony especially outside of the United States.