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Sony and Microsoft spar over the idea of console generations

Sony and Microsoft spar over the idea of console generations

The console wars are starting to heat up. Along with announcing a digital showcase event for their upcoming console (which has since been delayed), Sony outlined their stance on exclusive games for the PlayStation 5 in an interview GameIndustry.biz held with Jim Ryan, CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment.

“We believe that when you go to all the trouble of creating a next-gen console, that it should include features and benefits that the previous generation does not include. And that, in our view, people should make games that can make the most of those features. We do believe in generations, and whether it’s the DualSense controller, whether it’s the 3D audio, whether it’s the multiple ways that the SSD can be used… we are thinking that it is time to give the PlayStation community something new, something different, that can really only be enjoyed on PS5,” Ryan explained.

This, of course, wouldn’t be a big deal if Microsoft hadn’t previously detailed how they would be handling first-party games for their next-generation console, the Xbox Series X. History tells us that if consumers want to play next-generation games, they have to buy next-generation hardware. With the upcoming generation though, Microsoft aims to shift the paradigm, as they’ve gone on record saying that the Series X will not feature any exclusive games for its first couple of years.

This approach left many to wonder whether or not new games will feel “next-gen,” since they’ll be required to run on both generations of Xbox hardware. This is no doubt a downside of giving consumers more agency, and perhaps only time will be able to tell how this dichotomy plays out.

Moreover, in response to Sony’s recent remarks, GM of Xbox Games Marketing, Aaron Greenberg clapped back and explained the advantage of giving consumers more choice.

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“Generations of games that play on latest HW taking advantage of next-gen innovation offering more choice, value & variety than any console launch ever. All our Studios titles launch into Game Pass & you get those next-gen game upgrades for free,” Greenberg tweeted.

This difference in philosophy will be interesting to watch as time moves on. Sony is sticking to the more traditional approach of hardware generations, leaving the previous generation behind and thus incentivizing consumers to adopt new hardware if they want to experience the latest and greatest of what they have to offer.

At the other end of the spectrum, Microsoft has chosen to continue down the services-oriented trail that they started to blaze with the introduction of Xbox Game Pass back in 2017. This, coupled with the ability to play all first-party Xbox games on the PC leave little reason for consumers to go all-in on the Series X. It’s obvious that Microsoft is banking heavily on this new business model after losing the hardware sales battle to Sony this generation, and so far it seems to be working out for them.

Both consoles are expected to launch this holiday.

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