For anyone who knows a little something about console gaming, you’ll know that it’s been a tough couple of years for Microsoft. Despite the undoubtedly huge sales of the Xbox One, over 11 million now, and last years exclusives (Call of Duty, Assassins Creed and Halo being their obvious pitchers) they’re still falling drastically behind Sony – things are set to only get worse from here.
If you’ve seen the line up for this years games, or you’re an avid Xbox supporter, you’re probably getting ready to write me a distasteful comment below, telling me how wrong I am for saying that to be honest… The console war has had many battles and, this time, I don’t think Xbox can pull it back.
At first glance, you’d be correct to call me out on it. Xbox is going the extra mile to advertise Halo 5, which would be their equivalent of the ‘big guns’, as well as having Forza 6 and a timed-exclusive on Tomb Raider all due to release later this year. Take a look at Sony and they don’t have anything to match, with the PlayStation’s line up looking surprisingly dry, with E3 hovering on the horizon. This is exactly what Microsoft need, to get consoles out with game exclusives; however, it’s what has seemingly slipped away from Microsoft that’s going to be the proverbial Judas, Lt. Sheppard and Al Mualim, to their profits.
– Judas was a wild card, but the other two mean serious business –
As far as the quality of the games, Microsoft has the upper hand. Where they’re going to lose out is marketing partnerships. What does that mean? Take a look at this:
Notice anything strange?
The PS4 edition is at the front for Assassins Creed: Syndicate. Although a seemingly insignificant gesture, Xbox took center stage on last years campaign. So within the year, Microsoft have lost the partnership deal with Assassins Creed. They’ve either been brought out by Sony, or have made the sacrifice to continue pushing Halo 5, which comes out in the same week as Syndicate. Either way, that’s a one up for Sony on the big gaming franchises.
Rumors regarding Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 and PlayStation having the rights to it having been circling for months now; with a leaked image of Mountain Dew’s latest promotion for Black Ops, and their website claiming to be ‘teaming up’ with PlayStation, it’s not crazy to speculate that Sony have snatched up the deal. There’s really nothing weirder than associating the FPS heavyweight Call of Duty with anything other than Xbox – it’s just more predominantly thought of alongside Xbox, what with all the streams and one month exclusives for the DLC. Xbox gamers are going to be livid when they’re on the receiving end of the one month wait, and Sony will be snatching up the prize.
Even Star Wars has received the Sony magic touch, with the trailer for Battlefront flashing the PlayStation logo before the gameplay even starts. This is huge for the company, as with both the Star Wars film and game coming out this year, there’s going to be publicity and an opening to the entirety of the Disney audience. Well played Sony, well played.
While E3 is still looking optimistic for Microsoft, Phil Spencer knows when they’re beat; he’s not waiting for us to call them on it.
‘I think it might be our best first-party content year ever.’
No doubt as to the reason why Xbox are focusing on their first party content, like Halo, they’ve lost out on all their third party deals. We’ve got COD, Assassins Creed and Star Wars so far; add Metal Gear Solid V and Batman: Arkham Knight to the Sony partnerships list and what do you get? 5 AAA titles, all stacked with PlayStation 4 rather than Xbox One.
Of course most people know that these games will be available (eventually) on both consoles, and there’s personal preference to controllers and layout etc, but you’ve got to remember that marketing and advertisement isn’t supposed to entice people who know what they want from a console and what the specs mean into buying one. To the average guy or girl on the street, PlayStation is at the front on the advert, or PlayStation has an exclusive on that game or Black Ops has been advertised a lot for PlayStation, so they go out and get a PlayStation. Companies pay a tonne for advertisement for a reason, and the thing is, it works. The whole point is to draw new customers in, not so much to try to get people who already have a console to buy a new one.
While I’m excited to see what both Sony and Microsoft have to show case for the rest of the year at E3, and had been talking just recently about the full potential both consoles have to offer, Microsoft have to know they’re down and almost out with Xbox when it comes to games this year.