Round one of the next-gen console war is in the bags. Both Sony and Microsoft have flexed their muscle and given the world a peek at their new consoles: the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, respectively. Microsoft obviously gave a bit of a larger peek, actually showing their system. Then again, Sony showed more of their games. The important thing is both platform holders showed the direction they are moving. Microsoft is keen on offering an all-in-one entertainment hub, while Sony has a clear emphasis on games. The question is which will prove a more successful future?
There's still a lot more to be seen and with E3 right around the corner, the next-gen war is only heating up. But for now, who took round one? Sony with the PS4 or Microsoft with the Xbox One?
Lance Liebl Follow on Twitter
For me, the PlayStation 4 is winning so far. As an early adopter of the Xbox 360, I've stuck by Microsoft through two red ring of death occurrences, but their vision for the future of console gaming doesn't fulfill my wants and needs.
I'm not a fan of the Kinect. It has a place with certain games – mostly with children's games and educational TV experiences, like with Kinect Sesame Street TV – but I don't want it to be an integral part of my gaming experience. The Xbox One won't work without a Kinect. F*ck that noise. Maybe it's me refusing to adapt to Microsoft's for how you should navigate, but I'll choose a controller over voice commands and gestures any day of the week.
Also, I haven't had a cable subscription for a year. I use an indoor antenna to get CBS, FOX, NBC and ABC, and then use Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime for all my other needs. For me, switching input isn't a big deal. And with my Smart TV, I don't need what the Xbox One offers. Throw in the fact that they're charging to play used games, that they're not the most friendly company to work with for indie devs, and that it's not backwards compatible, and Sony is the easy choice to go with.
It just seems like Sony understands what gamers want. The PS4 will be a gamer's console, friendly to developers and consumers alike. Microsoft could still change my mind at E3, but right now, Sony is winning.
Verdict: PS4 because it's a "gamer's console."
Matt Liebl Follow on Twitter
It's not that I don't think the Xbox One won't play video games. It just doesn't seem like that's where Microsoft's focus is. They want the all-in-one entertainment hub for your living room, and that's fine, but it's personally not something that I'm interested in. I don't need to instantaneously switch between TV and gaming; I'm quite content waiting the second or two it takes with the regular remote. I don't want to control things with the Kinect; I don't need Skype; I don't really need anything Microsoft offered me with the Xbox One. I also wonder how many of the Xbox One's features will be gated behind some sort of Microsoft pay-to-unlock wall.
An easier console to develop for, support for indie developers, and no draconian hold over the used game market all point to a much more gamer-friendly console in the PS4. What I need are quality games and that seems to be what Sony has in mind with their next-gen system. Granted this could change at E3, as Microsoft has promised to show off some of the 15 exclusive Xbox One launch titles, but for now Sony has my attention. Although they better bring a more impressive lineup to E3 because I was not in awe at the games they announced during the PS4 event back in February.
Verdict: Sony and the PS4, but I'm not totally sold on it yet.
Andrew Clouther Follow on Twitter
After watching the Sony and Microsoft conferences, it becomes obvious to me that the winner is the PC. While they boast that their hardware will be more powerful than current PCs, even if that is true, I have trouble believing it will be the case for more than a year. Save the $400+ these next-gen consoles will cost you and buy/upgrade your computer. Last time I checked, my PC is backwards compatible, has the best exclusive games, and has been able to Skype and watch a movie at the same time for years.
What consoles used to have over the PC is the ability to trade and sell games. Remove this feature and suddenly the consoles lose any sort of edge they ever had. If anything, these conferences proved to me that PC gaming is the future. If you're set on your gaming machine being an entertainment center hybrid, guess what you can get – a PC. On top of all that, PC games are cheaper, are constantly on sale, and already have an amazing cloud system. Pick up a USB console controller and you’re good.
Verdict: PC because PC rulez!
Tatiana Morris Follow on Twitter
So far, the winner of the great Console Wars of 2013 is pretty clear. If we were to take a look at the first battle, the Battle of Reveals, you can clearly see Sony take the lead.
Both Sony and Microsoft showed off tech and games. While the PlayStation 4 reveal was centered around showing off the console's capabilities and how awesome gaming is going to be on it, the Xbox One reveal was focused more on entertainment features and how the Xbox One looks. While it's great that I saw the Xbox One, I'm a gamer and I'm more concerned about gaming. Of course, Microsoft said that the reveal was simply to show us the technology and Xbox One itself and that we should expect games at E3…but what exactly was Sony showing off? Their tech and games. What will Sony be showing off at E3? Games, highlighting tech AND A CONSOLE.
You would think that by showing off their console at the reveal Microsoft had won some points, but in reality they were just flashing their guns The final battle is yet to be fought…but Sony has already taken the lead in the Console Wars of 2013.
Verdict: Sony and the PS4.
Let’s just get this out of the way: the bulk of the next-gen console war will be won on games, which means all juries are largely out until E3.
We can take some hints from the features mentioned in each reveal — mainly, that Xbox One is going to be the hub for sports-related entertainment, and PS4 is going to do its best to support indie development and semi-social-share play. If each console runs hard with those themes, each will find its audience. So no clear winner there, although I can imagine that bedding with indie developers may be a better strategy in the long haul, and Xbox One’s efforts to subsume cable television may be more smoke and mirrors than a feasible reality.
So knowing that the brunt of the war is withheld for E3, I’m going to gauge the reveals not on their offerings-so-far, but on the sentiment that’s followed…and if you look at it from that angle, it’s pretty simple. Sony showed little, but drummed up enough interest in February that we’re still speculating after weeks of radio silence. Microsoft showed a lot, but their reveal drew an enormous amount of derision and backlash. While Sony have all the room in the world to embellish on their February reveal, Microsoft seem to have dug a bit of a marketing hole that they now have to climb out of. In other words, there were no clear winners in round one, but Microsoft have handicapped themselves going into round two.
Verdict: No winners yet.
Mike Splechta Follow on Twitter
If we're purely going by the very first reveal, then my vote has to be for Sony. Their strategy to keep the hardcore gamer hooked and interested through the entirety of the presentation was a very smart move. Not to mention we got a glimpse of some big games coming to the system like Killzone Shadow Fall and inFamous Second Son. It was odd that they opted to not show the system, but Microsoft has shown us that revealing a system will still leave you open to ridicule.
I'll play a bit of devil's advocate here and say that Microsoft was smart to get the entertainment features out of the way early. Hopefully their focus during E3 will be on nothing but games. Sure, this week's Xbox One reveal didn't do us gamers any justice, but I have no doubt that everyone would complain if Microsoft decided to split their E3 presser into one part entertainment features and one part games.
It's obvious that Sony made a console for gamers, rather than an all-in-one platform for music, movies and games like the Xbox One Sony's decision might have been a smarter move, although it will all come down to the exclusives that each console can deliver.
Verdict: Sony and the PS4, but it will come down to the exclusives.
Who won the first round of reveals: Sony or Microsoft? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter: @GameZoneOnline.