An Evolved Version of Console Wars

Photo+Courtesy+of+Sony

Photo Courtesy of Sony

Gabriel Cabello Torres, Technology Editor

If you grew up playing video games then you are familiar with how big of a deal the Xbox vs Playstation argument was back then. I, at least, remember sitting at the cafeteria with other friends having a seemingly endless back and forth argument about which one was better. Over time, these conversations became trivial and the last big “console war” I can recall having a major presence was about the Xbox One and Playstation 4 release. After it launched, the craze started to die off. Even when the new consoles were released, the performance of both were practically at a stalemate. However, recent news might spark up a new and fresh gaming rivalry between Sony and Microsoft.

If one console ever had a leg up over the other, it was the Playstation. Why? Playstation has enjoyed a pristine array of exclusives. However, one of the biggest advantages Sony has had over Xbox is the pristine collection of exclusives. Pristine is not an over exaggeration either. Sony fans have enjoyed the privilege of being able to access masterfully created games like “God of War”, “Uncharted”, and “The Last of Us”. Even when a game like “The Last of Us Part 2” received backlash for its story still had phenomenal game mechanics. Admittedly, as an Xbox fan, I’ve always been jealous of Sony’s polished exclusives. That’s not to say that Xbox doesn’t have any good exclusives either. The “Halo” series has recently given fans a new hope with its most recent installment. “Forza Horizon 5” released just shy of two months ago and already has surpassed the ten million players mark. Xbox exclusives have strong footing but Sony always had the upper hand. Despite all this, the whole “Xbox vs Playstation” conversation never really amounted to the presence it used to have in the 2010s. That was until now.

Image courtesy of Microsoft

Microsoft has been acquisitioning new gaming companies. That’s what made such a huge selection on Game Pass possible in the first place. Since hearing the big news about Microsoft buying Activision Blizzard, I’ve been keeping up to date with any exciting news that might come up. More than anything else, waiting for a solid response from Sony, whether directly or indirectly. To my surprise, Sony initiated a power play move and bought Bungie, the beloved studio that brought Halo to life. A response was bound to happen but there’s more to this acquisition than a simple game studio purchase. Sony did not only buy Bungie but also paid for the creators of Destiny to not leave the studio. It makes sense. Why would you purchase a studio when the makers of a thriving game are going to leave soon? From another angle, one can’t help but wonder if Sony is planning to have Bungie work on a huge release. It’s all exciting and a gaming “arms race” seems likely to come to fruition.

The console wars are evolving. It’s not so much about attracting consumers with stronger specifications, new and improved controllers, or features like before. Right now, at least, the focus has shifted to content and just how much of it each company is offering. When Zenimax Studios was acquired from Microsoft, studios like Bethesda and id Software fell to Microsoft’s ownership by default. This granted access to games like “Elder Scrolls” and “Doom”, both of which have had a mainstay in the gaming community as a whole because of their monumental influence. What came as a surprise to me was how Xbox used this opportunity to not only cater to Game Pass for console users, but also PC users. Through Game Pass, PC users can gain access to non-console games like a remastered version of the cult-classic “Grim Fandango”. Microsoft is taking significant steps in attracting PC users to its game services. Sony currently doesn’t have a service exactly like Game Pass, one that offers cloud streaming and a wide array of games as a whole. However, Project Spartacus is a service that Sony plans to release that is meant to do exactly that. Supposedly, it’s planned to be released this year. All these moving parts don’t look coincidental, Sony might be bringing a formidable opponent to Microsoft’s services in the near future. A longtime rivalry is starting to grow into a bigger fire, perhaps even bigger than the ones in 2010. Only time will tell!

All the news is exciting. New developments have been sparking up everywhere and any new acquisitions could raise the stakes. It’s only a matter of time until Sony makes a big pushback to Microsoft’s steady rise to consumer attraction. It would be in PC players’ interest to pay attention to this matter as well. While Steam is still the main choice in using a gaming platform on PC, it seems apparent that both gaming companies are ready to make an attempt at catering to PC users. Regardless, if that will be the case or not, it really begs the question as to how this competition will culminate. New developments are the norm in the gaming community but game changing ones don’t happen everyday. Especially those that are easily accessible to the gaming community. Of course, all these expectations hinge on one particular group of people: the consumers. The gaming industry has always and will always reside on this phrase: “Let the people decide!”