Tuesday, 11 June 2013 10:50

Sony Gives Microsoft a Kick to the Groin With the Launch of the PS4

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There are few times in the consumer electronics world when one company can put a hurting on another in a truly significant way. Most of the time it is merely a matter of PR and marketing efforts to sway an increasingly jaded market. However, in the “next generation” console market there has been just such an event; Sony has just give Microsoft a rather solid kick to the groin. After watching Microsoft lock everyone into an always online connection, restricting used games and requiring the Kinect to use the new Xbox, Sony catered to the annoyed masses and offered them a better deal.

Although Sony does not exactly have the best image with gamers (after a number of fiascos) they are certainly trying to create a new image with the launch of the PlayStation 4. This new console is also moving to x86 hardware from AMD and has a radically redesigned look (because it is a PC at its core), but instead of trying to lock users into an ecosystem Sony went the other way round and made sure they were very clear on why they did this. They even put together a 22 second video which is all about game sharing, it is a brilliant move on their part and makes Microsoft look a little foolish.


However, the announcement about the easy use and transfer of disc based games was only one part of Sony’s play against the Xbox One. On top of this rather simple and easy to accomplish feature Sony was also clear that you do not need to be connected to the internet to play your disc based games. Obviously online games will still need to be downloaded to be played, but even those can be played in an offline mode without the need to reconnect every 24 hours on your own console. To continue their catering to the gaming crowd Sony then announced a laundry list of titles that was impressive and at the very least matched the titles that Microsoft showed off. This was followed by a commitment to independent developers inclosing a list of a few titles form smaller, but still exceptional studios.

Sony’s whole goal in their presentation was to point out that their console was much friendlier than what Microsoft was offering. This included making sure everyone knew that by owning a PlayStation 4 they would not be under the same DRM restrictions that Microsoft is trying to push on everyone in their effort to become a services company. Sony is even going to allow tools for developers to self-publish their games, which is in stark contrast to the controlled nature of the Xbox One and its store. This new attack comes at a time when Microsoft is already under pressure from consumer perception of Windows 8, Windows RT and the likelihood that they (Microsoft) are allowing the NSA, FBI and others to access user data without restriction or review. The later kills the one future highlight for the Xbox One as gamers are not going to want to put their trust in Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing if they are afraid their usage and information will be shared to the US government (gamers are picky about that sort of thing).

As a final insult Sony priced their PlayStation 4 $100 cheaper than the Xbox One so you are getting a less expensive console with none of the restrictions of the Xbox One, a good list of games and the potential to see new independent games show up on the PSN… What is not to like about that?

Microsoft’s decision to push people to the cloud and force unpopular changes to their OS have led them down a grim road. You can see this in the way that sales for Window 8 and RT devices are still floundering (although they just passed up Vista). It was also present in the backlash from the Xbox One launch. Steve Ballmer has decided to try and make Microsoft into a copy of Apple, but he cannot see that by doing this he is alienating the markets that Microsoft usually thrives in. Microsoft might also want to look at where Apple is now before they head too much farther down the road they are on. Restricting choices and locking people into a set eco system does not work all that well, people will eventually begin to resent it and look for options. Sony is presenting that option to console gamers now and they are doing the same thing to Microsoft that Microsoft did to Apple not all that long ago. Funny how things work out sometimes…

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Read 2076 times Last modified on Tuesday, 11 June 2013 10:58

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