With the announcement today that the Xbox One no longer requires the Kinect to function the Xbox One and PS4 are now closer in comparison than ever before. The only non-hardware related variance that remains is the price point for the PS4 being $100 cheaper. I don’t believe it will be long before we hear an announcement that a Kinect free Xbox One will be available and I would be willing to venture the price point will be $399. In the two short months since E3 Microsoft has reversed all their unpopular policies and brought the fight back to where it should have been the entire time, the hardware and software.
Whether you are an Xbox One fan or PS4 fan there is one thing that was certain from this year’s E3, Sony went after Microsoft and Microsoft wasn’t ready. In a lot of people’s opinions Microsoft got their figurative butt’s handed to them. Sony had planned out what they wanted to do and how they wanted to attack; they had done their research and listened to the community. The community didn’t want always online or a restriction on used games, and the community was loud from the beginning. Microsoft chose not to listen and planned to move forward with what they thought was the right policies and ideas.
Unfortunately for Microsoft they gambled and lost, but as the famous football coach for the Green Bay Packers Vince Lombardi said “It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get back up”, and Microsoft is getting back up. Instead of standing strong on their policies and pounding their chests Microsoft took quick action. After seeing Sony and the PS4 surge to almost godly status with gamers because of their policies and clever marketing, Microsoft reversed all their unpopular policies.
I’ll be the first to admit I wasn’t a fan of Microsoft’s policies and that I pre-ordered a PS4 after E3, but I listened to a lot of viewpoints on both sides and came to accept them. I do believe the gaming world is moving towards more of the structure Microsoft was trying to achieve, but console gamers aren’t quite ready for that to happen. The mistake Microsoft made was trying to speed along this process, and when getting backlash responding with remarks such as “Deal with it” and “buy an Xbox 360”. But now the unpopular policies are gone and Microsoft stopped putting their foot in their mouth.
They stopped blaming the consumer and coming across as hard headed, and instead of starting an all-out war with Sony they looked inward. It would have been really easy for Microsoft to start a slander campaign with Sony, showing why their policies were correct and how Sony’s lack of them would hinder gaming or point out the flaws of the PS4. Microsoft instead changed what they were offering, and in turn is starting to put the pressure on Sony.
Sony may be viewed now as the underdog and opposing “the man”, but let’s not forget that last generation they were “the man”. Sony was the one putting their foot in their mouth with their now famous “[we want] for consumers to think to themselves ‘I will work more hours to buy one’. We want people to feel that they want it, irrespective of anything else.”, and finally announcing the $599 price point. How did Sony respond to the criticism? Well… they didn’t. They stood strong on their price point, and continued to display an aura of stubbornness that ultimately hurt them in the beginning years of the PS3’s life cycle.
Microsoft wasn’t willing to take the ultimate risk that Sony was. They saw where things were going, heard what the community was saying and where their wallets were going, and they reacted. It looked like Sony was going to have it easy in this generation and they were going to win not because of they had a superior console or better games, but because of their policies.
Now when we decide which console we will support decisions will be based off what actually matters, does the console have games? By removing their policies Microsoft has removed Sony’s easy button. Sony now has to show up with games and a console that compares equally to the Xbox One. That’s not to say they won’t, but prior to Microsoft’s 180 there was a multitude of gamers jumping onto Sony’s ship solely because of Xbox One’s policies but that won’t be the case anymore.
Microsoft isn’t in the clear though. They’re move came two months too late and there will be a lot of gamers who already jumped ship that won’t be willing to jump back and the aura of “the man” and stubbornness still radiates off Microsoft. But there is a quick fix to that and it’s to produce quality games that the PS4 won’t have.
That’s the beauty of Microsoft removing all their unpopular policies; we finally have a console war. A battle where the winner will be decided based on the thing that matters the most to us gamers, the games. Now the console that produces the better gaming experience will be crowned king, and it won’t be because of unpopular policies. This generation hasn’t even begun and it’s already been a blast, let’s hope that continues.