PlayStation 4 faces same damning challenges as Xbox One

by Gaetano 'Xbot' Prestia 14 Comments 7 Likes 1,803 Views 24/05/2013 Back to PS4 articles PlayStation 4

The news out of Xbox HQ in Seattle is that games are out and the all-in-one media offering is in.

It doesn’t take an Einstein to realise that Microsoft has different intentions to Sony with its next generation console -- if you can even call it a “console” in its traditional definition.

The Xbox One reveal earlier this week played out more like a briefing comparative to a Samsung or Apple presentation, and it sent gamers around the globe into hysterics about a lack of genuine gaming capabilities.

The games industry is struggling: budgets are rising, quality control is fractured and markets far too broad to hone in on. The opposing trajectories of Sony and Microsoft is particularly evident of the challenges both companies face moving forward.

Yet Microsoft’s TV-heavy Xbox One reveal hasn’t necessarily handed Sony this generation, as so many gamers are prematurely predicting.

Predicting as such suggests Microsoft is competing for gaming domination and the same market it targeted with the Xbox and the early days of the Xbox 360, which it isn’t.

Xbox One’s appeal is clearly in its entertainment offerings: step out of the shoes of a gamer for a second and look at it as intended. That’s a machine marketed towards anyone with a living room and television -- not just gamers.

That’s a massive market, perhaps too broad for Microsoft to market the console effectively

Nintendo itself has struggled to market Wii U, as the console’s primary market -- whatever that is -- is an unusual combination of casual non-gamer and the Nintendo fan that lines up for the latest Monster Hunter.

Nintendo’s first mistake was in its overuse of the term “core”, which is just as ambiguous as “hardcore”: you don’t market a product to such an erratic demographic.

Microsoft faces a similar hurdle: we know the games will come -- third-party and first-party -- but Xbox One is a media device first, games second, so its goal is to have everyone sitting around the television speaking on Skype to a relative on the other side of the world … while also being interested in the big-budget games Microsoft hopes to attract.

Considering Sony’s February reveal of the PlayStation 4, it appears that the roles are reversed: Sony is now essentially competing with itself -- or maybe Nintendo -- while Microsoft is tackling Samsung and Apple.

Sony’s challenge is marketing a product during a time of increasing game budgets to a gaming demographic only interested in games: generating revenue from that market would easily be trumped by an entertainment-heavy focus with the Xbox One, which would first and foremost generate revenue from secondary cable services and third-party media apps like Netflix.

It’s clear that both companies face an uphill battle, although they aren’t quite on the same hillside anymore.

The Xbox One will be more expensive than the PlayStation 4, but the latter will also be generating less revenue because of a lack of secondary hardware features.

Nintendo, clearly, is losing out on a platform that does little else aside from play games. These days you need to offer something on the side to counter the growing costs to create, market and publish blockbuster software: in between big game releases, Nintendo has nothing to rely on to generate revenue from Wii U owners, aside from its digital game offerings. Sony faces a similar hurdle, although it will still have media services available for PS4 owners.

On the flip side, Microsoft is hoping anyone interested in the Xbox One for its television capabilities would be interested -- eventually -- in its gaming capabilities, which is a risky manoeuvre, but probably safer than Sony’s route.

At the very least it’s got North American consumers recognising the Xbox brand, so whether it’s a gamer or a non-gamer buying the platform, the entertainment services are still going to be the primary focus on the hardware’s functionality.

Both the PS4 and Xbox One are burdened with reinvigorating an industry fractured by crumbling quality control, while also managing markets that are so far removed from one another as to potentially cripple the industry further.

As Sony vies for a gaming-only market, Microsoft hopes its broader appeal will give it priority in the living room.

Neither are guaranteed success, and both face a battle to grow their respective markets over a five to ten-year period.

Which console - Xbox One or PS4 - do you feel will have a longer lifespan?

Vote for this article Log in with Facebook

PlayStation 4 faces same damning challenges as Xbox One Comments

  • Tano 328098 XP 24/05/2013
    IMO I think PS4 will have the same legs as PS3: slowly build up a base. Wii U I think similarly, but it needs a stronger library atm.

    Xbox One I think will be a lot like Wii: it will attract a casual consumers and gamers, but potentially it could die faster. I can't see it having the legs of the 360.
  • The Stig 67906 XP 24/05/2013 +3
    At this point, I'd gladly take a PS4 if all it did was play games. It's not like I can't access everything else through other ways, anyway.
  • Leave your comment Log in with Facebook
  • Skidmark 5733 XP 24/05/2013
    If i was a casual/non gamer why on earth would i need or want a $500 xbox one, just to do the things my current lounge room setup can already do for free.
    If this thing fails to attract gamers from the get go, it will ultimately flop. imo.
  • PS3sR2Dear 661 XP 24/05/2013
    Shelve both consoles, they are definitely going to Bankrupt themselves if they release now.
  • Tsunamo 74194 XP 24/05/2013 +2
    There's a difference though. The PS4 is focusing on gamers first and formost. Sony know the early adopters are gamers, multimedia features and appealing to casuals/non-gamers can come later in the systems life.

    I'm completely fine with this approach because Sony are focusing on what I feel a console should focus on first, its primary function which is playing games.
  • Makra 25400 XP 24/05/2013

    The Xbox One reveal earlier this week played out more like a briefing comparative to a Samsung or Apple presentation, and it sent gamers around the globe into hysterics about a lack of genuine gaming capabilities.


    I really don't understand this sort of sentiment. A lack of genuine gaming capabilities? How does the Xbone have a lack of genuine gaming capabilities? It's got all the capabilities that the 360 has, only they're improved. Did they really need to demonstrate that explicitly at the reveal? I assumed, like they probably did, that it wasn't necessary to be explicit about that because it's obvious. So instead they used their time to reveal media capabilities that were completely unknown or unexpected. Are people unhappy because they didn't reveal gaming-related novelties like PS4's 'share' button? Did people need to see actual in-game footage to know that it would be perfectly capable of playing advanced next-gen games? Or that you can play games online just like you can on the 360?

    Honestly, I'm at a loss about this whole backlash about the Xbone not being a gaming console. The console has perfectly genuine gaming capabilities, it just happens to also have many other capabilities, so someone, please help me understand if I'm missing something here!! X_X

    p.s. I'm no fanboy, at the moment I'm really put off by all the restrictions MS are putting on how you'll be able to use the console, so probably won't be getting one.
  • Tano 328098 XP 24/05/2013
    @Makra it's ambiguous language, my bad. I mean they didn't do a good job of explaining those capabilities. We know those games are coming but we want to know what the games look like, what's different about them?

    I agree with you for the most part. I think a lot of the criticism is a storm in a teacup. Especially the privacy concerns. Especially ironic most people are posting their privacy concerns from open social platforms where anyone at any point can grab their personal information.
  • Axe99 208 XP 24/05/2013 +1
    Can't agree with this analysis - the challenges faced by the PS4 are chalk and cheese with those faced by the XB1. The PS4 faces the challenge of rising game costs and the continued relevance of game consoles, but neither of those factors are likely to prove that significant (ease of development of PS4 vs PS3, and there's not as large a change in philosophy or tech this time around, it's more of an iterative shift). The XB1, on the other hand, faces the challenge of having a PR team that seems driven to alienate its core customers, and hardware that's a jack-of-all trades, master of none (eg, a GPU that's ballpark 33% weaker than the PS4 suggests that most of the shiny games presented at the XB1 conference will play better on their competitor's hardware - odd move MS).

    Yes, the PS4 will still face challenges - has the generation gone on so long that a large proportion of console gamers have moved to PC and won't come back, and are kids these days interested in the depth of console gaming, being the big ones, but I'd wager the answer to the first is no, and the second is yes. The Xbox One, on the other hand, is a far less known quantity - will the new, TV-centric family audience that snapped up the Kinect bite twice with the XB1? Is it large enough to offset the core gamers that already know the XB1's hardware is a compromise not aimed at them, but rather trying to do 'just enough' to appease the mass market?
  • Makra 25400 XP 24/05/2013
    I don't think ambiguous language is the problem though, I still don't get what everyone expected? We know the games will look better, and in time we'll get to see that. What capabilities do people need to know about other than the fact that the hardware and OS are greatly improved? We got info about: Bluray drive, RAM, CPU, Kinect, Dashboard and probably others I can't think of.

    I would've thought that just the fact that: Yes, it does play next-gen games (purchasable on disc and digital format); and, yes those games look a lot better, along with a brief look at the hardware would've been all people needed to hear to be happy about the gaming aspects. Did everyone really expect a full E3 style showcase of the games? That's what E3 is for! If MS fails to live up to expectations at that event, then any criticism is fair enough after that. But why make such a fuss about lack of gaming info when we've only JUST began to get any real info about the console??
  • Tano 328098 XP 27/05/2013

    @Makra said: I don't think ambiguous language is the problem though, I still don't get what everyone expected? We know the games will look better, and in time we'll get to see that. What capabilities do people need to know about other than the fact that the hardware and OS are greatly improved? We got info about: Bluray drive, RAM, CPU, Kinect, Dashboard and probably others I can't think of.
    I would've thought that just the fact that: Yes, it does play next-gen games (purchasable on disc and digital format); and, yes those games look a lot better, along with a brief look at the hardware would've been all people needed to hear to be happy about the gaming aspects. Did everyone really expect a full E3 style showcase of the games? That's what E3 is for! If MS fails to live up to expectations at that event, then any criticism is fair enough after that. But why make such a fuss about lack of gaming info when we've only JUST began to get any real info about the console??



    I do agree with you...but I don't think it changes anything, as far as where the industry is, what Microsoft (and Sony) hope to achieve. The privacy concerns, US-centric nature of the conference of course is all a storm in a teacup kind of response from gamers. They're entitled individuals. But this was "the future of Xbox". The games are nothing in comparison to what Micreosoft hopes to reap from the entertainment offerings. I don't see that as an issue personally but surely you can see why some people get upset.
  • James908 14 XP 27/05/2013
    Personally I think people are less likely to go for the XBOX 1 just for tv and apps, since you can do that with laptops and iPads and stuff, it just seems a tad silly. I want a console to play games the rest of my family isn't likely to get a console to use the internet
  • Milky 52296 XP 27/05/2013

    James908 said: Personally I think people are less likely to go for the XBOX 1 just for tv and apps, since you can do that with laptops and iPads and stuff, it just seems a tad silly. I want a console to play games the rest of my family isn't likely to get a console to use the internet

    "laptops and iPads and stuff"... exactly, tons of different devices do tons of different things, whereas the Xbox One will do everything. For Australia it is a tad silly because we won't be able to use all its power... streaming, cable networks, most of the tv functions won't work for us. But for America, who account for 33% of Xbox sales (and sell 100% more than Sony), this is the perfect device for them.
  • Tj866 448 XP 27/05/2013

    @Milky said:

    James908 said: But for America, who account for 33% of Xbox sales (and sell 100% more than Sony), this is the perfect device for them.


    yeah but how many of those console purchases where second or third even 4th purchase because of red ring of death
Leave your comment Log in with Facebook