This generation of video game consoles has us in a very different place than the previous generation. In the current 8th generation of video game consoles Sony has sold over 70 million PlayStation 4 units and Nintendo made a miraculous comeback with the Nintendo Switch selling 14 million units in one year. Microsoft’s answer to the competition was the Xbox One, which sold around 30 million units as of November 2017, which isn’t bad, but compared to Sony is abysmal. What did Microsoft do to cause such a disparity?

Learning From Mistakes

As of now, most gamers are aware why the PlayStation 4 succeeded and the Xbox One didn’t. However, when the consoles debuted back in 2014 it was a remarkable turn of events. Sony beating out Microsoft unconditionally thanks to a gamer-focused system set at a reasonable price point. It was clear that Sony learned from the PlayStation 3’s lukewarm response and decided not to repeat the same mistakes. Microsoft, on the other hand, decided to shoot themselves in the foot with the Xbox One’s launch by presenting a system that many were confused with, an entertainment box with a myriad of functions that gamers either didn’t want or need. However, PlayStation 4’s success goes further back than the previous generation.

Riding high the massive success of the PlayStation 2 and the mediocre reception of the Xbox and GameCube and the failure of SEGA’s Dreamcast Sony seemed unstoppable. The PlayStation 2 had a robust selection of first and third-party games, the ability to play DVDs, completely compatible with PlayStation games, components, and memory cards, and offered free online gaming. This would also lead to Sony’s downfall as the hubris of the PlayStation 2’s 155 million sales led to the pricy reveal of the PlayStation 3 which offered backward compatibility with all previous PlayStation consoles and could play Blu-ray but cost $499.99 for the 20 GB model and $599.99 for the 60 GB model. Sony would eventually try to recover from this by releasing new versions of the console with features removed to lower the price but since Sony did a poor job marketing and advertising what consoles had what features leaving many confused about what their PS3 could or could not do.

The 7th Generation

The Xbox 360 would eventually gain an upward momentum thanks to this blunder. Sony would recover thanks to a healthy selection of first-party games like UnchartedThe Last of Us, Ratchet and Clank, inFamous, Killzone, and, my personal favorite, Resistance. However, Sony’s vanity led them astray with the assumption that people would pay anything for their system given the PS2’s success that allowed Microsoft and Nintendo to gain an advantage thanks to their more affordable consoles. You can already guess who repeated these mistakes this time around.

Sony came out swinging, offering the PlayStation 4 at an affordable $399.99 and enticing gamers with an array of future releases. Microsoft allowed their pride to take control and like Sony with the debut of the PlayStation 3 offered an expensive console but unlike the PS3 contributed a huge amount of options that the targeted audience did not want, did not need, and even went as far to ignore the predominant criticisms it faced from its community. Instead attacked their fanbase for not liking the system. As you might expect, after this vexing campaign many Xbox gamers jumped to the PlayStation 4. When it launched I remembered seeing signs at Best Buy, Target, GameStop, Toys R Us, and many other stores that sold the consoles that PlayStation 4s were sold out but Xbox Ones were available.

Nintendo’s Comeback

Sony’s upward momentum was boosted even further when Nintendo’s Wii U flopped as well. The console was a marketing disaster and although it had a diverse selection of first-party games such as Pokken Tournament and Xenoblade Chronicles X the system never gained any traction. Nintendo would eventually abandon the console altogether after the launch of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and instead focused on their attention on the Nintendo Switch. Which was in such a demand it was common to see the system sold out for months.

The biggest difference between Sony and Microsoft during the last generation and this generation is that Microsoft hasn’t followed through and delivered. Unlike Sony, who during the course of the PS3 generation regain its footing thanks to strong releases and cheaper versions of the console Microsoft has only done one of those things. Reducing the price and removing the infamous Kinect 2.0. There’s still no true system selling for the Xbox One, unlike Sony which has many and plans to continue to build on that foundation. This includes third-party games which perform better on the core PS4 than the core Xbox One.

This doesn’t mean that Xbox One has failed completely, it has many positive strides in the right direction by providing services such as backward compatibility and the incredibly popular Xbox Game Pass. However, these services mostly entice those who already own an Xbox One and doesn’t encourage anyone to purchase one. Whereas the only way to play Horizon Zero Dawn or Super Mario Odyssey is to get the respected systems there’s not much you can do with an Xbox One you can’t do with a PS4 or even a Nintendo Switch.

Why Get an Xbox One?

Even the biggest franchises on the Xbox One haven’t been performing as well as Sony. With their latest title, God of War, gaining near perfect scores across various critics and Microsoft’s latest release Sea of Thieves losing lots of its momentum after the game’s launch. It looking more realistic that Xbox One won’t be leaving this generation in the same positive light that the PlayStation 3 did.

Not all hope is lost though. As I’ve stated Microsoft can build on the success of Xbox Game Pass and backward compatibility by finally offering some exclusive releases. Microsoft has an array of IPs to choose from such as Banjo-Kazooie, Battletoads, Crimson Skies, Conker, Fable, and many more. As we’ve seen with Sony’s God of War and Shadow of the Colossus PS4 it’s possible to bring older classics to a modern audience if done right. Either through a complete reboot or a new coat of paint.

As we’ve learned from this generation, history does repeat itself and perhaps Sony may end up on the bottom again and Microsoft on top or even Nintendo. What’s clear is that if Microsoft wants to finish with a solid track record we’re going to need less Scalebound stories.

About The Author

Adam S
Sr.Staff Writer

Adam is a Senior Staff Writer for GamerAssaultWeekly with over 5 years of experience in writing and is completely obsessed with video games. He holds a BA from Brooklyn College and lives in NY.