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Reaction: Microsoft May Have Reacted, But PS4 Is in Control

Posted by Sammy Barker

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Sony has been heavily criticised for being reactionary throughout the course of this generation. The platform holder that so confidently set the tone of the gaming landscape with the PSone and the PlayStation 2 was caught off guard by the Xbox 360 and the Nintendo Wii, an oversight that prompted it to play catch-up in almost every area of its ecosystem. The much maligned PlayStation 3 was late to the market, expensive, architecturally baffling, and offered a gaming network embarrassingly inferior to Xbox Live. But that’s not the case anymore.

Microsoft may have made the right decision, but such a kneejerk reaction shows a lack of belief in the product that it devised

While the actions of Microsoft overnight may have erased one of the PlayStation 4’s selling points, the platform holder can take heart from the manner in which it forced its competitor’s hand. Consumers may have indirectly impacted the corporation’s colossal backtrack by diminishing its pre-order projections, but let’s not forget that Sony set the precedent that forced its counterpart to change course. It may have amplified its own policies to win a public relations war that’s evaporated overnight, but it showed a genuine confidence in its own product and services that we haven’t seen for some time.

Microsoft, on the other hand, looks weak. It may have ultimately made the right decision to remove its abhorrent digital rights management policies, but such a kneejerk reaction shows a distinct lack of belief in the original product that it spent years labouring behind closed doors to devise. “We’re confident that gamers are going to love our vision of the future, and what we’re going to offer for gaming,” said spokesperson Larry Hryb in an interview with Reddit Games less than five days ago. And yet here we are.

Such dramatic fumbling shows that the Xbox One is out of touch – and it’s not a criticism that’s emerged purely over the past few days. Following the platform’s initial unveiling, many questioned the console’s bizarre emphasis on traditional television consumption in an age where we’re gradually transitioning to on-demand. Sony may be comparatively playing it safe by solely appealing to the core gamer, but at least it’s giving the impression that it believes in its product. Microsoft thought that it was riding into a battle with the likes of Apple and Google at its late May unveiling – and yet it’s been pulled into a clash with its arch-nemesis in the gaming space.

Sony may have lost the opportunity to cheerlead at its competitor’s expense, but it still has a system that it clearly believes in

And that the company’s now been forced to backtrack on a programme that it clearly deemed both suitable and acceptable for consumer consumption shows that Sony shouldn't be too worried at this point in time. These are the kind of blunders that the Japanese giant coveted when it deemed rumble technology a last generation requirement. The difference is, this time they're amplified.

And for that reason, we hope that the mood today was not too subdued in Sony’s regional offices across the globe. What will Microsoft’s massive Xbox One-Eighty mean for the PS4? Very little, we suspect. The company already embarked upon the right path, and while it may have lost the opportunity to cheerlead at its competitor’s expense, it still has the advantage of a system that it’s clearly believed in since its inception. And that should show when the final product deploys on store shelves later this year.

The current story may be the Xbox maker’s change in policies, but the real narrative is the transformation in the respective platform holders. Sony limped into the current generation with a cumbersome and calamitous console against a nimble and hungry competitor. It’s debatable whether the Xbox One’s missteps will ever be considered to be on par with the PS3, but that the comparisons can even be drawn at this stage evidences a role reversal that’s far more fascinating than the removal of DRM.


Do you think that Sony needs to react to the Xbox One’s policy changes, or simply focus on its own vision? Are you surprised by the Japanese giant’s practically flawless approach to the PS4 thus far? Let us know in the comments section below.

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User Comments (29)

8vpiper

#1

8vpiper said:

Don't forget those low numbers available to pre order - makes me think rushed and lets not forget what happened last time "cough cough" RROD tied not to be a fanboy this time around and yet i still going with Sony

delukze

#2

delukze said:

Sony is doing good so far, they should just focus on delivering everything they talked about.

Lopezdm

#3

Lopezdm said:

I know Microsoft back tracked because of fear of failure. The voice of us gamers was not important until they saw the numbers. Microsoft knew we didn't like the idea and thought we would buy the Xbox one regardless. Sony listens to gamers and what we ask for. It's really up to you personally what system you want but I am going to stick with a company that cares about what we want. Not one that tells me what I want and then tries to charge me 4x over.

sackninja

#4

sackninja said:

Sony has always been in control. They forced microsoft to reveal their console. Then they forced them to reveal all their games. Then they forced them to change their policies. I can't help but feel sony wanted this. They've forced microsoft to go this way. Now they just need to show they are ready to take it from here.

In other news the xbone board on gamefaqs has literally exploded, no one has a clue whats going on. They don't know how to react. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ot9SYHVdXTk&feature=player_embedded

Gamer83

#9

Gamer83 said:

I don't know, at least in North America I think MS is now back in complete control, just hope Europe doesn't follow.

BlueProxy

#10

BlueProxy said:

...and to dot the "i", PS4 is still $100 less. MS has money to burn, and could drop the price by the same amount, but I doubt it will be too soon. I could be wrong, but after this recent 180 turn on their policies, they probably won't. They can only swallow their pride so much.

get2sammybAdmin

#11

get2sammyb said:

@Gamer83 From a sales perspective, you're probably right — but I still think the company's coming across completely clueless at the moment. This could be the first step towards it steadying the ship, but it might not be.

They must have spent, what, at least two years devising all of these policies. They spent a week at E3 defending them. And then they just throw them out in a matter of days... That raises the alarm bells for me.

Sony, at the very least, seems like it has a clear vision, and it's proud of the product that it's trying to sell. Will that equate to better sales? Again, we'll have to wait and see. But if I was an Xbox fan, I'd be a little concerned what's going on at MS HQ right now.

Gamer83

#12

Gamer83 said:

@get2sammyb

I absolutely agree that Sony seems like the more focused company, I think it's been this way since 2009, I'd like to see it benefit from this because it would also benefit gamers and the industry as a whole if Sony, as presently constructed, could climb back to the top. Sadly, NA is full of idiots.

Strofan7

#13

Strofan7 said:

@Gamer83 I'll vouch for that. My facebook was flooded today with people who were "so relieved" microsoft changed their mind so they can buy the X1 and not have to get the PS4 now. The DRM/etc issues caused enough of a mediastorm that it did penetrate the casual consumer, but since the change everyone is right back to brand loyalty with the xbox and seems to have no idea about different games, cost differences, or console power. It is so frustrating.

Zombie_Barioth

#14

Zombie_Barioth said:

@Gamer83
I wouldn't be so sure. Microsoft left a bad taste in a lot of peoples' mouths, not just from the DRM but the way they handled the whole thing. Claiming their DRM is no big deal cause us gamers will buy it anyway, their damage control, and even sticking their nose up at the military.

I could be wrong of course but I think a lot of people see Microsoft in a whole new light, especially considering how highly regarded the military is for a lot of people.

Gamer83

#15

Gamer83 said:

@Strofan7 @Zombie_Barioth

We'll see how it plays out, I honestly want both consoles to do well because competition is good, but I think we'll only see developers tap into PS4's true potential if it sells better than its competitors.

BornOfEvil

#16

BornOfEvil said:

@Strofan7 Yeah, same with me. Everyone who I knew were idiots are proving it by going right back to Microsoft, even though they showed that they were ready and willing to take away their rights as consumers. One friend commented that he was still getting a PS4 and a handful of pages are chilling them out on not sticking to policies they were so adamant on implementing and defending.

I'm not surprised, though. I was 12 years old when I realized how stupid most people in this country are - and 9 years later they're still surprising me.

Gamer83

#17

Gamer83 said:

@TheRealBatman

Yup, I'm 30 now, seen this my whole life and yet somehow still get surprised from time to time. NA consumers really are the worst. They're a good marketing team's dream since they are so easy to fool.

ViciousDS

#18

ViciousDS said:

@Gamer83 not all of them....i raised my little brother correctly....he grew up on halo as he got older though he shunned it away along with gears of war....its amazing. I actually asked him if he was going to get halo 4 and the new gears...which was a prequel, he responded with "no I really don't like Halo and Gears of War is just the same thing". My Jaw dropped when he responded that way as a 12 year old. I tapped him on the shoulder and told him....I love you lol.

Zombie_Barioth

#19

Zombie_Barioth said:

@ViciousDS
Or maybe he just get tired of it on his own? Heck, I'm a fan of the first two and I got tired of Halo just from seeing it constantly. It all depends on the kid but its always impressive when someone at that age shows such discerning tastes.

Consumers can be pretty stupid in general but even an idiot can figure out when he feels insulted, wether or not they act on it is another matter however.

TasukiStaff

#20

Tasuki said:

I think Sony learned from their mistakes they made with the PS3 which is a good thing. I mean I stuck by Sony during the PS one and PS2 era but when it came to this last gen I couldn't justify to myself paying Sony's higher price when MS basically offered the same thing cheaper. To me because of the success of the PS2 they got a little cocky and figured that they had this last gen in the bag only to be proved wrong. Now its funny cause I see MS doing the same thing this gen. They are thinking that because the 360 outsold the PS3 the had this gen in the bag so they come out with this Xbox One with all its features that wont matter too much to gamers.

I am glad that Sony learned from their mistakes and I think that they will do fine again this gen. Now its time for MS to learn from their mistakes and hopefully they will like Sony did.

Lukos

#22

Lukos said:

...I don't believe it.

Could this ACTUALLY be an oasis in a mess of communites filled with ignorant fanboys? Could this actually be a community of mature gamers who can see beyond the logo on the box? ... Is the world ending?

Just in case it is, I registered.

Microsoft is not in control here in the US. Sony still is. A few gaming media sites like Gamespot published articles like "Xbox Passes PS4 in Preorder Sales," referring to sites like Amazon. Unfortunately, while the DRM change is a great swing for Microsoft, these articles often fail to mention that because the PS4 is split into 5 SKUs, all of which currently occupy the top ten list, PS4 is in fact still way ahead in sales.

Microsoft actually had some great ideas. To be honest, for the console industry to come out of its current funk, things may eventually have to go the way Microsoft intended with the DRM and extra fees. Still (as, I've noticed, has become quite typical of Microsoft), they executed those ideas rather poorly. I really want Sony to get the ball this gen. Everything they've done so far with PS4 shows that they've learned from their mistakes and are ready to take this struggling industry where it needs to go. Microsoft's blindness and arrogance has rubbed many the wrong way, and while I do still hope the Xbox succeeds, this time around it really does deserve the second place spot Microsoft has worked so hard to earn.

TasukiStaff

#23

Tasuki said:

@ViciousDS: Yeah but I wonder how many for those people have already owned/own a Xbox 360? I mean if I had the money right now I would more than likely pick up a PS3.

Kage_88

#25

Kage_88 said:

Ehhhh, I think I'll still be sticking with PS4, personally.

Just because Microsoft made a few token gestures to make their Xbox One slightly less abhorrent, doesn't mean their past idiocy and greed should be swept under the carpet.

Plus, I'm sick to death of Halo.

Reverend_Skeeve

#26

Reverend_Skeeve said:

@Lukos
I know, right? I found this site a few weeks before E3...and *gasp came away with the same impression. A little oasis of reason in the sea of madness that is the internet. Welcome, then. :) Good to have a new face here that appreciates the quality of this community.

And yes, the world IS ending...in a few billion years, all will be over...so brace yourself. ;)

@Tasuki I owned a 360 and and was always quite happy with it. I went 360 because I didn't want to wait for the PS3...and could only afford to have and support one system this (and next) generation.

MS so disgusted me with their DRM-plans that I sold my 360 and am now going to go with PS4. Even MSs pathetic 180 didn't sway me. I'm done with them. Gonna miss Halo and Gears, though...I love those games...luckily, Killzone Shadow Fall looks like it's gonna be a worthy alternative to Halo.

@get2sammyb Very well written article...again! One could almost suspect you're doing this on purpose. ;)

LDXD

#27

LDXD said:

No way in hell I'd get a xbone after they tried their DRM bull I'll get a ps4 to go along side my Wii u when they have the games I want

artemisthemp

#28

artemisthemp said:

Microsoft have removed the DRM from Xbox One, but sadly 2 points still stand 1. Force on Kinect and 2. Live in US or you only get half our pack.

First issue could easy be resolve, while second Issue may is to hard for Microsoft to resolve.

Ligerzero_007

#29

Ligerzero_007 said:

I think despite Microsoft sudden policy reversals with Xbox One, Sony took the lead early this year with PS4, and will keep that lead at launch. If Microsoft really was that confident in their product, they wouldn't have reversed their policies in the first place. It just shows that they know Sony was well-prepared this generation and now Microsoft has to play catch-up to stay in competition with them. That's just my opinion.

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