Sony's knowledge of hardware architecture coupled with Microsoft's dominance in the software sector. Sony's outstanding first-party output supported by Microsoft's (supposedly) superior networking talents. Combining both Sony and Microsoft's individual talents makes for a glorious prospect, but it also removes the principle that's been key to both the PlayStation 3 and XBOX 360's advancement over the past five years: competition.
When a suite of Microsoft domain registrations hinted at a collaboration between the XBOX manufacturer and Sony, I was surprised to see the number of people advocating a hypothetical X-Station (or whatever you want to call it?). I can see the attraction on paper, but I think most people are missing the bigger picture. Competition breeds excellence, and there's no doubt that Microsoft's growth in the gaming sector over the past five years has pushed Sony into its A-game. Similarly, XBOX would not be the platform it is today without the lure of PlayStation brand.
The principle is simple: without each other, neither Microsoft nor Sony would be offering the exceptional experiences that are on the market right now. Just look at something like the PlayStation Network. When Sony launched the PlayStation 3 in 2006, the system barely had an online infrastructure. But Microsoft pushed them. XBOX Live was already an established, efficient and well designed portal, and Sony had to respond. Regardless of whether you think the PSN matches up to XBOX Live or not, it's clear that the threat of Microsoft's emerging network pushed Sony hard. It adapted, it developed, and as a result we're now being offered a better online experience through our PlayStation 3.
You see similar things in terms of content too. Sony lost a lot of exclusive content this generation due to the growth of the XBOX brand and the increase in development costs. One area Sony's countered this is by expanding its Worldwide Studios portfolio. Sony now arguably has the best first-party line-up in the industry — a feat driven through adaptation and competition.
The simple fact is that, to an extent, Sony and Microsoft need each other. While the competition can be fierce at times, it also provides a net-win for consumers. I'll never understand the argument in favour of "exclusive" games being available to everyone. Video game consoles are not merely set-top boxes — they are personalities. You buy into the ethos of the company you support; be it Nathan Drake, Master Chief or Super Mario. Competition, rivalry and (to an extent) fanboyism breed the excellence and consumer value that we all expect from the video game industry — why would anyone suddenly want to take that away?
If Sony and Microsoft were to unite and form an "ultra console", where would be the need to innovate? Where would be the need to drive down prices in order to stay competitive? Sure, Nintendo might be able to push the duo, but we can hardly see the Japanese giant forcing the new conglomerate to frequently overhaul its online network.
Competition breeds excellence. One aspect of this generation that continues to please me immensely is that all three platform holders have a reasonable foot-hold in the industry. They all bring something new to the table, and they're all constantly pushing each other to up their game. That means, as consumers, we're all getting the best possible experience we can. And at the end of the day, that's what's important.
Its rumoured that Twiggy has spent the past several months touring with avant-garde dance troupe Cirque Du Soleil. The anonymous PushSquare columnist is still on the run from the British monarchy on account of treason. Twiggy was last sighted eating an Asda branded ham and cheese sandwich in Grimsby.