Update: Xbox boss Phil Spencer has continued his assault on Sony and its PlayStation 5 strategy, saying that fans "won't be forced into the next-generation" as Microsoft commits continued support to Xbox One's various permutations. "Unlike others, we believe that your investments in gaming should move with you into the next generation," he cattily continued on the subject of accessories.
It's all getting a bit heated ahead of next week's Xbox showcase, but only one side is consistently talking about the competition. PlayStation, for the most part, appears to be focused on its own approach.
Original Story: For the first time in a while, Sony and Microsoft are adopting different strategies. Prior to announcing nine PlayStation 5 exclusives during a recent reveal broadcast, boss Jim Ryan reiterated that the organisation “believes in generations”, adding: “We believe that when you go to all the trouble of creating a next-gen console […] it should include features and benefits that the previous generation does not.”
Microsoft, meanwhile, is adopting a different approach with Xbox Series X; with its Game Pass subscription taking centre stage, it’ll continue to release first-party titles on the aging Xbox One for a year at least. Locking games to a particular piece of hardware, according to boss Phil Spencer, is “completely counter to what gaming is about”.
Speaking with Games Industry.biz, he explained: “We should applaud the work that is going on with the [PS5’s SSD], and the work that is going on with audio, to pick some of the areas that Jim [Ryan] and Mark [Cerny] and the stuff that [PlayStation] is focused on. We should applaud load times and fidelity of scenes and frame rate and input latency, and all of these things that we've focused on with the next generation. But that should not exclude people from being able to play.”
Spencer believes that only “people who are too caught up in device competition” believe Xbox Series X’s software will be held back by its commitment to the Xbox One. Meanwhile, developers like Insomniac Games, who are working on Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, have said that it’s impossible to achieve the same gameplay experience in that title on the PlayStation 4. In fact, even Bloober Team, who are working on the Xbox Series X exclusive The Medium, have said a similar thing.
“Yes, every developer is going to find a line and say that this is the hardware that I am going to support, but the diversity of hardware choice in PC has not held back the highest fidelity PC games on the market,” continued Spencer. “The highest fidelity PC games rival anything that anybody has ever seen in video games. So, this idea that developers don't know how to build games, or game engines, or ecosystems, that work across a set of hardware… there's a proof point in PC that shows that's not the case.”
The Xbox boss concluded: “Gaming is about entertainment and community and diversion and learning new stories and new perspectives, and I find it completely counter to what gaming is about to say that part of that is to lock people away from being able to experience those games. Or to force someone to buy my specific device on the day that I want them to go buy it, in order to partake in what gaming is about.”
But how do you feel about all this? Is Phil Spencer simply defending his organisation’s strategy? Will he still have the same outlook when his company eventually decides to move on from the Xbox One? Or is Sony right to take full advantage of its new hardware from outset? Are you happy that PlayStation has committed to next-gen exclusives as part of its tactics? Let us know in the comments section below.