PS5 vs. New Xbox: Microsoft Might Win Next-Gen Console War for This Reason
Could Microsoft make a comeback?
Sony’s PlayStation and Microsoft’s Xbox consoles are the Rocky Balboa and the Apollo Creed of the gaming world. Since 2001, the two have been duking it out for video game dominance, and their rivalry might reach new heights with the impending releases of the next-generation PlayStation 5 and Xbox “Scarlett.”
As it stands, Xbox One and Xbox One X consoles are a distant third in the industry, behind Nintendo and Sony. Meanwhile, PS4 and PS4 Pro devices are the market leaders and account for nearly half of all consoles in use in the world, according to a November 2018 Strategy Analytics statement.
Ben Arnold, the senior director of innovation and trends at the Consumer Technology Association, tells Inverse that Microsoft has an ace up its sleeve.
The PS5 and Xbox Scarlett devices are expected to bring their own secret weapon to the ring. Rumors about the PS5’s chipset and a recent patent suggest Sony’s new release could pack game-changing virtual reality features. Meanwhile, two anticipated Xbox Scarlett models will reportedly leverage Microsoft’s upcoming xCloud streaming service to let gamers play any title — no downloads necessary — and take their favorite games beyond the console, to their Android mobile phones and other devices.
Arnold believes the hype around cloud gaming services, and the slow adoption of VR could be the perfect storm for Xbox Scarlett.
“The timeline [for VR] is a little bit extended because we’re still up against the desire to have great content as a way to drive more hardware adoption, but the content can’t get funded until there’s more hardware,” he said. “As that gets figured out, all of this momentum in streaming, cloud, and subscription services will develop.”
VR still needs to overcome a plethora of issues. The hardware is costly, there’s a lack of available content, and it can make users sick if there’s even a slight in-game glitch. VR was a huge talking point at CES, but this year many attendees said it was a “dream gathering dust” and that its “buzz has faded.”
On the other hand, a number of cloud gaming services have begun picking up steam. Google Stadia, xCloud, and Nvidia GeForce are only a handful of upcoming streaming services that have been said to make waiting for a game to download a thing of the past. The only obstacle for cloud gaming is access to fast internet, which the rollout of 5G is expected to fix, and current innovations like mesh-wireless networks can be used to boost suboptimal connection speeds.
VR is caught in a chicken or the egg dilemma. Developers want to make games for platforms they’re sure people will play because it’s demanding work. But hardware manufacturers want to wait for more content before they create new devices.
“There’s a lot of potential in VR gaming, but we’re in a phase where the manufacturers and content creators need to get on the same page and figure out how to really get consumers interested,” said Arnold.
Microsoft could take this lull in VR innovation to capitalize on the excitement of cloud gaming to gain footing in the console war. The battle of next-gen consoles has yet to begin, but the Xbox Scarlett consoles seem to have an early edge.