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In this slogging post, we discuss who we think is winning the current next-generation console war. Although we disagree with who has the advantage, we agree that many factors play a role in deciding who will win.
This Slogging thread by Jack Boreham, Jeffrey Harris, Jose Hernandez, Nicolas Ng and Limarc Ambalina occurred in slogging's official #gaming channel, and has been edited for readability.
Who do you think is winning the next-gen console war?
It's somewhat hard for me to say, and I still think it's relatively early. I'd like to see how things pan out now that Microsoft now owns Bethesda Softworks. Now personally, in terms of games and game experiences, I still lean toward Sony PlayStation. I like what Nintendo has done with the Switch, like Breath of the Wild and Mario Odyssey. I still think Nintendo is great in terms of first-party titles and hardware. But right now, my gut still leans toward PlayStation
I think it depends on whether Xbox can make Game Pass a more prominent thing. It’s clear that they want this to be their next feature, and if they keep putting time, money, and effort into it, it could rival PlayStations exclusives.
Both of you make very valid points. I agree that it depends on whether Xbox can use its Games pass to the best of its ability, and Bethesda's titles come into this. Having been lucky to own a variation of all the next-gen consoles, I think Xbox has the advantage. Currently, their systems have better framerates and more games. But I think their lead is likely to narrow. PlayStation expected to catch up this summer, I expect. Also, Halo has to be a knockout title. Otherwise, Xbox may lose its lead. What do you guys think Limarc Ambalina Nicolas Ng?
My money is on PlayStation if we're talking about console sales. As it stands, it has the best exclusives and really interesting features like its controller, which Xbox can't match outside of Gamepass. I think those are the features that decided the last console war and are unlikely to change. I do get the sense that Microsoft isn't trying too hard with Xbox anymore, given how hard it's pushing into the PC market. They've announced some changes, which I think means that their store will be a little closer in functionality to traditional PC games, which would enable modding. Their games are also coming to Steam now, which is a vast market, as the MCC proved. If you're going to count overall revenue, Microsoft might make more money off first-party sales.
Nicolas Ng, I agree that PlayStation has better exclusives, but there are not many ps5 exclusives out right now. Also, although Sony has sold more, Microsoft has sold out too. If Xbox produced, more would likely match the numbers of PlayStation. I think you are right when you say their main focus isn't Xbox itself but rather a cross-platform approach with GamesPass. But I do believe Gamespass adds incredible value to its Xbox brand regardless. Would you say from a pure value standpoint Xbox has the edge?
So I think the safe bet is with PlayStation, but can I ask your thoughts on Nintendo Switch? Ever since getting one. I'm sold on why it's become so popular. Sure some Triple-A games like The Witcher have to be optimised for the platform. Stiil the fact that it is the home for Nintendo exclusives AND has dramatically opened up to include 3rd party games that exist on Xbox and PlayStation has me wondering if the Switch or Switch 2 could come out on top.
If Switch were to improve their online multiplayer system, they have a chance to compete with PlayStation.
Jack Boreham, I think that Xbox has the edge in value. I mean, how do you even try to beat that kind of value proposition?
Something else that occurred to me is that Xbox has some fantastic co op experiences. Sea of Thieves, for example, is a great way to chill with friends or get sweaty. Microsoft Flight Sim can be pretty fun, too, if you're exploring the world on a prop plane. I don't think PlayStation has any offerings to match Xbox's co-op since they focus pretty heavily on single-player games.
Hahaha, Nicolas Ng, I agree. Xbox currently has a stellar lineup of multiplayer games. Sea of Thieves is fantastic and so much fun. Who doesn't want to be a pirate and find the treasure?
Limarc Ambalina, I think the switch two definitely can win the console war.As you said, excellent first-party and new third party offerings. It would have to be a powerhouse, though, to play these next-gen games well. But I'm not sure if that will happen without them increasing its price substantially, or they might play them at a sub-par level. First party alone, though, I think Nintendo could steal the show, especially with new Pokemon, Zelda Mario and Metroid games on the horizon.
So what do you think will be the defining factors then in terms of who wins the war? What features are you looking for in a next-gen console that would cause you to choose one brand over the other?
Next-gen tech such as stable but high frame rates and high-end graphics combined with a solid selection of first and third-party games. If a console wins, it would have to have constancy across the board in tech and games. No dips in tech such as frame rates and a solid lineup of games.
Do the next-gen specs say frame rate matter to you. Limarc Ambalina Nicolas Ng JeffreyHarris Jose Hernandez?
Interestingly, graphics have never mattered to me. Growing up in the NES/SNES era, everything is a step up. Once we hit PlayStation 3 level graphics, I never needed more than that.
The ONLY time specs have mattered to me is in VR. It is way different when the game is on the TV or 1 CM from your eyes. VR needs every inch up in performance we can get. For non-VR gaming, I've never cared.
Limarc Ambalina, yes definitely, that kind of immersion needs high-end tech. What do you think of the possible new specs for ps5 VR? Is this what you expect from a next-gen VR headset.
Jose Hernandez, as an Xbox fan, do you think the company should get into VR to bolster their next-gen offering. Or do you think it's not necessary, Nicolas Ng. Do you think a VR offering will give a particular console manufacturer the advantage in this console war?
I don't think so. I imagine that someone who can afford a VR headset might not find a high-spec PC too expensive. Given how essential graphics and framerate are in playing VR titles, having anything less than a powerful PC might sour the experience. Though, I haven't used PSVR before. It could be enough for a good experience.
Jack Boreham. I’m not too sure, but it would be interesting. Xbox hasn’t shied away from trying different things like the Kinect, Mixer, and Game Pass. Although they don’t always pan out, it’s nice to see them doing other things.
Yeah, it's an exciting prospect. I agree. I think that it's possible, but it's not a standout feature for next-gen. VR seems to be an accessory rather than an integrated piece of kit that is a must-have. I can imagine, though in years to come, VR being a cornerstone of console gaming. I hope Microsoft starts to innovate more with their AR technology as well. That has interesting prospects.
Limarc Ambalina, do you agree that VR probably won't move the needle in terms of giving PlayStation an advantage this gen?
100% I don't think it'll give MUCH of an advantage. The main reason being it is not going to be the go-to VR headset even if it gets exclusive titles. They announced that it will still have a wire, which is the main downside of many headsets in the market. Oculus will continue to dominate the mainstream VR market until the rest go wireless. I think the only time someone would buy the PSVR over other headsets is if they already own a PS5, and adding on the VR part will cost $200 or less.
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