With the passing of E3 2018 comes a myriad of trailers, teasers, and information about all the hottest upcoming games. It was a per usual E3, and a per usual reporting by most games media outlets, discussing the different presentations, naming the games that looked the best, so on and so forth. But one presentation in particular caught the attention of many, myself included.
Now, in the pre-E3 episode of Press Maru, my colleagues and I had expressed concerns regarding the Microsoft presentation, but much to our surprise, it blew our expectations out of the water. They ultimately showcased 50 games, 18 of which were exclusives, and 15 of which were world premieres. The cynic in me immediately points to A) the compilation video shown mid-presentation that showed a good chunk of the “50” games, and of which afforded those games abysmal stage time, and B) a healthy amount of their “exclusives” were merely timed. Despite this, it is my belief that Microsoft has shown their dedication to their ecosphere and is poising themselves for long run gains.
Before I unpack that statement, I want to explain my usage of the term ecosphere. With the addition of Play Anywhere, bringing their exclusives to PC, it seems apt to opt for different terminology when looking at Microsoft. This is mainly driven by the fact that my main mode of playing games is PC, and Microsoft has not incentivized me to upgrade my stock Xbox One to an Xbox One X.
I don’t believe this shift from merely a console platform is a failure on Microsoft’s part however. I think that due to Microsoft’s comparatively abysmal console sales, and loss of good faith, at the beginning of the console generation, has forced this new direction. This is not meant to slander Xbox, but rather praise them for what I see as a brilliant business maneuvering, bringing first-party Microsoft to a larger audience, as well as another step-in brand reparation. In addition, their acquisition of 5 studios demonstrates further their commitment to a business plan that in my opinion will be remunerative in the future.
Meanwhile, Sony has decided to stick to the old formulae, which in its own right is a strong strategy in the context of Sony’s current position. In either case, the current generation of consoles is extremely similar in make, so the real differentiation of the two companies is more based on software available, in which case both company’s strategies are in line with this fact.
With both companies ultimately being in strong positions, I just cannot escape my fascination of Microsoft’s game plan when compared to that of Sony’s. In the end I want both companies to remain healthy and competitive, and with the resurgence of Nintendo, it could be argued that gaming is in the best place it has ever been. I will continue to watch with fascination as we progress on to the next generation.