Guest Post: The Console War isn’t about hardware – It’s about IPs

Here’s another guest post for you all to enjoy. Check out more details about the author below! Now over to Charlie:

Since February this year, we have heard a lot about Sony’s console offering and we’ve heard a lot about Microsoft’s console offering. It’s been in the mainstream media as well as the specialist press and online publications. The gaming conferences have been streamed live online, in order to cover these momentous announcements and Pre-orders have been taken at multiple retailers across the UK, Europe and the US, showing unrivalled and growing interest in the games console industry. But in the end, when the consoles are released I suspect it won’t be the hardware that is the deciding factor for many people to base their purchasing decisions on.

Hardware Vs Gameplay

The Sony press conference back in February, followed by E3 and Gamescom were great for Japan’s technology giant. The specifications looked impressive and a significant step-up from the PS3 hardware list. Better still, it looked like Sony had concentrated more on the online functionality of the console, offering switch-in switch-out modes within games, flashing in and out to the main system screen in order to check something online or communicate with Friends on social platforms. Game and Video streaming opportunities will offer flexibility that was something that the Playstation needed and the new hardware now supports this. In addition to the interface design changes and the impending GAIKAI streaming service, the overall spec is impressive.

The same really can be said for the Xbox One deals that will be available, despite reports of them having a miserable E3, which was the case technically when they announced a more expensive product compared to Sony’s and caused controversy over the online second-hand options which they later reneged on. The Xbox always had a more rounded entertainment focus within their interface, with a strong online offering in Xbox Live. What disappointed this year, was their lack of exciting IPs and over-priced equipment, as well as the aforementioned “second-hand online” announcement. Combined, it didn’t do them any favours.

According to John Carmack from Id Software, (producers of the Doom and Quake titles), the two consoles are very similar and have the same “capabilities”.


Rumours that the PS4’s GPU could be 50% more powerful, providing a boost in performance suggests another victory for Sony in the war against its rival but in fact, it would seem the Xbox One also has this “capability”. They both use the same shaders and DirectX 11.1 support. Both use the AMD X86 Jaguar chip. Naysayers love to jump on the negative and I am a Playstation gamer and always have been but even I can see that the differences between the two consoles will not be noticeable from a performance point of view. These are the two top-end products in this industry. What will separate them will be much simpler than how powerful the tech is. It will be a question of, How strong will their game catalogue be and what new IPs will capture people’s attention?

It’s all about the titles

Ultimately, it’s been a long time since consumers purely bought a games console just on the spec alone. What games are available is a massive pull and exclusives help to secure a fan base which manufacturers hope will retain future sales. Looking at the offerings from both consoles, the PS4 does seem to just edge out Microsoft.

Sony’s competing against the Xbox’s big fan favourite, Forza Motorsport with Driveclub. Killzone on the PS4 looks to be going head to head with Titanfall and Knack could cater for the younger audience, with hours of graphical mayhem to enjoy. The future release of Metal Gear Solid 5 is hotly anticipated too. The damp squib that followed Microsoft’s announcements at E3 didn’t help the lack of enthusiasm for an already limited game offering. Surely they will have turned public opinion around by November?

There are of course mainstream titles which will be available for both platforms and these will probably be the focus for a lot of gamers, such as Fifa 14, Watchdogs, Call of Duty Ghosts and Assassins Creed 4. Although, admittedly it remains to be seen whether the developers have made a mistake by releasing these titles early on the PS3 and Xbox 360 first, only for people to realise they want to play it on their shiny new next-gen console and have to fork out the same money again to do it, due to the lack of backwards compatibility.

It’s clear though, that interest in the IPs that will be available has grown since their respective announcements and Microsoft and Sony cannot just rely on heavy-spec machines to win people over. The demand for great gameplay experience is huge and it’s perhaps time for the two companies to stop sabre-rattling at each other and focus on delivering what consumers really want for the next ten years.

Author Bio:

Charlie works for Console and writes regularly for various online gaming blogs. His interest is in console gaming and he can’t wait to see what bundles come out for the PS4 in November.


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