The Microsoft Xbox Series X and the Playstation 5. Image credit : npr

The stakes are sky-high for both companies Microsoft and Sony as Microsoft’s Xbox and Sony’s PlayStation prepare to reveal their next-generation products. But between the hardware giantsSony and Microsoft are playing very different gamesin the latest round of console wars.

Xbox Series X was out Nov. 10, followed 2 days later by the PlayStation 5. Both have outstanding new featuresand grand specs. But that’s about where the similarities end: When it comes to sales, industry examiners say the next generation will be interpreted by the exclusive games, services and different approaches that Sony and Microsoft are taking to courting consumers.

Microsoft is heavily banking on the growing of subscription service Xbox Game Pass. Sony is lauding its marquee lineup of whole content. The global opportu­nity is huge. In 2020 console games are ex­­pected to account for $45.2 billion of the $159.3 billion global gaming market.

As it has been in past years, Sony’s vital selling point, will be its blockbuster lineup of exclusive games. At beginning, it will incept with “Spider-Man: Miles Morales” and a remake of “Demon’s Souls.” Dozens of highly anticipated titles, from “Final Fantasy XVI” to “God of War: Ragnarok,” have been confirmed for the coming years.

Microsoft has tried to be fierce in pricing. Both Sony and Microsoft are offering 2 versions of their consoles, with inexpensive options that don’t include disc drives. The PlayStation 5 and Series X will both cost $500, but the PS5 Digital Edition will run $400 while the Xbox Series S will come in at $300.

Since 2017’s service’s launch, Microsoft has been expanding up Game Pass, which costs $10-$15 a month depending on the rank and offers subscribers a vast library of hundreds of games via xCloud, for Xbox consoles, PCs and Android devices. As of 2018, first-party titles (those owned or controlled by the console maker) are appearing day-and-date on Game Pass.

Sony has a similar offering with PS Now, a $10-per-month subscription service that allows access to more than 700 games on both PlayStation and PC. But unlike Xbox Game Pass, which has users directly downloading the games to their PCs and consoles, PS Now is in essence a streaming service, which doesn’t allow for playing offline (except in case of some downloadable games), and its library distorts older than Game Pass’ day-and-date releases. Sony rejected to comment for this story.

As the Coronavirus pandemic has raised demand for video games and consoles, it’s also put pressure on the ability to physically produce them. Both the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X are expected to sell out rapidly, especially as consumers’ expendable income shifts from vacations and live experiences to home entertainment.

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