The PS4 giant could swallow this next generation whole.

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Sony was proud during its E3 conference. The way Andrew House–president and CEO of Sony’s videogame arm–pattered on stage, wearing a chin-wide grin and carrying a boastful demanour, he knew jaws would drop. Then at Gamescom this past week, the same joyful House said: “While others have shifted their message and changed their story, we were consistent in maintaining a message that is fair and in tune with consumer desires.”

To which Microsoft Studios head Phil Spencer responded: “Other people will do and say what they’re going to say. Fine. We’re running our program. That’s a strength of who we are.”

Microsoft’s recent belly-flopping is a case of the strange gone stranger. Policies that disturbed the online masses are done, and now Xbox One employs a replica of Sony’s more favoured infrastructure. The residual effects are clear though, as Microsoft must still handle the videogame public’s anxiety that the old policies could be restored at some point.

And Sony is quick to remind us all.

Not to say Sony is ready to claim victory, however with the Wii U drowning and Xbox One trying to mitigate backlash, the PlayStation 4 may have a positive start and never look back.

As Microsoft reels, Nintendo aims to return to its former glory. Last quarter, the Wii U sold 160,000 units. Pitiful when compared to 1.4 million 3DS handhelds in the same period. Even though these days most don’t even consider Nintendo in the competition conversation. That may be a failure of Nintendo’s marketing department; nevertheless, it’s great news for Sony.

That makes Microsoft’s perceivably weaker position all the more pivotal. And to reflect that, Sony has shown an iron gall by repeatedly denouncing Microsoft at every turn, only for the company to respond in kind. If Sony is using this brotherly squabbling as a way to steal headlines, its PR team deserves an award.

But now that both consoles do have similar infrastructures, the exclusives games are what loyal fanboys stand their ground for and consumers rely on to solidify a choice. The two companies aimed for similar markets, but where Sony begins to deviate (and where I think it destroys Microsoft) is in the indie game department. Microsoft did freshly reveal the self-publishing model for Xbox Live but without any games. Sony, to counter, has plenty of games to brag about, though some on that handy Joystiq list are probably timed exclusives.

As for the rank of triple-A games arriving soon, Sony has a smaller group, but plans to put out 33 games by December 31. Among the notables are Watch Dogs, Assassin’s Creed 4, Call of Duty: Ghosts and Battlefield 4, all of which appear in Microsoft’s basket too. By contrast, Sony is relying on old favourites like Killzone and Infamous, the latter to be ready in 2014.

The most impressive titles in Sony’s E3 package were Driveclub, a more socially reared racing simulator, and The Order: 1886Racing games have so far been about stylization and realism, and until Need for Speed: Most Wanted, never prioritizing community over looks. Driveclub is on par with Forza 5 in terms of realistic design, but overshadows it in the social game. As far as we know, at least.

Ready at Dawn is hard at work on The Order: 1886, where the Industrial Revolution began to combat inhuman creatures. It looks like a colourful take on a historic period in human development, and as a third-person shooter, one to watch. (Though I’m sensible enough to wait for game play. Don’t want a repeat of Dead Island‘s mesmerizing trailer.) But this one definitely has the potential to be a franchise and an early anchor for the PlayStation 4 beyond next year.

One more positive before I end this post. As free-to-play has been adapted this generation by the console companies, the five games offered on PS4 near launch make one strong collection. All of these have been available on PC for some time. The one downside is PlanetSide 2, at least, doesn’t collaborate with its PC counterpart; the PS4 server is entirely separate. It stands to reason that the others on that list have the same restriction.

Gearing up for a possible decadelong generation, Sony is fiendishly ripping away at the floodgates. The company anxiously waits for November 15, the PS4′s shipping date, while Microsoft aims to release Xbox One likely around the same date. That time is closing in quickly, though, so Sony better capitalize early and efficiently or it risks mirroring sales of the seventh generation. This Christmas will be fun to watch.

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  • clearwoodbellawater

    Great article here…preference is different for everyone, and I won’t claim that one system is superior ove the other, but for me, the ps4 is hands down the best choice…I’ve never been a big multiplayer guy, I like my single player story driven games, be they AAA or indie type titles, and Sony seems to be the only one of the two really catering to this crowd at this point…Dead Rising is a series I’ve enjoyed in spots, but never enough to buy it, and while 3 looks like a vast improvement, I’ve already played the perfection of this genre this year in the last of us, so I’m more looking forward to the continuation of Killzone, and the promise of Infamous…the biggest issue that ms have yet to 180 on that they need to rectify soon is the amount of services still behind the paywall of Xbox live….as I said before, I don’t play multiplayer, so why should I have to pay to access my streaming services like Netflix and Hulu when I can access them for free on literally every single other device that has them? Going forward, the franchises I fell in love with this gen like Uncharted and God of War will only ever exist on this platform, it’s not like Mass Effect or Bioshock last gen, or Titanfall this gen, wherein it will be a timed exclusive…Microsoft needs more first party game studios going forward to compete with Sony in the exclusives department, they can’t subsist on throwing money at other devs this gen like they did the last….I personally feel at this point that we’ve seen the extent of big games we will be seeing on the one for the next year or two, whereas Sonys catalogue will continue to grow, if history is any indicator, look at the end of this gen, Sony have had almost a dozen high quality triple A titles in this last year alone to the 360s single exclusive release

    • JeffHeilig

      Microsoft knows its audience extremely well. Forty million Xbox Live accounts have been suckered into paying yearly for Live, even to access Netflix and other paid services. And they know that won’t change soon. MS is targeting the multiplayer players who also use Netflix, appealing to their love for TV by now producing a Halo television series. It’s a smart getup if people only realized it as such.

  • Dan

    God, I want a PS4 so f***ing bad, can’t wait until November! There is so
    much pent up demand for the new consoles because the previous
    generation lasted too long, the next gen games look just amazing, and the only other ‘gaming’ on offer is
    crappy cheap mobile and tablet games. The next gen consoles are just
    going to rock, PS4 will win initially, but Xbox1 does have Titanfall.

    • JeffHeilig

      Appreciate the blurred profanity. But I would disagree with you: the console companies’ collective hesitancy to go in early has created a unique atmosphere for the games business. I would argue that people are obviously aware of a new generation coming, but don’t care because Xbox One and PS4 offer much the same functionality. Hell, we’ll probably still see 360 and PS3 games into 2015.

  • NeoMahi

    Ya know, I’m actually starting to think that Sony caught Microsoft totally off guard. Like Microsoft actually thought Sony was waiting until next year and thought they had a lot more time. Now Microsoft’s scramble to get things together is causing all the problems and gaffs they’ve been having. Even more so with their releasing of the console. Its so frantic because plans didn’t expect until much later have slowed production. Its always a possibility . They won’t tell you because Microsoft is far to arrogant. Its not in their nature to show they could use room for improvement and its their Achilles-heel. Sony have come out and apologized publically on a lot of stuff and individuals like Jack Tretton (CEO of SCEA) have earned public respect (more so than you think). But put Phil Spencer next to Jack Tretton. Its night and die. They both exemplify the mentality of their companies. Spencer is a bully and egotistical while Jack Tretton is even described by many and genuine and humble. Tretton fights for his fans and Spencer fights against his.

  • Grif

    Hmmm… I see there’s a xbox fanboy downvoting everything, so I guess the first thing I do is upvote everybody to even it out.

    Decent article, but you left out the 200lb gorilla sitting on 700lbs of bananas: Bungie.

    They made it clear before Reach that they were planning on ending MS exclusive IP. That in itself isn’t that big of a deal, at the time we figured that they were just planning multiplatform releases. But since then, they’ve hinted at they really like working with Sony and what they are doing. There is a remote possibility that exclusive content could come to the PS4 with a real possibility that at least timed-exclusives may very well happen.

    For a lot of devs out there, this actually wouldn’t mean too much. Bungie is different. They carry a huge fan base, a base that is loyal to them themselves as much as any game they’ve put out. Not even the likes of say Blizzard, or Bioware have enjoyed the connection between fan base and dev like Bungie has with theirs.

    Destiny can very easily dwarf Halo in scope, if exclusivity comes to the PS4 and is mentioned before the launch dates, you could see a significant amount of people who will at least start with the PS4 if not switch only to the PS4.

    They may not go that route, but they have mentioned it’s a possibility too.

    • JeffHeilig

      I’d rather deal in hard facts. Bungie is an undetermined factor in the console arms race, but I don’t think exclusive content will make that much of a difference in the longer run. For any game, for that matter. Just because Microsoft lost Bungie doesn’t mean Destiny will fail on Xbox One.

      • Church

        I’m not saying it’ll fail on Xbox one. But one announcement by Bungie easily has the potential of bringing 4-500k people over the the PS4 in an instant. Bungie has gone on record that the possibility of exclusive or timed-exclusive content could be a possibility with the PS4. There really is that many people who would jump ship.

        Out of all the major and minor devs out there, Bungie is by far the most interactive with their fanbase. Even people who hated what they were doing at any given instant rarely ever left because of it. Week in, week out you’d still see their names pop up on the forms despite their hatred for what was happening at any particular moment in time. You don’t see this anywhere else, even with Mass Effect MP, as nerfing and changes happened, you saw people just get up and leave. You saw a lot of people get up and leave.

        You’re whole article is written on the premise that Sony is in the right place, at the right time. You wrote about what they’ve done, you speculated a little on what they could do in the coming months. In such an article, Bungie matters. One craftily timed announcement and the whole landscape changes.

  • Truth

    Ah yes, it’s $0n¥’s time alright, TO DIE! GFY PauperStation N4Gtard NeoFAGs!

    • JeffHeilig

      Good contribution there Truth. See you around.

  • ShujaatSyed

    “Driveclub is on par with Forza 5
    in terms of realistic design, but overshadows it in the social game. As far as
    we know, at least.”

    As
    far as we know, they are both going for different things, one’s a social arcade
    racer, and the other is a simulator.

    Also
    we don’t know if DriveClub overshadows Forza in the social game. To point out,
    Forza’s social offering isn’t anything to scoff at. Just looking back at Forza
    4 and even Horizon, both point towards the social interactivity that will come
    with Forza 5. Asynchronous multiplayer in the form of Rivals mode, Drift
    challenges, the Speed Traps in Horizon and not to forget, Car Clubs.

    This
    isn’t mentioning the system Turn 10 has already in place since Forza 3 which
    allows users to buy and sell cars and custom vinyls. There is also a strong
    photography community in the game.

    With
    that said, DriveClub might ace Forza in that regard, but that’s because that is
    DriveClub’s focus hence #DRIVECLUB.

    Will
    DriveClub out-perform Forza 5 in realistic driving? Hell no – DriveClub is an
    arcade racer.

    • JeffHeilig

      We won’t know until the games ship. Driveclub might be better than Forza 5 in all regards. Forza does have its reputation working for it, though, so I’m not quick to assume one’s victory just yet.

      • ShujaatSyed

        Oh my. I am so sorry you had to read my post in that formatting :( I fixed it.

        You are right, but it’s also nice to note player reaction while writing something like that. As far as the E3 build is concerned, Forza wowed more people by being the better demo – more visually polished, and more fun, at least from the impressions I have read online, from users and publications.

        Forza might have it’s reputation at hand but it’s also undeniable that there is quality to be found there – which has been proven time and time again.

  • Phil Balliet

    Xbox One Day One.

    • mus1CKFps

      Phil your drunk go home lol, i’m pretty sure you downvoted everyone if there was a downvote in the “DEM GAMEZ” facebook group we would all get downvoted lol

      • Phil Balliet

        Only downvoted this reply :P

    • JeffHeilig

      I don’t know why people are buying consoles day one… The way the last generation began, it was all bad news. Hell, some Xboxs malfunctioned and exploded. >.> I’m going to hold out. The Xbox 360 still has some value into next year.

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