If you remember my last post about Microsoft and Sony, I mentioned Microsoft might focus on games at E3 to make up for not showing much of them at the initial Xbox One reveal. Microsoft did just that yesterday at E3. Their E3 conference was almost entirely about the games. They did not mention Kinect really at all, and none of the TV show stuff was mentioned. Sony focused on the games mostly too, but they also announced some non-gaming features like being able to rent and digitally buy TV shows, movies, and songs. If that were it, I would put both companies even for who will win the first round of the new console generation. However, there are two big issues that are favoring Sony.
Ever since the Xbox One reveal event, gamers have been criticizing Microsoft left and right for the online connection requirement and for essentially banning used games. Until yesterday, no one was sure exactly how Sony would treat used games. They had said it would be up to publishers, which I believed to mean the console had the technology to ban used games, but it was up to each publisher to make the decision for each of their games. Well, Sony announced that there is nothing in the console against used games, and the console does not require an internet connection. This is huge plus for core gamers. Sony has a leg up over Microsoft, but it gets worse for Microsoft.
Both Microsoft and Sony announced the prices for their new consoles. The Xbox One, $500, and the PS4, $400. That is another huge boost for Sony here. I believe both consoles are using roughly the same hardware, so Sony is definitely taking a big hit here. That is going to greatly increase their installed base compared to Microsoft, and Sony hopes those gamers will buy enough games to make up for that loss. If you remember the last generation of consoles, the most popular PS3 model cost $500, and the most popular Xbox 360 model cost $400. Microsoft and Sony have truly switched places this eighth generation.
I think this is very bad for Microsoft. We can already see from history what happened to the PS3 after trying to own the living room, but it could be even worst for the Xbox One. The Wii U was also going for a wide audience and mostly failed. Sure, the Xbox One will have better graphics and more exclusives for the core gamer, but that $500 cost is a huge deterrent. Right now, PS4 appeals to the core gamer, Wii U appeals to the gamer family (young couple with kids), and tablets/smartphones appeal to the casual gamer. That does not leave much for Xbox One.
As always, Microsoft could make changes over time. Even though the Xbox One is $100 more, I still think the used game and require online are the bigger issues. People just do not want anything getting in between them and their games. Relaxing their stance on those issues and some price cuts could even things up again.