The war between Microsoft and Sony has been waging for twenty years now and there are no signs of the conflict ever slowing down. In fact, the battle for customers has never been more intense with both companies releasing brand new consoles into the market at the end of 2020.
The timing was astute: At that stage, more and more players were turning on to video games due to having to spend more time indoors. Interest in gaming has never been higher but who is winning the race?
Let Battle Commence
The intense rivalry between Microsoft and Sony first began in 2001. That was the year that the first Xbox hit the shelves, challenging a virtual monopoly that the PlayStation had previously enjoyed.
Other consoles have since come along but, for most consumers, it’s a simple battle between these two. Through the twenty years since that original Xbox release, the war has intensified but it hit a new peak when both companies produced new consoles at the end of 2020.
The Height of the Conflict
The Xbox Series X and the PlayStation 5 both arrived in time for the Christmas season at the end of last year. Both consoles offer something a little different although their overall aims to provide a great gaming experience plus add-ons such as Blue Ray viewing, are the same.
There are many reviews and differing opinions as to which of the new machines is the best: The PS5 certainly seems to score with a greater range of exclusive games such as Demon’s Souls that cannot be found anywhere else.
Gamers will be keen to try new titles wherever they can but many feel that the Xbox’s new functions make it stand out as the better product. The new quick resume on the X series is particularly impressive with players allowed to return to their games seamlessly without any freezing or loss of frames.
Both machines are powerful pieces of equipment and offer high quality gaming. The term ‘Next Gen’ can be overused at times but it’s true to say that the majority of gamers are seriously impressed with the 2020 releases.
Big screen action is perfect for video games and for big titles such as Fortnite, Counter Strike: Global Offensive and DOTA 2. These titles do not transfer easily to mobile devices and that’s one disadvantage to console producers.
In the meantime, there are plenty of other distractions waiting to fill that gap. The online gambling industry is a huge sector with some $66 billion USD being produced on a daily basis. It’s a figure that is projected to rise to around $127 billion by 2027 and a significant proportion of those numbers are produced via mobile play.
Another factor in the increase in revenue comes from a change of legislation in North America. Relaxation of stricter gambling laws has allowed online casinos in the West to incept and thrive in the current climate. Online casino gaming in Canada is very popular, with many Canadians playing casino games with offshore providers. However, the development of online casino gaming in the US is boosting the casino market further.
Many states in the US have legalized online sports betting and the casino industry is following in suit as part of a knock-on effect. Global revenue is rising sharply but why are online casinos threatening to take business away from the likes of Sony and Microsoft?
Ease of Use
Many casino games transfer easily to mobile devices. Slots are especially popular online, and these are fast and fun titles where results come along in an instant. Slot machines only need to fill up a small screen, so they are perfect for mobile play.
Poker and other card games are also played extensively via mobile. Users do not need the kind of big screen experience that gamers will often require so the question of optimum quality sound and graphics is not such an issue.
For this reason, online casino operators are picking up a great deal of business during customer downtime. On the train, waiting in a bar and other situations while on the move offer perfect opportunities to get the phone out and play a few poker hands or take some spins on the slots.
It’s not a scenario where big screens and headsets are suitable. The big console developers may not be interested in competing with the mobile market, but they are losing a share of the revenue here.
Console sales dropped in June 2020 before the latest releases but there are other ways in which to fight back.
It’s certain that both sectors are looking to new innovations and one area that is expected to have a big impact in the near future is Virtual Reality. VR has been slower to catch on than the developers had hoped, and this could be down to cost and the unwieldy nature of the equipment.
Progress has been made in both areas and it’s easy to see how virtual reality can positively impact the video game industry. VR can take gamers right into the battle arena in order to tackle their opponents in ever-more thrilling scenarios.
It’s true that other industries can take advantage of virtual reality but not in such a thrilling fashion. Whatever happens, we can be sure that the next editions of Xbox and PlayStation will offer significant upgrades on the 2020 releases. The war between Sony and Microsoft will rage on but will those consoles be enough to keep away competition from other industries?