Tuesday, August 4

Thanks Microsoft, you brought competition

Long gone are the days when one company dominated a Generation. That era seem so distant in light of what is occurring today. Exclusives were an easy grab, but now, it’s more a decision of positioning one’s self rather than console or brand loyalty. No more can they be overconfident, nor can they overlook the competition; it’s a fierce battle for dominance. But more and more with each passing day, week, and year, what I’m seeing is, there will be no runaway winner this time around, (exclude Nintendo). Why? Well you would have to rally back 4years into the past.

On November 4th 2005 Microsoft launched the then New Xbox360 and gave themselves a year’s head start on Sony, the industry’s leader at the time. Although the console was half baked, (RROD) it was the single most important decision the software giant made. One thing is sure, if Sony and Microsoft had launched their systems simultaneously there is no doubt in my mind, Sony would be in the lead. But that did not happen and a year can be very long, and over at Sony headquarters, I could only imagine how painstakingly long that year was. Microsoft gained massive momentum in the United States and even the UK. Then the PS3 came out swinging, the price tag was so high that only the hardcore Sony fans (there are literally millions of them) dented their wallets in 2006. And so it began. The race was on, Nintendo also released in 2006 but it was and still is in a class of it’s own.

You know the history, so you don’t need classes on it. The doom and gloom Sony articles started rolling in and still flourish even today. Once ‘King of the Ring,’ Sony was left fighting for dear life. Wow! The seasons are so unpredictable; today you rule, tomorrow you’re in jail? Yeah, things change that fast. As you may know, I recently wrote an editorial asking the question “Is Microsoft dipping in too much?” I also listed some of the many fronts that the company is waging war on. One of them was the Xbox360, a battle I hope they continue. Not because I want Sony to suffer, on the contrary I want them to succeed, but I also want innovation. Microsoft is changing the rules hence, forcing Sony to get its act together (which in many ways they have) and raw back like the lion it is. The pressure only mounted from then forward and today we’re in an all out war with the giants flinging mud all over each other. Fanboys have also joined the fray. It’s silly, guys pitching war against each other all in the name of their favorite company. Sony on one side, Microsoft on the other, Nintendo is no where to be found; they’re making way too much money to jump in this dirty fight. Backroom deals are being forged, long time exclusives to one console suddenly lands on the competition’s brand first. Gamers are left wandering WTH? (what the hec). DLC is now the norm with one system receiving the goodies before the other, or one does not receive any at all. The competition is so stiff you wander sometimes have these companies lost their way? No, they’ve not lost it, actually it’s the opposite. I think finally they get it. If you want to reign you must fight vehemently for it. You want the top spot, well get dirty and prove yourself to us, the gamers. Create the best experiences possible, give us the best you have to offer in every department. If you don’t the other company will, it’s a win-win situation for gamers. And in my humble opinion, it should never cease.

If Microsoft fails to get better, then Sony will take over, and if Sony fails in its efforts to revamp its strategies, Microsoft will win this time around. The way I see it is, if you have no competition then there’s not a way to test your endurance. How can I know my speed if I never get challenged by someone as fast or faster than I am? Because of this brawl, the two giants are doing their best to woo us. Sony is pulling out all the stops with games like, Killzone 2, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, God of War 3, GT5, Heavy Rain, the list is long. PSN is a free service, where as, with the competition you have to pay. Microsoft on the other hand has Alan Wake, Halo ODST, Forza 3, Gears of War 2, and XBLA which is just one step above the PSN. Again the list is long. The titles I just listed are some examples of how far we’ve come in the gaming business, a testament to the results competition can yield. Don’t forget, in this case, we the consumers never lose. Sony and Microsoft are fighting over us while we sit and make judgments on which bandwagon to join.

So whether you’re on Sony or Microsoft’s side, you win. Because at the end of the day, they’re fighting for you.

08/04/09 Ernice Gilbert

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