If one thing is clear, is that the PlayStation 4 is the undisputed leader of this console generation, having outsold its rivals like the Xbox One by millions of units. And the other Japanese contender, the Nintendo Wii U, is surely out of the race now, as it is rumoured that Nintendo will finally replace the ill-fated console with the still under wraps NX next year. So it’s basically a two horse race now between Sony’s PS4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One, a race that the PS4 appears to have won already. But can the Xbox One pull up a miracle and catch up with the indomitable PS4?
To many, the idea that the Xbox One can still catch up with Sony’s PS4 might seem ludicrous. After all, Sony’s machine has sold a whopping 30 million units to date, while Microsoft’s console is probably sitting at half that number. But one must bear in mind that Sony’s PS3 was in a similar position the last generation. The PS3 launched at the rather steep price of $599 in the U.S., and Sony even had to redesign the console and offer consumers a slimmer version of the PS3 because the original machine was so bulky.
And at one point the Xbox 360 was ahead by many millions of units, and its lead appeared unassailable. And yet the PS3 ended up catching up with it 5 years after its November 2006 release, with both machines selling close to 80 million units by the time the last-gen was over in late 2013. So perhaps the Xbox One can accomplish the same feat this generation and still catch up with Sony’s world-conquering PS4.
This will require that Microsoft completely adopt a “gamers first” focus, and abandon all pretensions of marketing the Xbox One as a multimedia machine, which is what it tried to do originally. It was the multimedia angle plus the bundled Kinect device that made the machine lose favour with gamers, also its steep price of $499 in the U.S. did not help matters either. Actually this was the same mistake Sony made with the PS3 the previous generation, emphasizing its multimedia capabilities and Blu-Ray drive instead of just focusing on the games, and originally selling the console at too dear a price.
But fortunately Microsoft has reversed course now and the Xbox One now not only sports a much better gaming-focused interface based on Windows 10, but also backwards compatibility with a growing list of old Xbox 360 games, with the latter being a quite stupendous feature for many gamers.
So while many pundits are writing off the Xbox One right now, rumours of its death might be greatly exaggerated. Perhaps Microsoft’s machine can still pull off a comeback, and taking into account the strong slew of exclusive games that have debuted on the Xbox One this holiday season, including the great Halo 5: Guardians, it’s clear that the console race this generation is still far from over.