PlayStation won the console war, is Xbox going to let Sony win the cloud gaming war too?

GraniteStateColin

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Jez, awesome article, as yours always are on these long-term strategic pieces. In fact, as primarily a marketing strategist with a background in the game industry myself, these are among my favorite articles on the Internet!

But one big question: is Sony actually "beating" Microsoft in terms of number of cloud-based/streaming gamers, or just a concern that based on the features and capabilities that they're testing and announcing, they COULD take that lead? I couldn't determine this difference from the article and it seems like an important distinction. (I do agree that letting Sony beat them to cloud-play on purchased games is a serious mistake.)

Keep in mind that Microsoft is probably betting a lot on the Starfield launch. They've shortened the $1 GamePass trial, clearly in an effort to better monetize GamePass with this launch. I suspect shortly after launch (after ensuring no problems that could lead to a PR problem like they had with Redfall or CDPR had with Cyberpunk), they will also market Xbox as the home of Starfield in hope of avoiding that 3:1 PS to Xbox sales ratio you mentioned.

IF (big if unfortunately), MS doesn't screw things up, I'm optimistic they are well positioned to be the focus of most gaming press over the next few years with all the 1st party games in their pipeline and the general awareness of GamePass. Then, they just need to convert that mindshare into console sales.
 

GraniteStateColin

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Um, PlayStation and Xbox lost the console war. Nintendo won.

First, unless a company quits altogether, like Sega and Atari did, they're still in the fight, which applies to both Sony and MS. That means, none of them have won or lost the "console war," beyond sales figures in the current generation. Recall that Xbox 360 won that generation over the PS3, at least at the time (ironically, I thought the PS3 was the better console with its built-in Blu-Ray drive).

Second, Nintendo is not really a direct competitor to MS or Sony (they are much more direct competitors to each other). Like mobile gaming, which is also huge in terms of volume, Nintendo doesn't have many of the giant hard-core games and is less of a serious game system (with a few notable exceptions like Nintendo's own Zelda games). That's not a criticism: The Nintendo Switch and the Wii before it are excellent and innovative systems, making brilliant decisions on where to invest in something new (motion controllers and novel methods of portability) and where to use mass-produced low-cost components (they are relatively low-powered from a CPU and GPU standpoint, which is why most bigger games don't bother with the Nintendo systems). They're simply not serious contenders for traditional hard-core gamers. For those gamers, the only real choices are PC, Xbox, or Sony.

To make an (imperfect) analogy, McDonalds does more business every day/month/year than, say, Applebees. Does that mean that McDonald's "beat Applebees" in the restaurant wars? No, because they're not directly competing. Customers considering Applebees might choose TGIFridays or Chilis instead (direct competitors), but not McDonalds.

The other thing to keep in mind in talking about the competition between these consoles is that Microsoft is looking at its gaming investments holistically, including how it monetizes gaming on Windows. Sony and Nintendo only have their consoles and software sales onto Microsoft's Windows systems, so the comparison metrics are not as clear as some would make them out to be.
 
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jediboy72

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The term "console war" is misleading and unnecessary. It implies a conflict between different platforms that offer diverse experiences and cater to different preferences. Most games are available on multiple platforms, so there is no clear winner or loser. Competition is healthy and beneficial for the industry and the consumers. There is no need to compare or criticize different platforms based on subjective opinions or biased media reports. I own both consoles and a gaming PC, and I enjoy them for different reasons. Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo are all successful and influential companies in their own ways, and they have different goals and strategies. The size or value of a company does not determine the quality or enjoyment of its products. Nintendo, for example, has sold over 122 million units of its Switch console since 2017, despite being less powerful or advanced than its competitors. The term "console war" is immature and divisive, and it should be abandoned.
 
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Well i guess the fact that sony's paying Microsoft for hosting services is kinda funny.
big deal an overpriced overpowered with exclusives that are outsold by 3rd party titles & was mostly bought by scalpers console has thrown in the towel. It's nice we finally got the storage expansion that the series x/s sorely needed nearly 2 years ago & supply for series x has gotten better as people's income has started to dwindle
 

Desynthesis

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It feels like this article is kind of burying the lead: it doesn't mention PSNow once (then again, maybe the answer is to pretend it never happened, like that console that came out between the Wii and the Switch, the Something-U? What was it?), and mentions about Gaikai for one sentence. Sony came to the cloud gaming space first, and failed catastrophically, despite every advantage and huge install base to work from. They failed so badly that they killed more than half the platforms PSNow was supported on (including all Sony televisions), then waited three years and killed it off completely when they felt no one was looking; that was the same service Sony advertised before their films in theaters as "the future is here, now."

Sony wishes PSNow did "only" as badly as Xbox One, because it might not have literally had to scrap everything and try again from the start like they did. They definitely have to try much, much harder than Microsoft has to, because they already have one huge failure under their belt (haha, great, now I sound like an article on this website!). Microsoft as pretty obviously imitated Sony trying to play catch-up extensively in the past (whether that will work, who knows)--considering the new Playstation library service is...basically just Game Pass without first-party games, that seems to be what they're trying to do.

I'm not sure "XCloud"/Xbox Game Streaming will ever really gain a foothold. I doubt the 30 million Game Pass subscribers (if we believe Sony's word in court, anyway) are drawn by its specific functionality. Meanwhile, Sony, the company with a massive lead in installation hardware (2 to 1, or even 3 to 1, just as the article said!) failed to reach even that modest level of acceptance, killed everything off, and is trying again. That sounds a lot less like "leapfrogging" and a lot more like "desperately playing catchup" (why, aside bragging rights, I'm not sure, and I'm not convinced Sony knows why either). Still, at long as its not the start-to-finish disaster PSNow was, PSN users will only benefit (so long as Sony doesn't give up again, but that's what refunds are for, right?).
 
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fjtorres5591

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1- How many 4K streams has Sony actually delivered?

Because the report I saw simply said *up to* 4K.

2- To how many customers? And where?

Because one report I saw had Sony bragging about 28 datacenters serving 15 metro areas. It is easy to serve out 4K if the only customers you serve have fiber to the house. As of last feb GamePass included 40 countries including quite a few without bleeding edge broadband. That's a wee bit more than 15 metro areas.

3- How many day one titles?

Unless Sony is suddenly up the cash from the release month model, windowing new releases out of their subscrition for a year or two is hardly a compelling reason to adopt their grudging ME-2 service.

4- Finally, when? When they ship the mythical PS5 PRO, perchance? 2024? 25?

What sony is really saying is "we can't match GAME PASS today but if you wait a bit, we'll have something much better. Really. It's coming! Real. Soon. Now."

This announcement smacks of IBM account control, circa 1970, when IBM Reps invented the practice of promising great wonders "coming soon", aka vaporware, as a way to freeze the market (keep their installed base from defecting to newer, better products) until they could catch up.

(Look up the terms online. PC users long ago learned to ignore grand pronouncements from trailing edge-tech companies until their product actually shipped. Which in most cases it never did; it was just arm waving and pure vapor to obscure their bare catalog.)
 
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fdruid

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Sorry but this reads as a doomsayer, pessimistic or outright pro-Sony take. Sony is still coming way from behind on cloud despite all their promises, and Xbox has a consistent presence on the cloud, small as it might be. Sony is at zero on cloud. Or as someone else points, after scrapping their very real previous failures, they're starting at a negative.
If anything, something to read about this supposedly big push on cloud by Sony is that again they're following Microsoft's lead, with yet another thing they said they wouldn't do. Like the discless console. Like them clumsily trying to copy Game Pass in their new ripoff of a service.
Also having a limited amount of "supported" games to buy for cloud play? Hardly a threat. Especially since the few hit games that Sony waves around are always the same. The same that they put on their GP clone and everyone already bought.

This is all a bit appalling to read from industry analysts or even xbox fans, IMHO they're giving too much credit to Sony, and by reacting like this, they're actually empowering them.
 

pjmlp

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The continous jabs at Apple and Google app stores are getting tiring, as if Microsoft would do any different had Windows Phone actually had a place in the market.

They failed to make it happen, partially due to how it was incredible mismanaged, with broken promises all the time, including which devices would get 8.1 support, only to be dropped at last minute.

While on the developer side, Windows Phone 8 was 100% incompatibile with Windows Phone 7 development stack, Windows 8.1 and Window 10, each one of them requiring additional rewrites, to the point everyone lost interest, in doing yet another rewrite for such tiny market.

Now we get to read continous complains about the bad kids in the block, as if the underdog would behave any differently, given the opportunity to join one of the gangs.
 

Jez Corden

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It feels like this article is kind of burying the lead: it doesn't mention PSNow once (then again, maybe the answer is to pretend it never happened, like that console that came out between the Wii and the Switch, the Something-U? What was it?), and mentions about Gaikai for one sentence. Sony came to the cloud gaming space first, and failed catastrophically, despite every advantage and huge install base to work from. They failed so badly that they killed more than half the platforms PSNow was supported on (including all Sony televisions), then waited three years and killed it off completely when they felt no one was looking; that was the same service Sony advertised before their films in theaters as "the future is here, now."

Sony wishes PSNow did "only" as badly as Xbox One, because it might not have literally had to scrap everything and try again from the start like they did. They definitely have to try much, much harder than Microsoft has to, because they already have one huge failure under their belt (haha, great, now I sound like an article on this website!). Microsoft as pretty obviously imitated Sony trying to play catch-up extensively in the past (whether that will work, who knows)--considering the new Playstation library service is...basically just Game Pass without first-party games, that seems to be what they're trying to do.

I'm not sure "XCloud"/Xbox Game Streaming will ever really gain a foothold. I doubt the 30 million Game Pass subscribers (if we believe Sony's word in court, anyway) are drawn by its specific functionality. Meanwhile, Sony, the company with a massive lead in installation hardware (2 to 1, or even 3 to 1, just as the article said!) failed to reach even that modest level of acceptance, killed everything off, and is trying again. That sounds a lot less like "leapfrogging" and a lot more like "desperately playing catchup" (why, aside bragging rights, I'm not sure, and I'm not convinced Sony knows why either). Still, at long as its not the start-to-finish disaster PSNow was, PSN users will only benefit (so long as Sony doesn't give up again, but that's what refunds are for, right?).
PS Now is rebranded to PS Plus... maybe I should've clarified that. PS Now doesn't exist anymore as a brand.
 

naddy69

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“Apple and Google's duopolistic control over how developers can monetize and grow businesses on their closed, anti-competitive mobile platforms effectively precludes Microsoft in particular from growing a viable catalog-based gaming business.”

Huh? Closed? Anti-competitive? They compete with each other. Anyone is welcome. That MS STILL can’t compete in phones - with multiple crappy offerings, BTW - is not the fault of Apple and Google.

Stop blaming others for Microsoft’s many failures. MS is not some tiny startup that can’t get any traction because of Big Bad Apple and Google.

There are PLENTY of phone options available. Do we REALLY need an Android phone from MS?

How about IBM? Should Toyota start selling Android phones?
 

chris9465

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I hate Microsoft's new Xbox Cloud GamePass business model.

I've been a huge Xbox fan, for over 20plus Years. Its like thinking You've been married over 20yrs created great memories getting my butt kicked by my son on Shrek and Mario Cart had some tough times (red ring) etc

Now out of Nowhere the Xbox Series X is absolutely worthless meaningless & useless and your wife is packing her things and headed to the cloud; now everyone gets a piece instead of native hardware she's going all natives hardware, anywhere everyone, can play at once.

Because That always works.
Am the broken hearted husband Microsoft is the Jodi that stole my Wife and gave her to the Division.
HAHAHA HAHAHAHA

I upgraded my Command & Conquer PC with a new rig, bought a PS5, and realized who needs last gen graphics on a lagging Paid GamePass Cloud service when there's real Next Gen Games out there to be played.

I still hate the the PlayStation UI and Controller, the Games look and play Awesome. My Series X is now, just a streaming box for Netflix & YouTube. Not totally useless but nowhere near its potential.
 

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