Or to be more exact: why? With the new generation of consoles almost ready to be fully unleashed on the world, evidence suggests that the question of ‘why’ is much more pertinent that what the new Playstation and Xbox have to offer.
The evidence comes in the form of popular Ted Talk-er Simon Sinek. He explains (very effectively) which components of what, how and why companies offer influence us as consumers – breaking it down into the biological impact these have on us. This is the ‘gut feeling’ if you will. You can check out Simon’s work here:
If we rewind to the reveals of the Xbox One and PS4, Xbox did exactly what Simon states companies shouldn’t: they focused on what the multimedia Xbox could do and the reaction was a resounding ‘meh’. Check out the part of his lecture where he discusses TiVo; swap this for the word ‘Xbox’ and the similarities are stark. Infamously, Sony captivated on this situation with their powerful ‘this is how we share games’ line on stage. This was followed with the ‘This is for the Players’ slogan and we were all instantly clear on why we needed a PS4.
In 2020, Xbox (unlike TiVo) is fighting back with its vast array of consumer-friendly moves: Game Pass, backwards compatibility and the free patching of older games to utilise Xbox One X. In contrast to the start of the current generation, the ‘why’ is much clearer. Microsoft wants you to play your games with them; they want you to be able to play all of your games with them and – as has been well publicised – they don’t care where you play them. This point is reinforced by ‘ next generation’ Xbox exclusives being playable on Xbox Games Pass, on Xbox One as well as the new console. If this extends to the full library, this may have longer-reaching ramifications on the industry.
If third party games take this approach, simply being boxed and marketed as an ‘Xbox’ game, future-proof conscious consumers may jump into the Xbox ecosystem. Again, contrast with the start of the current generation when games such as Assassin’s Creed Black Flag launched on Xbox 360, then later on Xbox One. Later, games such as Grand Theft Auto 5 were remastered on the Xbox One, rendering the original almost obsolete. If games such as these ship with one, scalable SKU, Xbox may become a money-savvy choice, even for gamers entrenched in Playstation’s ecosystem. If Sony launch with Playstation 5 only versions of current generation games, they could be forced to pivot and follow Microsoft’s lead. A stark turnaround from what Microsoft had to do at the start of Xbox One’s lifespan. Similarly, the need for Nintendo Switch may be redundant if Project X Cloud and Game Pass finally come to the system. Which ever company comes out on top, will certainly be the ones who give us the ‘why’.