Yes, we're brave enough to tackle the console wars. For this article, I'm going to focus specifically on Xbox and Playstation. Right now, it's pretty fair to say Sony has a distinguishable lead over Microsoft. The biggest indicator is sales. In lifetime sales of the current generation consoles, Playstation 4 and Xbox One, Sony is nearly doubling Microsoft. The Xbox One weighs in at about 28 million units sold as of February, 2017 while the Playstation 4 boasts an impressive 55 million in the same time. But why?
Console Wars Or Exclusives Wars?
The amount of, and quality of, exclusives is one of my favorite theories as to why the PS4 is spanking Xbox so bad. (Sorry Xboxers, I'm with you, Gamertag on Live: NecroMDK, look me up). Sony has been consistently getting exclusivity on not only more games, but better games. Also, they pursue marketing contracts far more aggressively, this is where a game that isn't necessarily an exclusive, will display the Playstation splash screen before or after their ads or the logo.
Sure, Xbox has some great exclusives such as Forza or Gears of War, but they just can't keep up with the exclusives Playstation has. Let's look at the best selling exclusives on both consoles in 2016:
Gears Of War 4
#1 Selling Xbox Exclusive
(2.66 million Copies)
#4 Selling Game on Xbox
Uncharted 4: A Thiefs End
#1 Selling PS4 Exclusive
(8.36 million Copies)
#2 Selling Game on Playstation
So just going off of these basic stats, Uncharted whooped Gears in terms of unit sales. Now as I'm sure my Xbox brethren are screaming at their computer screens at this point, yes, Uncharted came out a whole 6 months prior to Gears. Uncharted was released in May of 2016 while Gears didn't come out until October. But even if we normalize for this, Uncharted still beat out Gears by over a million copies.
Now I'm not saying which game is better *caugh* GEARS *caugh*. Just like my poorly hidden plug for gears there, everyone has their own opinion and beauty is, after all, in the eyes of the beholder. But there is a story to be told here, Playstation is securing more popular exclusives, not better, but more popular. So Playstation wins in terms of quality for the most part, but Xbox as gotta be beating them in quantity;
Who Has The MOST Exclusives
Nope. Sorry Xboxers, it's not even close in terms of the sheer amount of exclusives being released on each console. In terms of major titles released in 2016, the Playstation 4 boasted an impressive 26 major exclusives games. Xbox on the other hand came in with only 10. So this shows that Sony is not only securing better exclusives, they're securing more of them!
This is a huge draw for perspective buyers, "why would I spend money on this console when that one brings 2.5x the exclusives?". Sure, like myself, some of us are diehard Gears fans, so of course we're going to pick the Xbox. But the quantity of games that Playstation offers exclusively increases the odds that the buyer is going to find a title that's going to drive their choice.
So we've looked at how popular each consoles exclusives are, as well as which one brings more exclusives. Let's look at what else comes into play.
Console Wars: Performance
So we've tackled exclusives, what about performance? In a 2015 Nielsen study, they attempted to dive into the driving factors as to why gamers pick the console they do. The leading answer for Xbox One was Brand. Simply put, Xbox gamer's are loyal, with over 76% sticking with the console vs 66% of Plastation 4 owners having previously owned the Playstation 3.
The leading answer for Playstation however, was "Better Resolution". Now for players like myself who care more about gameplay than pretty graphics (although Skyrim's landscapes have mesmerized me at times), we forget that there is a whole slew of players that actually do care about graphics performance. One of the biggest things PS4 has over Xbox in the console war is 4k gaming.
In terms of processing power, and raw computing power, it's not too far off, although Playstation does come off with a bit of an edge:
- CPU: 1.75GHz, 8 core x86 processor
- RAM: 8GB DDR3 Clocked at 2133MHz
- 853 MHz clock speed
- 768 Shader Cores
- 1.31 TFLOPS
- CPU: 2.5GHZ, 8 Core, AMD x86 processor
- RAM: 8GB DDR5 Clocked at 5500MHz
- 1154 Shader Cores
- 1.84 TFLOPS
So basically what (I'm told) all this technical stuff means is that the Playstation provides a faster processing and better overall graphics. Which means that the system can handle 4K gaming without horrible frame rates while the Xbox One generally cannot.
In The End...
At the end of the day, most gamers could care less about the idea of the console wars when they walk into the store to by a system. As stated, what's familiar is going to play a big part. On top of that, exclusives come into play in a big way and Playstation can largely attribute their stunning lead to this. When you couple those exclusives with superior specs, you get a massive lead over the competition.
We are heading into a new generation of console's so who knows, the Xbox Scorpio may be enough to pull ahead when it comes to specs. After all, this is one of the biggest reasons people buy the Playstation 4. Leveling that playing field can only help Microsoft. The spec's alone won't be enough to close the gap. Microsoft needs to do a better job of courting exclusive content if they really want to snatch Sony's market share.
Note: we didn't go into some of the other factors like pricing because it just doesn't seem to rank anywhere in terms of decision making in any serious way. The $115 dollar difference between the two systems isn't going to play a huge role when it comes to deciding which console one owns for the next 3-5 years. Additionally, sorry for leaving you out Nintendo. We'll get you in there next time!
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