The PlayStation vs Xbox or sony vs microsoft rivalry is often less talked about in India. The rivalry can also be looked at as an interesting case study about learning from failures.
When the PlayStation 2 was launched it was seen as a threat to Microsoft’s products thinking that PlayStation 2 would become the main device to bring internet into people’s home and would be a threat to Microsoft’s software supremacy. In order to maintain Microsoft’s software dominance in homes of people Bill Gates decided to partner up with Sony in order to integrate its software with Sony’s systems. During the early 2000s Microsoft used to have a different image, where the company’s image was scarred with anti-competitive lawsuit and many companies were reluctant to partner up with Microsoft after seeing how it took over IBM’s business. Due to Microsoft’s image, Bill Gates’s offer to partner up with Sony was rejected.
So Microsoft decided to roll out its own consoles and tried to compete with Sony’s PlayStation. It was Microsoft’s first attempt at rolling out its own hardware and…. The result wasn’t the best.
The sales of the first ever Xbox console were not the best owing to the size of the controller, the console being larger than the PlayStation and unlike Sony, Microsoft released their first Xbox console off-season. If these reasons were not enough, to make matter worse there weren’t enough popular titles made for the Xbox consoles because developers were hesitant to make games for Xbox due to its lower adoption as compared to the adoption of the PlayStation console, and we all know how dominant and iconic the PlayStation 2 was for the early 2000s era of games.
Sony’s PlayStation 2 dominated the market share during the launch of Xbox and it was a clear defeat for Xbox.
Learning from the mistakes of the past this time Xbox ensured that it had as many popular titles ported to its console and timed their release as per the season and managed to get a good boost in sales with the famous Xbox 360 and for the first time Xbox was seen competing with the PlayStation, although PlayStation 3’s sales were greater than Xbox 360, they managed to improve their sales and adoption paving the way for developers to start porting more games for the Xbox consoles.
The recent success of Xbox 360 won’t get carried when PS4 and Xbox One got released because Sony had better understanding of the market and focused more on gaming as compared to the Xbox One where Microsoft focused on integrating its services like Skype with console aside from being considerably more expensive than PS4 and Sony again managed to beat the Xbox and this time with a big difference in sales.
Turning of the tables:
PS5 as well as the Xbox Series X/S saw a highly significant decline in sales due to Covid-19 pandemic as well as the global semiconductor shortage. But this became more beneficial for Microsoft since it gave them an opportunity to promote their cloud gaming services as well as the Xbox Game Pass where you would get access to play a collection of the AAA and indie titles for a monthly subscription fee and the Game Pass was available for PC as well. What was interesting in the E3 conference was the step up by Microsoft since this time they managed to partner up with many studios and as per rumours they will be acquiring 5 more studios and bring their games on Xbox Game Pass on the very first day and when the Xbox Game Pass is coupled with their cloud gaming services it makes a deadly combination because you can play AAA titles like Halo on you phone while using the Xbox controller, since the sales had a general decline, despite PS5 having higher sales Microsoft’s services seem to integrate well with the new post pandemic gaming ecosystem but who will eventually win his round?
Although this round seems to be inclined towards Microsoft, who wins the final battle is something only time can tell. Do comment with your views on this rivalry battle.