Published on October 15th, 2014 | by gareth0
How Sony and Microsoft Use A Riverboat Gamblers Approach To 2015 And Beyond
Recently we did an article on what Microsoft and Sony will likely do to prepare for the upcoming holiday shopping season. No sooner had we posted the article, then ads for Sunset Overdrive began to appear on television and reviews for PlayStation TV began to arrive online. With this in mind, I thought it be interesting to look at 2015 and see what directions each company might take. Naturally the success or failure of sales during the upcoming holiday season may have a big impact upon this but it is also important to note that each company may look at their long-term strategy differently. Sony will likely do the very Japanese approach of looking at the overall big picture several years down the road where fluctuations can and will happen along the way. They had the luxury to do this thanks to a decent sized lead in their overall consul sales where is Microsoft needs to make sure to have as many strong quarters in a row as possible as they still have to contend with some earlier PR missteps even though they have made great strides in recent months.
Sony seems to be taking a counterpunch her approach and are holding off many of their big guns until 2015. The Order 1886, Until Dawn, Bloodborne, and others are scheduled to come out in the early part of 2015, where Microsoft has Halo 5 set for 2015 as its signature title. Now of course I’m not so naïve as to expect that there will be other titles announced and for my sake of discussion I am only looking at the console specific exclusives.
There is the consumer electronic show in January but for the most part there really isn’t a showcase for announcements until June when E3 rolls around. Sony did buck this trend by announcing the PlayStation 4 in February last year and rumors are swirling of systems with larger capacity hard drives, new peripherals and features, and of course new games.
So where does this leave gamers? Right now the focus will be on the upcoming few months where both manufacturers will want to entice you to buy their consoles, peripherals, and games and I would expect Sony to possibly start pushing their early 2015 releases and encouraging people to use their gift cards and holiday money to prepurchase games.
While this is all common sense business one has to wonder what the big surprises that lay ahead will be. I do not for a minute think both companies are content to go into the next two quarters essentially with a status quo approach of this is what we are, this is what’s coming, you should bias approach. There’s too much on the line in terms of long and short term revenue as well as market positioning and plain old bragging rights for both sides to be content with their current approach. This is not to say that both companies are not moving forward in a positive direction, rather it is to point out that consumers are being inundated with several potentially awesome titles over the next few months. For those that do not play on a PC, titles such as Far Cry 4, Assassins Creed Unity, and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, to say nothing of recently released titles like Alien Isolation and The Evil Within will have a large impact on the decision as to which system to buy for many consumers. I am not turn this into a battle of frame rate and resolution but objectively speaking most consumers believe that Sony has the edge in being able to provide 1080 resolution and 60fps more often than Microsoft does with AAA titles.
Sony tends not to tout the specs of their overall system performance in their ads which is smart because things change all the time and one key software update can close the gap in performance quickly.
Bundles, bonus content. pricing, and consumer enthusiasm are a key part not only to this upcoming shopping season but for the long-term picture. That is business 101 plain and simple. It will be curious to see if Sony’s 2.0 firmware update which is supposed to include many of the sharing features as well as YouTube access will be as impactful as some people believe. For now, both companies are like two riverboat gamblers locked in an icy stare and placing their cards on the table. Both have something else up their sleeves, the other side knows it, and they like the consumers are simply waiting for one side to show their whole card first.