Why the console war will be different this time …

Do you already feel a little bit of anticipation? Yeah, the next generation of consoles is coming soon! In winter 2020 Sony and Microsoft will get back into the ring and mix up the console market with the Playstation 5 and the Xbox Series X. For months now, both manufacturers have been fueling the greedy community with buzzwords and technical bells and whistles: Teraflops, NVME SSD and many other terms are haunted the net and are fueling discussions among potential buyers.

But what goes down in the midst of the hype: the console war! The old rivalry between Sony and Microsoft. Because although Playstation 5 (buy now) and Xbox Series X apparently both belong to the species "video game console", so their creators want completely different things. Sony follows the traditional path and relies on strong exclusive titles when marketing the Playstation 5. Microsoft, on the other hand, is focusing more and more on Game Pass and wants to offer games a completely different stage.

Is that why the console war is canceled? No, but it will be different from what we are used to from video game history.

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Gaming Netflix from Microsoft
What were the expectations of a new generation of consoles in the past? More performance, better graphics – and maybe a few new functions as the icing on the cake. Playstation 5 and Xbox Series X offer all of this. Far away from the teraflop tail comparison, the built-in SSD hard drives with their fast transfer rates should provide more convenience.

But as nice as these gimmicks are, Microsoft is directing attention in a completely different direction. Although one owns prominent in-house productions with titles like Halo Infinite or Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2, exclusivity is not high on the priority list of the Redmond-based company. Microsoft doesn't want to exclude anyone like Xbox boss Phil Spencer in current interviews repeatedly stressed. That's why said blockbusters are not only coming for Xbox Series X, but also for Xbox One and PC. Buyers of the new game console receive better performance and stronger graphics as a "reward". Fair enough!

<img src = "https://www.pcgames.de/screenshots/960x/2020/08/konsolenkrieg03-pc-games.jpg" alt = "Halo Infinite is no longer a classic exclusive game. The sixth adventure of the Master Chief comes at the same time for Xbox One, Xbox Series X and PC.
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Halo Infinite is no longer a classic exclusive game. The sixth adventure of the Master Chief is coming simultaneously to Xbox One, Xbox Series X and PC.

Source: Microsoft

While the owners of the "old" platform were left in the lurch with earlier console changes, Microsoft wants to keep this basis. Further evidence for this: The Xbox One controller also works on the Xbox Series X. And as on the Xbox One, Microsoft is also insisting on its own gaming legacy with the successor and promises that thousands of games will be backward compatible by the time the new platform is launched. In other words, there is a high probability that you can continue to use your game library and benefit from the more powerful hardware of the Xbox Series X.

This trend is also being followed with the increasing expansion of the Xbox Game Pass subscription service. There you can access an impressive archive of over 100 games for little money – including exclusive titles such as Gears and Halo. Microsoft recently confirmed the integration of the cloud gaming service xCloud in the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. From September 15th, subscribers will be able to stream games directly to their Android smartphone or tablet – regardless of whether it is via WLAN or mobile. Even if currently Apple devices are still left out, Microsoft's strategy is clearly recognizable: The platform family is growing!

<img src = "https://www.pcgames.de/screenshots/960x/2020/08/konsolenkrieg02-pc-games.png" alt = "Marvel's Spider-Man Miles Morales is one of the most important exclusive titles for the Playstation 5. The game should be released in 2020.
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Marvel's Spider-Man Miles Morales is one of the most important exclusive titles for the Playstation 5. The game should appear in 2020.

Source: Sony Computer Entertainment

Sony invites you to the first party party

Sony drew attention – apart from the extravagant console design – above all with the strong software lineup. Exclusive games have always been the focus of the Playstation brand. Even at the end of the PS4 console cycle, the Last of Us Part 2 or Ghost of Tsushima were still top-class players. No wonder, then, that Sony highlighted precisely this direction in the run-up to the release of the Playstation 5: Horizon 2: Forbidden West, Gran Turismo 7, Marvel's Spider-Man Miles Morales and Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart are just a few prominent examples that the Playstation 5 should stand out from the supposed competition.

So Sony clearly follows the tried and tested maxim "software sells hardware", which has been absolutely right for over a quarter of a century. Sony has been ruling the home console market since the early PR disaster of Microsoft's Xbox One 112 million PS4 consoles sold and 45 million PS Plus subscribers. The Playstation 4 does not yet quite reach the range of a PS2 with 157.68 million units, but it is well ahead of Microsoft's Xbox One with around 47 million units (Status: end of March 2020).

<img src = "https://www.pcgames.de/screenshots/960x/2020/08/konsolenkrieg07-pc-games.jpg" alt = "The Playstation Dualsense controller has a completely different design than the Dualshock and has, among other things via adaptive triggers, an integrated microphone and a create button.
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The Playstation Dualsense Controller has a completely different design than the Dualshock and has, among other things, adaptive triggers, an integrated microphone and a create button.

Source: Sony Computer Entertainment

Incidentally, the announcements on hardware that have so far been sparsely published also suggest in this direction. Especially the features of the Dualsense controller, such as the adaptive trigger or the built-in microphone, fit more into the category of "expanding gaming experience". So it's no surprise that the good old Dualshock won't be compatible with PS5 games, but only works with PS4 games.

Console war? Yes, just different!
Well, this time the console war seems to degenerate into a fundamental question more than ever. After all, Microsoft and Sony offer completely different products – despite their similar hardware concept. While Microsoft is increasingly focusing on the expansion of the Xbox platform itself, Sony is putting more emphasis on the emotional experience of the players and is emphasizing the big adventures and brands from its own portfolio in advance.

And what does that mean for us players now? Ultimately, we have to decide which of these aspects is more important to us. Microsoft and Sony are approaching the new generation of consoles completely differently. It might not be a direct console war this time around, but we're still expecting a shot or two against the competition. With that in mind … fire at will!

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