Consumer opinion matters. This is a fact many of us take as common sense. Microsoft however learned the hard way at this years E3 that the consumer truly is king.
In a conference that has caused bewilderment and consternation worldwide Microsoft put on one of their best E3 showings in years in term of exclusive content but shocked many with a decision to impose restrictive DRM on used games and an always connected policy that rules out many areas of the developing world, such as Brazil – which has been a huge market for the 360.
Their comments regarding negative feedback don’t seem to have gone down well with the gaming community either as is evidenced in this article.
On the flipside Sony put on a relatively mediocre showing in terms of new content showing a handful of titles, most of which we’ve seen before. What they did however was throw a direct attack at Microsofts new policies (and pricepoint) with a handful of clever jibes and a pretty hilarious instructional video demoing the PS4’s game sharing functionality. To many Sony have “won” E3… but they didn’t win it in the traditional sense.
They didn’t showcase much more than Microsoft but what they did was show gamers worldwide that consumer opinion matters. The applause throughout the conference center was rapturous on more than one occasion, particularly in reference to the new consoles incredibly reasonable entry price of 399 euros. Many of the features across the new platforms are ubiquitous – for example the sharing functionality which will be handled by Twitch for the Xbox One and Ustream for the PS4.
PS4 has the upper hand on the cloud computing front with David Perry and Gaikai behind them offering a full back catalogue of PS3, PS2 and PS1 titles and the ability to play your games as they download. Xbox One showed off some pretty cool entertainment features but unfortunately these seemed to bring gamers to assume (incorrectly) that the XBONE (as it’s being called) is little more than a 500 euro media center.
The times we live in mean that the outcome of this war is far from decided – instead this was the early skirmishes in the most vicious console war since the Sega/Nintendo era. Microsoft have the financial security and business savvy to potentially turn this debacle around but for many gamers it will be an uphill struggle. Sony on the other hand need to deliver on the content front now that they have a large portion of the gaming world eating out of their palm.
It’s an interesting and exciting time to be a gamer and who knows what we will be saying come E3 2014. Time will tell.
Check out the Sony Conference over here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DmoZAPDV3ew
And the Microsoft Conference here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fSXicnwHgss
P.S – Check out this poll over on IGN to see how gamers feel at this early stage of the console war in the eight generation.