Generation 8 Console Wars: Only One Can Win!

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Sony Interactive Entertainment LLC

The New Playstation 5, and some of it’s Accessories.

Although it may seem like the Xbox has always been the most popular console for High Schoolers to use, the actual sales may surprise you. Since the release of the Xbox, it has not outsold the Playstation, usually due to its higher price point. Most people would not think this to be true to the seemingly huge population of people that only own an Xbox, and would not get a Playstation, but it is quite the opposite. The closest Xbox has gotten to outselling the Playstation was with the Xbox 360, and still was short by over 3 million consoles. The reputation of Xbox as the higher quality product is quickly diminishing, and Playstation is beginning to be seen as just as high quality with a cheaper price tag. Because of this, Xbox is taking action to correct it. The newest console, the Xbox Series X, has a budget model set at a price lower than that of the Playstation 5’s own budget model. This is in order to show that they can make a cheaper console as well.

The newest example of console wars that is going on is the Xbox one and the Playstation 4. The Xbox was disappointing to consumers early on, and was looked at as mostly a DVD player, and not much else. The brand’s flagship games continued to decline in quality, and sales were low. This is when Playstation jumped in to take full advantage of the weakness. They launched with promises of backwards compatibility, meaning that you could play previous generation’s Playstation games on it, which was exciting for consumers. This combination with games like “Need for Speed”, and “Knack”, allowed the Playstation to rocket ahead of the Xbox, and outsell it by 60 million consoles.

As of Dec. 11, 2020, The playstation 5 is the newest leader of the console wars, having sold nearly 2.5 million consoles already! Xbox is roughly one million consoles behind, but there may be a few reasons for this that we can explain. For starters, the PS5 is having less supply shortages than the Series X, although it still is having problems with the high demand. Due to quarantine, the sales of consoles have greatly increased, and this factor was not taken into consideration for either company, as supply is not available worldwide. Similar consoles like the Nintendo Switch have been facing this problem, and Sony and Microsoft have not looked to the switch as a gauge to measure the market at the moment as they should have.

The second problem is with the launch titles present on both consoles. Playstation has games like “Spiderman: Miles Morales”, and “Dauntless” which are immersive open world games, as well as games made for the PS4 like “God of War”. These games pull you into their worlds, and make sure that you cannot leave without having fun first. Xbox, though, had a much rougher launch, with its largest headline game being “Halo Infinite” which disinterested fans due to the decreasing quality of Halo games recently. The life of a console, and its sales in general can usually be estimated from its launch, and if that holds true as it has done in the past, the PS5 will continue to outsell the Xbox series X.

Xbox Series X, and Xbox Series S (videogamechronicles.com)

Look back at the history of consoles though, and a similar story will be told. Imagine this: the year is 1995, and you are about to find yourself in a whole new world, brought to you by futuristic immersive technology. Thanks to the new technology brought in the Playstation one, there are worlds where anything is possible! You can be a futuristic race car driver, an NBA player, a man who has hands that don’t connect to his torso, and so much more. That is what the Sega Saturn, Playstation, and Nintendo 64 of video games consoles represent to people. These consoles champion a movement to the third dimension. They show us that more is possible with even less material when you are using cutting edge technology.

After a deal went wrong between Sony and Nintendo, a project that was previously in development was cancelled, and Sony was thrown to the curb. This would not be the end for Sony though, as they had just learned a lot about the video game industry, and had the technology to act on what they had learned. Going back to 1995, the Playstation had just been revealed to the world, and at its heart was the disk technology they had learned from working with Nintendo. Due to the increased technology, Sony was able to do things that were almost unheard of. Games like Rayman, where you follow the main character of the same name in his adventures to defeat a virus, were possible that wouldn’t have been on a cartridge thanks to the extra storage provided. The technology blew people away! Games like “Final Fantasy VII”, “Metal Gear Solid”, and even more niche games like “Parappa The Rapper,” formed the foundation of the console. This allowed for Sony to dive deeper with their next console that broke sales records at the time, and is still the best-selling video game console of all time!

Microsoft started their voyage into the video game market with the release of the original Xbox in 2001, alongside the genre defining first person shooter game, “Halo: Combat Evolved”. The Xbox was also the first American made console since the Atari Jaguar in 1996. The console was released to compete with Playstation’s next console, the Playstation 2, and would be outsold by 5 fold. This was not a failure to Microsoft though, as the Xbox was just an attempt to break into the living rooms of families, because they already made a name for themselves in the computer room with their windows PCs. Many people have fond memories of games on the original Xbox.

All this is in reference to show how important the launch of a new console can be. New consoles aren’t just another product that hits the market, but instead something that will shape how people spend their time until the next console comes out, and sometimes even after that. A new launch will affect school, work, and even just the day to day life of most people, and the recognition it gets is too low for the effect it has. The effect is even more drastic on the console itself though, as the launch is a good teller of what the system has coming in its future. The main exception is the Playstation 3, which started out as a failure. With future remodels, the Playstation 3 became slimmer and cheaper, not to mention the increase in game quality and quantity.

I do see video games as being an outlet for students. Whether it is to unwind and relieve stress or to connect with friends , especially right now, when we can’t socialize in person, I think video games can be a useful coping mechanism for students.”

— Mrs. Belsky

Effects of the consoles are seen not only among students and their friends, but school staff too. When asked what she thought about the new consoles and their effect, BHS school counselor Mrs. Belsky, replied, “I do see video games as being an outlet for students. Whether it is to unwind and relieve stress or to connect with friends , especially right now, when we can’t socialize in person, I think video games can be a useful coping mechanism for students.”

However, Belsky went on to explain that not all effects of a new console or games in general are positive. She stated, “but, like any hobby or interest, everything in moderation. So, if video games are impacting a student’s ability to function in the world — i.e. getting enough sleep, practicing good hygiene, connecting with peers and family, keeping up with schoolwork — then, there is a problem.”

Consoles are big news for not just people who love games, but for anyone who knows someone who likes games at all. They represent a whole new generation, and new worlds opening up. The technology behind them is incredible, and no matter what company you support, the competition between them drives the other to do amazing things! Looking back on the first E3, the difference is astounding. Before, Video games were thought to not be able to carry an entire convention on their own, but now, there is no doubt they can. Games are a part of society that cannot be removed now. Love them or hate them, Sony and Microsoft make some of the best gaming technology out there!