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Microsoft's Lessons from the PlayStation 4 Reveal

joshuaboy Members Posts: 10,858 ✭✭✭✭✭

Sony has set the bar for a next-gen console unveiling. How can Microsoft raise it?

Sony should be applauded for a fantastic – and intensely focused – PlayStation 4 unveiling event this past week. Sure, the Quantic Dream and Media Molecule portions of the conference were misses, but by and large Sony kept its inaugural PS4 messaging focused on the core gamer and all of the core gamer-friendly services the PS4 offers – an effective strategy not only given that Sony needs to win those people back, but also because the early adopters who will pay the console’s asking price will be the dedicated, 🤬 players.

And now that it’s over, you can bet that Microsoft was watching intently and taking notes. Odds are it already has its presentation reasonably locked-in, but the company would be negligent – and not to mention foolish – if it wasn’t at least a bit reactionary to Sony’s event. After all, that’s the trade-off for going second: it can afford to be. On the one hand, Microsoft is in a position to tweak their Xbox 3 reveal based on Sony’s event. On the other, however, Sony has set a rather high bar. Here’s what Microsoft needs to do with their imminent next-gen Xbox reveal in order to trump Sony’s event.

Be Up Front with the Technical Specifications

Sony showed a lot of confidence by coming right out – at the very beginning of their presentation, no less – and detailing some of the PS4’s tech specs. Throwing out terms like “teraflops” and GDDR5 RAM – even if you didn’t know what it meant – made overtures to the 🤬 gamers that said, “We’re here for you, and we’re serious about making a beast of a games machine.” It even went so far as to release a one-sheet with all of the actual, detailed specs after the show ended.

Microsoft, I’m convinced, does not want to show specific numbers, particularly if the raw Xbox 720 numbers don’t top the PS4’s. However, a little bit of transparency would go a long way here. The figures are rumored to be nearly identical between the two systems, so it’s up to Microsoft to counter that punch by letting the GHz, cores, and milliseconds fly.

Focus on the Next Xbox as a Games Machine

The PlayStation 4 has a Kinect-like camera sensor. What? You forgot already? That’s because Sony mentioned it precisely once near the beginning of their conference…and then never spoke of it again. It'll talk about it in greater detail later, of course, but it was smart enough to realize that the core gamer it was focused on winning back with this initial announcement wouldn’t want to hear a single word about a Kinect-like device just yet. And so it didn’t risk losing a single bit of their momentum by talking more about it.

Microsoft, by contrast, can’t and simply won’t follow the same path in this department. Kinect will be a big part of the next Xbox, and as such they’re likely to highlight it at their big unveiling. However, the company would be wise to minimize any non-games Kinect functionality, and what is shown – both tech-wise and software-wise – had better be good.

Bring the First-Party Thunder

It’s way too early for anything on Halo 5 after Halo 4 just shipped three months ago. Ditto for Gears of War, since the prequel Judgment is out next month. However, Microsoft can tickle 🤬 gamers by reaching a little deeper into their first-party stable. Showing the heavily rumored Fable MMORPG would be big, as would the undoubtedly gorgeous Forza Motorsport 5. Rare is bound to be working on something new, too – unless MS wants to cause a happy riot by announcing Killer Instinct 3. The wild card that would send the fanboys into a tizzy? Alan Wake 2. It’s rumored to exist, and it’s rumored to be an Xbox exclusive. Hmm…

…And Flex the Third-Party Muscle Too

Sony trotted out a prerecorded video message from the highly reclusive Jason Jones to show a bit more of Destiny and announce Sony-exclusive content for their upcoming cross-gen “shared world shooter.” It also scored a deal with the mighty Blizzard to bring platinum-selling PC powerhouse action-RPG Diablo III to the current and next-generation PlayStations.

Microsoft, then, needs to reassure their loyalists by also bringing Bungie onstage to dish on Destiny. After all, the House That Halo Built is no ordinary studio for Xbox fans; there’s an extra layer of loyalty and dedication, and it’s important for Microsoft and Bungie to remind gamers that it has not forsaken its most passionate followers. Meanwhile, everyone and their mother knows that Call of Duty will release for every major current- and next-gen platform, but a reveal of the next Infinity Ward blockbuster would go a long way towards placating the Xbox masses.

Keep Xbox Live Alive

Xbox Live has long been Microsoft’s Trojan horse – the secret weapon that keeps players bound to the Xbox ecosystem. PlayStation Network has always been two steps behind Live, perennially playing catch-up. But Sony unleashed new social initiatives that have potentially huge ramifications – being able to share always-on video footage of your gameplay, and allowing your friends to spectate or even take over your game remotely at any time. What can Microsoft do to evolve Xbox Live in order to stay ahead and remind the world that it's the market leader in the online console gaming space? They’d better have an answer when they unveil the next Xbox.

What About Backwards Compatibility?

Sony was honest about the PlayStation 4’s backwards compatibility – or lack thereof out of the gate – and even though one high-level industry executive told IGN that an incredibly small percentage of players ever make use of it, 🤬 players nevertheless like the idea of the backwards compatibility security blanket. We believe Microsoft will not offer full Xbox 360 compatibility on their new machine, but it is entirely possible that it could support gamers’ “digital libraries” (read: downloaded games). That could be a big factor for early adopters, and might also serve to soften the blow if the rumor about the new Xbox blocking used games proves correct.

Let the Games Begin

The ball is in Microsoft’s court now. Unlike last generation, Team Master Chief is the market leader now. It’s their throne to hold, but Sony is gunning for it. However their next-gen Xbox press conference goes, it’s going to be fun to follow the festivities.


  • Karl.
    Karl. Members Posts: 8,015 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I don't know what that guy means but I thought Quantic Dreams presentation was simple yet very exciting.

    As of I now I want to own a PS4. MS are going to have to do some real big 🤬 to change my mind.

    Although I do really want an Xbox any way because of XBL.

    I hope Alan Wake is announced.

    Any rumours on when they're announcing it?
  • tha bause
    tha bause Members Posts: 1,586 ✭✭✭✭✭
    If KI3 would get announced for Xbox, I would probably die from convulsions and whatnot. That's the only fighting game I liked
  • The Recipe
    The Recipe Members Posts: 10,570 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I hope they learned you shouldn't need internet access to game on a console (because 🤬 internet goes down sometime) and that used games are important for the life cycle of a console.
  • ocelot
    ocelot Members Posts: 10,019 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Xbox shouldn't have a 🤬 contest with Sony because that will on strengthen Apple and Google... They need to focus on the software side of the game and do what Sion said... Take everything Apple and Samsung are doing and make it there own... Have your COD and indie games but focus on an entertainment system. Annouce the 720 in April and sell it 2 weeks after E3.