When the generation changed over there was no immediate reason to believe that any sort of major changes in console hierarchy would take place outside of Nintendo’s impossible mission to win with another gimmick. Everyone expected the go-to console would wind up being the Xbox One, especially in the United States where Microsoft performs best.

Game companies thought so too. One of the major gambles comes from EA who established a duumvirate with Microsoft to keep Respawn’s first game Titanfall exclusive to Xbox One. Insomniac, previously known for its Playstation exclusive software took some bait to join with the projected console war winner and agreed to have Sunset Overdrive published by Microsoft so it would never leave their ecosystem.

 

 

 

Activision also plans to keep up their Call of Duty timed exclusivity DLC deal with Microsoft, but they aren’t alone. Battlefield developers DICE along with their friends at EA opted to drop their exclusive content deals with Sony in order to pursue the same deal with Microsoft. It seemed like a safe bet, but now what is a company to do when their projections of popularity turned out dead wrong?

The PS4 got an initial boost of hype when all of the developers that Sony consulted during the creation of the system said lots of nice things about it. The rest of its major popularity was accomplished when Microsoft rolled out numerous policies that lit the gaming public on fire and then released a console that was $100 more expensive Sony’s lead was solidified. Things are still up in the air here in America where Microsoft is usually king, but you can bet publishers are beginning to recalculate their future plans.

sunset

Just recently Ubisoft released some numbers that are telling and for the most part reflect what is happening all over the industry. They are selling twice as many units on PS4 as they are on Xbox One. So what kind of changes does this signify?

Folks are already talking about Titanfall 2 and how it may come to PS4. There’s a chance that whatever deal was struck for Call of Duty and Battlefield DLC will no longer be profitable when compared to an extra month of hyped sales on the PS4. If that is the case it doesn’t necessarily mean publishers like Activision will switch teams with their timed exclusivity, but it may instead help to put an end to the practice of timed exclusivity. Gamers have experienced this practice for a generation and for the most part they seem to dislike it.

The last generation was also marked by Microsoft’s willingness to pay for exclusives, something that Sony refused to do. The money was no doubt quite appealing, and Xbox 360 had all the momentum, so those deals made perfect monetary sense. That may no longer be the case with PS4 dominating. Even a large amount of up front money may not be enough to purchase a third party exclusive any more now that developers and publishers would have to forgo all PS4 sales. Publishers will probably be less likely to agree to such arrangements given the current console landscape. That is why we now know that it was quite foolish to not develop Titanfall for PS4, but that takes some Monday morning quarterbacking.

Microsoft missed out on a some sales of Xbox 360 because its major titles were available on PC. It wasn’t exactly a problem for them, but things are changing a bit. More and more people have a rig that is at least capable of playing modern games. Gamers who normally own two or more consoles during a generation will be quicker to realize that a pairing of PS4 and PC will give them everything they need without having to shell out for another expensive console.

While Xbox Live ruled the school as the best service before, now there are few functional differences between Live and PSN. This has helped make the PS4 and even PS3 the best place to get those popular free to play games and also to experience the newest MMOs at their best. Destiny is no exclusive but you can tell Activision and Bungie have realized that now is a good time to cozy up to Sony. This multiplatform cross generational game is now expected to be a major hit and console seller for PS4, something unheard of in the PS3 era. You might be able to expect more of these bromances where online experiences are concerned.

bloodborne

Sony fans, once they have owned the consoles and had the consumer experience, tend to be lifetime converts. The same can’t really be said for Microsoft fans. They have a bad track record with hardware reliability, customer service, and overall satisfaction. Before you try to accuse me of bias just remember that definitely caused a mass exodus from Xbox 360 to PS4, something an idea of how widespread this is. Sony’s numbers concerning customers who did not own a PS3 give us that weren’t the case then there wouldn’t be so many converts from Xbox 360 to PS4. Once the real exclusive first party stuff starts to show up like Bloodborne, Quantic Dream’s new title, Guerrilla Games new IP, Uncharted 4, The Last Guardian, The Order: 1886, LittleBigPlanet 3 there is a solid chance that Sony will make some new lifetime fans less likely to discard platform loyalty down the line.
bloodbornebloodborneThe list of things that are going to change due to PS4 dominance does on and on. It has already changed the indie scene immensely, digital streaming games is on track to become a real viable option with PS Now, and PSN is doing much more for the future of all digital gaming than even Microsoft had hoped to with Sony’s Steam-like sales and day one preloaded pre-orders. Contracts are up in the air, exclusives are being rethought, new sales expectations will tell publishers what is happening, and the industry will slowly but surely turn back to Sony as they did in the PS1 and PS2 eras.

The bottom line is once you have a front runner like the Xbox 360 was for most of the last generation it always pays to do what’s best for whichever audience commands more sales. That simply fact could reshape the whole console gaming experience once again. Where everyone in game development was trying to appeal to the young, twitchy nature of the Xbox fanbase before, they may now start to make more slow, serious, and thoughtful games. This could even lead to the return of dead genres that were murdered by action like Survival/Horror, the turn based JRPG, and imaginative platformers.

Things will likely change quickly. In two years when the cross-gen games finally peter out and all of PS4’s specs are best accessed there could be a renaissance that nobody expected.

About The Author

Editorial Contributor, Editor, Reviewer

David D. Nelson is a polymath with a BA in English working as an independent writing and editing professional. He enjoys gaming, literature, and a good hat.

  • Nickolaidas

    Nice article. I agree with everything, except the fact where Microsoft paid for exclusives bit. Except for the first-gen batch of games (Lost Odyssey, Blue Dragon, Gears of War), Microsoft didn’t seem to bother searching / making exclusive titles / IPs. Sony, on the other hand, kept coming with exclusives year after year. Plus, the fact that X360 was the best choice for multiplatform titles almost gave it an edge last gen. Now, with the PS4 being the undisputed best choice for multiplatform titles (barring PCs), things are even harder for Microsoft.
    I love Sony, I love Playstation. That said, I intend to buy an X-Box One (mainly for Killer Instinct, Halo 1-5 and Phantom Dust), and I would like to have more than 5 exclusives in my X-Box One library.

    • http://www.onlysp.com/ Nick Calandra

      There’s quite a few Xbox One exclusives that are coming that look pretty good. Quantum Break, Sunset Overdrive, Ori and the Blind Forest, Playdead’s next game (timed I’m guessing), Fable Legends and so on. They’ve got a very strong lineup coming and they haven’t announced everything yet. Neither has Sony. October may kill your wallet before the year’s out, but I’m getting the feeling next year through out the year is going to be a blood bath.

      • Nickolaidas

        Eh, I’m not a guy to shove money at companies’ throat the minute a game’s out (I wait for a price drop), although I’ll PROBABLY buy the first 10 PS4/X-Box One games from the get go in order to create a next (current) gen library.
        And as far as exclusives go, I don’t intend to refer to indie and/or digital games. I mainly refer to AAA titles because, lets face it, those are the system sellers.

        • http://www.onlysp.com/ Nick Calandra

          For now they are. I think if marketed right, games like No Man’s Sky could easily sell a system. Indie games aren’t just that “addition” to a gamer’s library that they once were.

          • QURebel

            Sure they are i mean they’re are a few that break the mold like outlast if thats even an indie game but so far everything the ps4 has thrown at us would be way better for the vita on the small screen. just my opinion

  • Jason Mounce

    Hm, another good and accurate article, David. Though, it does feel like it’d cause controversy amongst the fanbases and cause yet another flamewar unfortunately if not watched closely almost soon-after I finish my post if it gets more attention on other sites like N4G.

    “Where everyone in game development was trying to appeal to the young, twitchy nature of the Xbox fanbase before, they may now start to make more slow, serious, and thoughtful games.”

    I do agree with it though, I know it mostly is a truth, generalization maybe. Though still a truth. Statistic demographics showed that Xbox 360s’ fanbase were mostly 12-18 year olds – PS3 was that of 18-32 or something like that. So, I can understand why it makes sense that the demographic change could indeed make it so developers strive for a more mature-setting in games. Though, maturity and depth, grittier and slower-paced games with story foremost and action/shooting that is placed in 2nd or 3rd priority would be what I hope for. Too many games were catered to short-attention-span cliches where it feels like the developers were labelling gamers as people who need to be warned, need to be told what to do, need mom to hold your hand kind of ethic. Sony is pumping more Hardcore games than Teen/Child games, for example, Knack and then LBP3 to cater to them whilst the older crowd gets a handful of games.

    Perhaps also we can come to hope that stereotypes regarding PSN+ will become considered less something to make fun of because people seem to be confusing ‘Broken Concept’ w/ PSN+’s ‘Rental Concept’ and make fun of it ignorantly whilst they, mostly the xbox fanbase’ saw it as stupid since you don’t forever ‘own’ the game and they did not see the financial appeal of it due to less amounts of sentimental appeal in the digital age that keeps being pushed to us. Great service and great amounts of free games are given with it being Rental-like – as PSNow is also Rental-like in appeal, if more become favorable to this it may shape a lot of changes to the industry in wake of this if Sony leads the way since Xbox Live on its own up until PSN+ became an actual threat to them? Microsoft was complacent with their ways with telling them PR stunts like it’s for the ‘Best Service’ – ‘You get what you pay for’ – and yet Sony was giving free games and borderline similar service. Microsoft begun following Sonys’ tactics and having to play catchup for the past year.

    So many variables to think about of what ifs and what coulds.

  • aintwhatitlookslike

    Couldn’t agree more with this article. I had a 360 last gen (four of them in fact) 4 rrod i had and i must say one of the most unreliable console ive ever owned. But not just that after Microsoft introduced kinect the 1st party AAA titles were non existent maybe one or two a year. Add to that it felt like a bill playing for xbox gold i mean i paid for years and Microsoft gave me nothing. And after the terrible xbone reveal i decided to get a ps4 not just me but all my 360 buddies did and we are all very happy. Free games every month top notch party chat system and great 1st party games. I’m defiantly in the never go back camp. Ps4 FTW top console

  • therealbigrich

    I will say this seems a little premature since it hasn’t been a year yet to say that either console will dominate . I really thought ps4 would dominate for a while but after the price drop and changes it seems MS is willing to do whatever it take so another OG Xbox situation occurs. The biggest problem I had with the article is the thought that Xbox fans are less loyal when neither fan base is. Half the fan base of the Playstation 2 wouldn’t of left if they were

    • John Doe

      Microsoft is simply copying Sony. Microsoft hasn’t really done anything but damage their own reputation.

      • therealbigrich

        Absolutely right so here’s to MS continuing to copy Sony and turn around mistakes that were made like Sony did with ps3., it just feels as if people forget that the ps3 was a big PR and hardware blunder. They turned it around but don’t give Xbox a chance why is that?

        • Guest

          $0N¥ PauperStation desperation, because they need the money and MS doesn’t. MS could buy them out of business if they wanted to and that has them scared sh*tless.

        • QURebel

          I always liked sony hated original xbox and its stupid remote got a 360 cuz my cousin had gears of war and i really wanted to have it and ps3 was like 600 bucks then for no reason then my 360 got 3 rings of death twice got a ps3 250 gb for 250 had it for about 5 years and it still runs smoothe with very little noise and never overheats thats why i got a ps4 thats why xbox fans jump ship

  • The Glorious PC Master Race

    More DRM
    More Rootkits and SecuROM
    More propietary hardware that only works on Sony products

    more viral marketing
    more removal of features
    more downgrades

    more lying
    more obnoxious fanboys doing damage control

    More cancer on the industry

    Meet the next gen. Same as the old gen.

  • GotNews4Ya

    Need to proof read the article a bit, sorry if you already edited it at the time of this post, as I didn’t really refresh the page (loaded it last night, and just got to it tonight).

    I agree with your points though, you make solid points and it is a great article.. Just some of the words are not the right words, and it comes off as hard to read because of it.

    I look forward to more articles posted by you! Have a great weekend!

  • NL37

    My god the ms deal of cod dlc is annoying, not only do we have 2 wait a month, we have 2 wait 4 a 2nd to get the new maps in standard playlists. The ONLY thing in jealous of tbh

  • QURebel

    For an editing professional dude had a whole lot of typos lol