With the Electronic Entertainment Expo, otherwise known as E3, underway this week, it is fair to consider just how Sony and Microsoft will play against each other. Sony’s PlayStation 4 is currently outselling Microsoft’s Xbox One, but with some changes Microsoft has made to its gaming environment is it still a contender against Sony?
One of the things that differentiated Microsoft’s eco-system from Sony’s PlayStation Network was that you had to have a paid membership to use any of the extra content that came with the Xbox 360 or Xbox One. That meant, you had to have a paid monthly membership to stream Netflix and Hulu Plus, which you already needed a membership to join.
Sony, on the other hand, kept everything free. You had to pay for games and movies that you downloaded, but you were able to stream anything you liked through the console for free. Competition grew against Microsoft as you were able to view said content over televisions, tablets, smartphones, Blu-ray players and various other devices without having to pay an additional charge.
This month, Microsoft removed their pay wall, which allows users of their Xbox 360 and Xbox One to stream content like Netflix, Twitch, Hulu Plus and other entertainment apps without an Xbox Live Gold Membership. Not to mention, they dropped their price point by $100 to match Sony’s $399 by removing the Kinect device that many gamers did not want to begin with. Microsoft’s Xbox One is now at the same level that Sony’s PlayStation 4 as always been at.
Sony, at their E3 presentation on Monday, announced an add-on to their PlayStation 4 called the PlayStation TV. It is an inexpensive add-on, which will run about $99. On top of that, Sony has many exclusive games that are coming to Sony for their PlayStation 4. As well as their PlayStation Now, which will allow gamers to download older console games and play them on multiple devices logged into their PSN account.
Microsoft has, finally, turned their attention back to gamers, while in their initial promotion of the console focused on it as an “entertainment service.” With very limited exclusive content like “Titanfall” or “Halo,” the only other benefit is additional downloadable content that will be released on Xbox first then will come to other consoles at a later time. Not an eye-catching incentive to grab people that are on the fence between Microsoft and Sony.
Those people that may be on the fence about which console to get: Sony’s PlayStation 4. It has perfected its current business model and is expanding to bring streaming content to consumers and is pushing ahead. Microsoft has taken a step backward in making their business model similar to Sony but they are playing catch up, as opposed to innovating. If you were holding out for an Xbox One due to price, now is the time to jump on it. Although, Sony is still the better option due to their forward thinking and not fixing their outdated business ideology.