Associate Opinion Editor
PHOTO COURTESY OF GAGE SKIDMORE, FLICKR
Microsoft and Sony finally unveiled their pricing plans for their respective gaming consoles releasing this holiday season. The entertainment juggernauts have been playing a game of “chicken,” waiting for the opposing company to announce their product’s price first. Fortunately for consumers, a leak of the new Xbox’s price on Twitter led the company to officially announce the prices of the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series The Xbox Series X will be $499.99 and Xbox Series S, an all-digital smaller console, for $299, both releasing on Nov. 10.
Before I get into my thoughts about Microsoft and their new consoles, I want to state my bias towards PlayStation and Sony. I have owned every Sony gaming console, from the first PlayStation to the dinky little handheld of the PS Vita. That being said, I cannot wait to own the Xbox Series S. Outside of the confusingly titled new console, Xbox has been nothing short of incredible with their marketing and with their Xbox Game Pass and Xbox All Access initiatives. Xbox Game Pass is the closest thing to having a Netflix style gaming service right on your console for $9.99 a month , with numerous included downloadable games making it the most consumer-friendly platform on the market. An Xbox console isn’t even needed, as Xbox Game Pass is also available on select smartphones and on PC. All this information is according to Microsoft’s official Twitter and live streams.
Xbox All Access is a brilliant idea for buying a next generation console. Payments of 24.99/month for 24 months grants you access to a new Xbox console, a subscription to Xbox Game Pass, and a subscription including titles from publisher Electronic Arts’ library. Microsoft has confirmed it will disband Xbox Live, a subscription to access the ability to play online multiplayer. Microsoft has created an ecosystem so consumer-friendly that it has gotten me, a Sony “fanboy,” super excited to one day be invested in it.
As for Sony, the PlayStation 5 is set to have both a disc compatible and digital (disc-less) version of the new console. Unfortunately, Sony’s marketing has been less than stellar. On Sept. 16, Sony held a video press conference to reveal the price and launch dates of their new consoles. Some pertinent information was either oddly withheld or contradictory to Sony’s past comments. As for the former, Sony didn’t announce a plan or a date regarding pre-orders for the new PlayStation 5. That information was given out on Twitter through producer/journalist Geoff Keighly, who tweeted after the conference had ended, “Per Sony, PlayStation 5 pre-orders will be available starting tomorrow at select retailers.” This means PS5 pre-orders would go live the following day on Sept. 17. Surprisingly, retailers went ahead and pushed pre-orders live almost immediately after the Sony press conference, with both the digital and physical Sony consoles selling out within 24 hours, according to TechSpot. Sony mishandled this so poorly that they took to Twitter a week later to apologize for how poorly they handled it and promised to provide more PS5’s to be available for pre-order.
In terms of contradictory information given from the press conference that is contradictory to past comments made by Sony. In an interview with gamesindustry.biz in May, CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment Jim Ryan stated that Sony, “has always believed in generations.” This was meant to indicate that sequels from Sony’s first-party studios would be exclusive to their new generation of consoles. However, Sony revealed through Twitter after the presentation that certain PS5 launch titles, such as Spider-Man: Miles Morales and Horizon: Forbidden West, are also coming to the PlayStation 4. This really lessens the appeal to purchase either model PS5 at release day, as I may have to wait until great PS5 exclusives make the system worth the buy.
Even with Sony’s botched marketing and handling of the PS5, its saving grace is the content Sony generates. What sets PlayStation apart from Xbox is promised console exclusive games. PlayStation’s exclusive lineup just from the PS4 generation includes the following: God of War, The Last of Us Part I and II, Marvel’s Spiderman, Horizon Zero Dawn, Bloodborne, and Ghost of Tsushima. This list encompasses not only some excellent PlayStation exclusives, but also some of the greatest games ever made. So as a fan of video games, this really seals the deal for me to still be all in with PlayStation.
If you are still in the position of which of these new consoles you should get, my opinion is that there really is no wrong answer. Sony and Microsoft are setting up their next generation of hardware in different directions than one another. Sony wants PlayStation to be a vehicle for where the best video games can be played. Microsoft is setting up their new Xbox Game Pass to be an affordable way to consume a lot of content. There is no wrong answer here, as both companies traveling in different directions only benefits us by providing great platforms for our need for entertainment.