Has Microsoft done enough the past few years to lead again next generation?

Posted by liquiddragon (3470 posts) 21 days, 6 hours ago

Poll: Has Microsoft done enough the past few years to lead again next generation? (156 votes)

Yes. I think things like Game Pass, commitment to backwards compatibility, purchases of good to decent game studios, refocusing of 1st party development, the Play Anywhere initiative, and a more consumer friendly messaging add up to a shifting tide. 22%
I think it’ll be a very tight race. 38%
No. Sony has too much momentum, a murderers’ row of 1st party IPs and studios, mid-tier Japanese developer/publisher bias, and with the current generation of purchases most likely carrying over, it’s very unlikely. 31%
I'm not sure... 10%
#1 Posted by Relkin (1202 posts) -

I think everything in the first poll option will allow Xbox to catch up, but not take any sort of commanding lead. Mind you, it's going to mean that all of those acquisitions they've recently made have to result in good games.

#2 Posted by Humanity (18865 posts) -

In terms of services they are current market leaders. Game Pass is truly unrivaled.

Their main problem is a lack of compelling first party games.

#3 Posted by Efesell (4541 posts) -

No..but I suspect maybe Sony did well enough to fall victim to hubris again and it might happen anyway.

#4 Posted by Savage (786 posts) -

What does it mean to "lead?" More hardware sales? More game sales? More revenue? More subscribers? More active users? More popular on gaming message boards?

#5 Edited by BladeOfCreation (1377 posts) -

I do think Sony has the more interesting exclusives, but I can't quit Obsidian, so Microsoft has me there. Between a PC, Game Pass, and a PlayStation, I'll have access to most of the games I'm likely to be interested in.

#6 Posted by conmulligan (1939 posts) -

Microsoft certainly could come out ahead, but they'll need some kind of edge if they're going to do it. If both consoles launch in the same window for the same price and Microsoft doesn't have one or two must play first-party games day one then Sony will obviously have an implicit advantage.

#7 Posted by Deathstriker (1177 posts) -

I think they'll be pretty even. Sony is better at making games, MS has better services, and their hardware will probably be even. I doubt any of the MS studios besides maybe Ninja Theory can make games on the level of GOW, TLAU, or Uncharted. They'll be lucky to be on Zero Dawn's level, which would be an improvement for them.

#8 Posted by BladeOfCreation (1377 posts) -

@deathstriker: Excuse me, sir, I recognize your backhanded compliment of Zero Dawn and I WILL NOT STAND FOR IT. That game is fantastic.

#9 Edited by nutter (2207 posts) -

@deathstriker: @bladeofcreation: I wanted to like Horizon Zero Dawn, but there was too much filler and I just sort of uninstalled it maybe 6-8 hours in...

I think Microsoft is well positioned at the moment. If Sony fucks up their backwards compatibility and online services, losing the PS4’s catalog in the process, who knows?

Both companies have proven capable of making great systems, pulling the rug out from the competition, and dropping the fucking ball hard when launching hardware.

Competition is good, so I’d like to see Microsoft threaten hard or take the lead in the marketplace. Companies do their best work clawing back from behind, fighting for customers.

#10 Posted by BladeOfCreation (1377 posts) -

@nutter: Definitely.

And I'm mostly joking about Zero Dawn. It has a lot of open world filler, absolutely. It had a story and some fascinating world-building that resonated with me, which is part of the reason I liked it so much. The open world happened to be a world I was interested in exploring, which is IMO the thing that any open world game needs.

#11 Edited by BoOzak (2621 posts) -

Microsoft have earned some goodwill for how they've implemented backwards compatibility but I dont have that much faith in any of the studios they've aquired, especially the State of Decay and We Happy Few devs. Double Fine and Obsidian have both made good games but I always want to like them more than I actually do.

I'll probably end up getting both as I have done for quite some time now but if I could only choose one it would be PS5/Sony and imagine most people would do the same. I dont think the services they provide will have much of an impact on who comes out ahead, at least in terms of console sales.

I dont really know what the future of game streaming will be. It doesnt really interest me but neither do phone games and people seem to love those.

#12 Posted by Luchalma (548 posts) -

I love everything about what they've done the last few years except putting out games. Sony has been killing it in that regard, while simultaneously being a lot less consumer friendly. Phil Spencer is, I think, the realest dude in the biz. If they can turn all these studio acquisitions into a decent stable of first party games then I could root for them to be on top.

#13 Posted by Pezen (2384 posts) -

I think the scene is different this time around though. When I went from Sony only to mainly Xbox 360 (and the PS3 for exclusives) I did it for a number of reasons. I found the Xbox controller to be better, the console UI felt more inviting, etcetera etcetera. At the time I figured I would be sticking with Xbox. When PS4 and Xbox One was announced, I was bothered by the Xbox communication but I was actually more bothred by the fact that the controller situation had changed. The Xbox One felt plasticy and flimsy while the PS4 felt like a Playstation version of 360's in feel. However, this generation compared to last have been a lot more about building an echo system. A type of investment in a platform that is the same reason I have kept buying iPhones since the 3GS. It just feels like home and my stuff is there. For Xbox to take market lead next gen I don't just think they need to be on par with Sony, they need to truly give a hell of a reason for us PS4-only consumers to consider switching echo system, especially if the boxes are near identical. Barring Sony not doing something pridefully stupid.

That being said, I agree that Phil Spencer seems like the dude to do it. He seems hell beant on trying to make the most appealing place for people to play and I find his enthusiasm pretty exciting. But unless there's something off the wall better than this gen between the two, I am just not sure it will be enough. At the end of the day though, it's probably mostly going to come down to games and in that regard, Xbox needs to fire on all cylinders regarding exclusives and/or first party efforts. Because they were not really blowing me away this gen in that regard.

#14 Edited by ThePanzini (742 posts) -

MS has done almost everything right from game pass, refunds, cross play and backwards compatibility but for all the goodwill its made no difference to XB1 sales and the only thing that will is games, apart from Fable 4 and the Initiative's new game none of the new studios are going to be AAA or will be for along time MS is still far behind in this regard.

The new generation is not a reset both will be backwards compatible and both are using Zen 2 with SSD's the hardware will be practicaly the same for both, MS has to convince people to give up their libraries for a near identical box for games that are likely 2-3 years away from their new studios.

The next Xbox is going to launch with Halo 6 and Forza 8 right after Gears 5 the previous year its kinda depressing they gotta have something new, I can see MS doing better but it'll be pretty much a landside again for Sony.

#15 Posted by FacelessVixen (2640 posts) -

I can play Gears, Forza, and eventually Halo on PC.

That deserves some cool points.

#16 Posted by doombot13 (338 posts) -

I could see them selling less Xbox 2's (or whatever it's called) than PS5's and still be more 'successful' than Sony, if that makes sense.

It's all speculation at this point anyways, console price is going to be a major factor and we won't know that till at least this time next year.

#17 Posted by bmccann42 (419 posts) -

I gave my launch XBox 1 to my father-in-law about 2 years ago, and have just had a decent PC, a PS4 and a Switch (which I barely use).

There isn't much pulling me back to the XBox at all, especially if I can get gamepass on PC. I'm not even sure how much power the XBox name has these days outside of the gaming circles.

#18 Posted by SloppyDetective (1615 posts) -

I'm still waiting to hear what Sony is planning for next gen. They've made some dumb decisions the past few years that seem to come from them being in "1st" place. I want to see if they are going to trip up on their ego into this next cycle. Sony's first party output and the promise of backwards compatibility with my PS4 library is super enticing, and I bet I'm not the only PS4 owner who is feeling similar.

But man Microsoft has been walking and talking a great message lately. It has really changed my attitude for next gen from Sony is for sure the place, to me needing Sony to show me they are still the place I want to do the majority of my gaming.

#19 Posted by cikame (2865 posts) -

I went PC exclusive so i'm kind of rooting for MS, though it took Sony taking the lead for MS to get some of their s*** together with regards to PC.
They've been talking a lot about the future, cross play, back compat and various services and how it all connects, and unlike promises made before it all actually works now, i think MS are in a good place.
Maybe it's just because they weren't at E3 but Sony have been silent, besides the highly praised Playstation exclusives i'm not sure what else they have, they even seem to be making deals with MS to catch up on some aspects of their service.
Honestly though as far as directly supporting either company goes i occasionally buy a first party MS game like Forza, and the only game i own on my PS4 is Gravity Rush, i do not see the appeal so many seem to have of the emerging subscription services, and am too input lag sensitive to consider cloud gaming viable.

#20 Posted by FrodoBaggins (2087 posts) -

Sony has way too big a lead and way too better a games line-up for it to be anything other than Sony selling more units again. Unless of course something drastic and unforseen happens.

#21 Edited by Onemanarmyy (4453 posts) -

I think they done enough to get goodwill back from the gaming community at large for people to want to give them a fair shake. Given that these new consoles seem to become very very similar, i think it's all going to depend on the pricepoint and performance differences both consoles hit & whether Microsoft launches in more than 5 countries or not. Like i think it took a year in the console cycle for Microsoft to finally start selling their xbox here in the Netherlands. Also, all the TV shit & Kinect voice stuff probably wouldn't work over here neither i assume. Naturally everyone and their dog got a Playstation instead. And sure, we're typically a Sony stronghold, but i don't feel like that's so set in stone that it's not even worth competing with Sony over here. This ain't Japan.

Xbox's fingers in the PC market also muddies any upcoming numbers for next generation. I'm not really interested in getting their new hardware, but there's a very good chance Microsoft will see quite some money from me coming their way. Same goes for a bunch of PC players i imagine. It's suddenly not all about the console anymore.

#22 Edited by Rahf (517 posts) -

I'll be glad if Microsoft turns out more cautious and clued in about public opinion this time around. Not in terms of only making safe bets, but in treating their consumer base with a modicum of respect. They had one of the hottest PR nightmares around E3 2013, and didn't recover until years later.

They took a fair beating this console cycle, and as well they should've. The race should be a lot more even when both companies have had to check their hubris and place in the market.

#23 Posted by Bollard (8180 posts) -

No, Microsoft don't care about "leading" the console race any more. They're focusing on becoming a services company and Xbox is but a part of that. Their increased focus on PC and the future support for streaming makes it obvious that they don't care if you're playing games on an Xbox, just that you're playing their games somewhere.

#24 Posted by wollywoo (285 posts) -

I just have no interest in Microsoft. Nintendo and Sony both have a huge number of unique IPs. Microsoft has... Gears of War, Sea of Thieves, and Halo, none of which interest me in the slightest. The ones I'm interested are on other platforms anyway (Cuphead, Ori). Yeah, Xbox One X has some more pixels, but that is not why I play games.

#25 Posted by Justin258 (15676 posts) -

@efesell said:

No..but I suspect maybe Sony did well enough to fall victim to hubris again and it might happen anyway.

This is what will happen, if anything. At the beginning of the PS3/360 generation, Sony was on top of their game and they thought they could sell a $600 console, while the 360 with a hard drive was a whole $200 cheaper and had Call of Duty 2 and Gears of War and Oblivion and Forza Motorsport 2 already out, plus a much better online service. Sony held a solid third place that whole generation. At the beginning of this generation, their roles pretty much switched - the Xbox One's initial price was more expensive, it was actually less powerful, and had all of that always online stuff that really bothered people.

If that trend holds true, then Sony's hubris will knock them down a peg or two and the next Xbox will be the popular thing for this generation.

...but also, I don't really know what to expect during the next generation. Sony seems to be sticking to the traditional console gaming thing, but Microsoft is saying that you won't even need an Xbox to experience Xbox games this coming generation if you've got a gaming PC. And MS and Nintendo have done some stuff together, which is also super weird. And "cloud gaming" is something that Google and Microsoft are both pushing quite a bit and we don't know how well Stadia is going to do when it comes out. So maybe the actual next Xbox console won't sell as well, but Microsoft might still "win" if almost everybody is sticking to their Xbox-related services on PC and Switch.

#26 Posted by FinalDasa (3219 posts) -

It'll be more about what the next console is designed to do in order to make an impact. Their make good campaign has been effective, and they are clearly laying groundwork for their services and overall platform, but how the next Xbox is designed will matter more.

#27 Posted by billmcneal (1261 posts) -

I think it's possible.

#28 Posted by ThePanzini (742 posts) -
#29 Posted by aerithlives (35 posts) -

Leading in what way, exactly? Sales, or vision? It seems to me they don't have much of either these days.

#30 Edited by Humanity (18865 posts) -

@aerithlives said:

Leading in what way, exactly? Sales, or vision? It seems to me they don't have much of either these days.

They definitely have a vision and their sales have been steadily increasing over time and catching up to the PS4, even overtaking them during some months, so I'm not sure where you're coming from on those aspects. Apart from games the issue is that their efforts aren't catching up to their ambition. This generation is ending and it only feels like they're warming up. There have been very few stellar exclusives on the platform although depending your taste that could be arguable. Horizon 4 is a ton of fun and it's rotating seasons with new objectives each week are strangely addictive - that said no matter how great, a racing game is never going to trump a great narrative experience for me personally.

The experience gained from the trials and tribulations of the XB1, their subscription services groundwork and acquisition of several really talented studios has them set up for a great start in the next gen. Then again after the success of the 360 and their amazing Live service who would have thought they would take so many steps back during the start of this generation.

#31 Posted by FrodoBaggins (2087 posts) -

@humanity: surely the only thing that actually matters when talking sales is lifetime sales? Not month to month sales 6 years down the line with a competitor that is millions of units infront of you?

#32 Posted by MonkeyKing1969 (7613 posts) -

Lead in what way?

  • Sales of consoles...
  • Sales of discrete units of software...
  • Leading the direction the industry...
  • Lead with easy transition from base units in 2020 to Pro unist in 2023...

The reason we have to ask the above is that Sony leaded on most of the above except maybe discrete software unit sales. And, to be honest everyoen is doing well. I'm sure Microsoft is not happy to have been on their 'back foot' since 2016, but they are doing fine. I'm sure Nintendo would want to be doing "Nintendo Wii" numbers for sales, but they are actually doing fine. I think that is impornt to all three...the console industry is healthy.

Second., I hate to say it. But, when the last generation ended; [sigh] Microsoft was not on top of anything. Microsoft lost last generation to Sony and Nintendo no matter how you want to slice it - units, sofatre units, profits, etc. Hell, PSP came close to topping XB360 sales; that like not beating "the last kid picked at gym class" in a footrace.

PlayStation 2Sony2000>155 million
Nintendo DSNintendo2004154.02 million
Game Boy, Game Boy ColorNintendo1989, 1998118.69 million
PlayStationSony1994102.49 million
WiiNintendo2006101.63 million
PlayStation 4
Sony201396.8 million
PlayStation 3Sony2006>87.4 million
Xbox 360Microsoft2005>84 million
Game Boy AdvanceNintendo200181.51 million
PlayStation PortableSony200480–82 million
Nintendo 3DS
Nintendo201175.08 million

Sony and Nintendo sold more software and moved more hardware; and did that in one less year on the shelf....and Sony didn't have to write off 3 billion in losses for Red Ring. Sony came out of the first corner of the race behind, but they beat Microsoft. Microsoft was head for four years they were behind for most of the last few years.

#33 Posted by Humanity (18865 posts) -

@frodobaggins: I guess? I actually looked up the "sales figures" on VGchartz for whatever those numbers are worth, and Sony is leading by over twice as many sales as Microsoft. In fact, according to VGchartz, Microsoft has never outsold Sony during any month in the past 2 years which is odd since I'm certain I saw news stories during certain holiday seasons that it did.

#34 Edited by ThePanzini (742 posts) -

Looking at the poll a lot of folks are on different planet.

70-80% of XB1 sales are from the US the PS4 has been above Xbox every month except two for nearly five years the gap between the two has always gotten bigger, the US is only 30% of PS4 sales in Europe the difference is far far greater. EA estimated last year Sony had 70% of the console market.

Game pass, play anywhere, refunds and backwards compatibility or any of the services have made little to no difference in hardware sales, next gen isn't even a reset MS has to convince people to give up their game libraries.

#35 Posted by ThePanzini (742 posts) -

@humanity: VGChartz numbers are not reliable but the gist of its true the PS4 is leading about 2-1 its not a close race at all.

#36 Posted by CaptnKamikaze (20 posts) -


They still don't have the top notch exclusives anyone else has.

#38 Posted by PhilipDuck (748 posts) -

Game Pass is great and i've got my 3 years of ultimate paid for.. only thing concerning me is the lack of exclusives. Ps4 i play a bunch of great exclusives.. this gen.. Xbox.. very little. If they don't have a few great looking exclusives for the launch 'window' then i'll be going Playstation 5 and carry on Game Pass with my xbox one.

#39 Posted by notnert427 (2268 posts) -

I voted that it will be a tight race.

I think people are finally starting to recognize that Xbox under Phil Spencer is far from the Mattrick days, but it's still an uphill battle for them in terms of public perception. There are plenty of folks who still act like MS kicked their dog. While they shouldn't have force-included Kinect and definitely misjudged the market for it (and TV in general), most of the shit people got furious at MS for happened anyway. Many games ended up always-online, physical media is indeed dying off (and further shifting more towards subscription models), most people happily sacrificed their supposedly beloved privacy to put an Alexa or something similar in their home, etc. MS was the lightning rod on quite a bit of the direction technology overall was heading, but few seem interested in considering how legitimate all their tirades turned out to be over time, yet hold on to the grudge anyway.

Since then, under Spencer, Microsoft and Xbox have done quite a bit that should engender goodwill. I suppose there's an argument that they had to in order to right the ship, but much of their response is impressive regardless. Backwards compatibility was dead industry-wide until MS delivered on it. Even if you're a full-on Sony guy, there is basically zero chance the PS5 would be including BC as a feature if MS hadn't demonstrated this generation that it's something people care about. BC is also hugely important from a preservation standpoint. Then there's Game Pass, which pretty much pays for itself and is the arguably best value proposition in gaming. I'm not a huge "subscription" guy, but that's the model of how it should be done. Also, MS deserves credit for pushing cross-platform multiplayer, not just on PC, but by publicly asking Sony to do it until they finally couldn't keep saying no.

The "no exclusives" refrain is also b.s. I'd agree that Sony's first-party stuff was better this gen (while Nintendo is pretty much only first-party stuff), but it's not like there's just been a complete dearth of first-party games on the Xbox One. Titanfall was incredible (and also DOA on PC for some reason, so it basically was a "true" exclusive). Rise of the Tomb Raider (perhaps the best Uncharted-type game), while a timed exclusive, probably wouldn't exist if MS hadn't funded it. There have been multiple good indies like Ori and the Blind Forest, Cuphead (yes, I'm aware they just made a Switch version), and Outer Wilds (yes, I know it's also on PC, which I'll get into in a moment). Most importantly (at least to me), the Forza games are carrying the torch for the entire racing game genre at this point, and carrying it very well. I suppose I can accept that people aren't into the mainline Forzas that are targeted at motorsport fans, but anyone who's wholly dismissing the Forza Horizon games is doing themselves a close-minded disservice. They exist, they are fantastic, and they should be recognized for it.

However, a lot of people go out of their way to downplay the good Xbox first-party games. The Play Anywhere stuff, which is great for everyone and broke platform barriers to be one of the most consumer-friendly developments in gaming, is used against MS on the technicality that it means Xbox games aren't console exclusives, which is fucking weak. It's backwards, as if closed platforms should be celebrated instead. If you want to play Xbox games on PC, you can. By all means, enjoy that ability to play some games that wouldn't exist without Xbox on your PC. And if that means you don't have to buy an Xbox, awesome for you. Just don't spout off that this is somehow proof that Xbox as a platform is trash. Some people have zero interest in PC gaming. Some people love PC gaming. Microsoft has provided the ability this generation for both to be happy, and to even play together if they want to.

While MS' newly-acquired studios probably won't get their first-party games out until the next generation, Microsoft has clearly heard the criticism and have at least invested significantly towards addressing it. They've also absolutely addressed the previous complaints about the Xbox One being underpowered with the One X. That thing is a fucking beast, and playing games like Forza Horizon 4 and HITMAN in native 4K HDR is truly a sight to behold, with technically impressive benchmarks to back it up. The One X is offering a gaming experience nothing can touch for anywhere near its price point, and something above basically anything that's not a high-end dedicated gaming PC. Christ, you can't even get a good video card for what an Xbox One X costs. After all the sneering about the Xbox One being underpowered, it's been fucking crickets in terms of people giving the One X credit for its power, which is crap. It's funny how loudly people whine and how quietly (or nonexistently) they praise. Enough on that.

So, let's recap. MS this gen has resurrected backwards compatibility, shattered platform barriers with cross-play multiplayer between consoles (and cross-play/cross-save on PC), created the gold standard of games subscriptions, saved the racing genre, and built a console so powerful that few games will ever even really stress it before the next generation comes along. So, have they done enough to deserve to lead? Yes, they absolutely have. Will that happen in reality? I'm not so sure. The PS5 is likely to outsell the Xbox Two or whatever they'll call it, because the Xbox doesn't typically sell well internationally, and I suspect MS will fall victim to its own Play Anywhere offering for daring to give gamers choices. At which point people will act like selling fewer consoles proves that the Xbox is bad or comparatively worse than its competition, because apparently this shit that actually makes zero difference to consumers should inform/validate their decisions. I personally believe that the actual substance of Xbox will be great as long as Spencer is there. Will that be recognized by sales or overall gamer perception? Far less likely.

#40 Posted by MrGreenMan (225 posts) -

My understanding is that Xbox would rather be everywhere and play nice with everyone, as they are playing the long game. With Gamepass and a rather good back catalog of backwards capable games to play on their system, I feel they are one of the more consumer friendly game systems out there.

#41 Posted by doombot13 (338 posts) -

However, a lot of people go out of their way to downplay the good Xbox first-party games. The Play Anywhere stuff, which is great for everyone and broke platform barriers to be one of the most consumer-friendly developments in gaming, is used against MS on the technicality that it means Xbox games aren't console exclusives, which is fucking weak. It's backwards, as if closed platforms should be celebrated instead. If you want to play Xbox games on PC, you can. By all means, enjoy that ability to play some games that wouldn't exist without Xbox on your PC. And if that means you don't have to buy an Xbox, awesome for you. Just don't spout off that this is somehow proof that Xbox as a platform is trash. Some people have zero interest in PC gaming. Some people love PC gaming. Microsoft has provided the ability this generation for both to be happy, and to even play together if they want to.

Thank you, this always bothers me.

#42 Posted by lead_dispencer (541 posts) -

this is the perfect time for sega to strike! while MS and Sony are paying attention sega sneaks in to take the crown.....

or atari. (shrugs shoulders)

#43 Posted by FrodoBaggins (2087 posts) -

I feel like the Xbox 360 will forever be Microsoft's biggest selling games console and even that couldn't outsell the PlayStation.

#44 Posted by prince_david (1 posts) -

I feel both organizations are just really strugglign now

#45 Posted by niko_of_death (233 posts) -

I feel like Japanese devs are going to move more and more to Nintendo if Sony doesn't get their act together. Sony and Microsoft are both a mess right now.

#46 Posted by soulcake (2813 posts) -

I own a pc so i don't feel compelled to buy the next Xbox, although i my might feel compelled to buy the next playstation because of the exclusives they have.

#47 Posted by pappafost (230 posts) -

As annoying as hardware exclusives are, Sony has been really killing it the last few years in the exclusives department. If they keep releasing games like Last of Us and God of War (what I call the high-production-value Action Adventure genre) then I will reluctantly buy a PS5, but I think this time I will be a late adopter because I'm on PC 80% of the time.

#48 Posted by someoneproud (607 posts) -

If they had more compelling first party games and got more japanese dev support, I'd make this an easy yes. They've done so much right and I know they have a lot of games in the pipeline but until I know more about them I'm on the fence.

At the end of the day it's the games that really matter and Sony has had them beat on that front up to now.

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