The video game industry is heading for a showdown. Two of the three major console developers, Sony and Microsoft, will release their next consoles around Christmas 2020. Though the devices themselves, as always, will be largely the same, there will be a battle for brand supremacy. If history is any indicator, we have no idea what to expect.
Microsoft announced “Project Scarlett,” a temporary name for its next XBOX console, at the E3 Conference over the weekend. The conference is the video game industry’s biggest annual event, where developers showcase their coming games and hardware. Project Scarlett got a lengthy debut trailer at the event.
The new features are plentiful. They claim that the processing capabilities powered by AMD (Nasdaq: AMD) will be four times that of their XBOX One X. They will also be including a solid state drive (SSD) which should be significantly faster than traditional hard drives. On top of that, the console will be 8K compatible, working ahead into the future of television.
These sound like amazing features, but in reality, nothing will be substantially different from their top competition, the Playstation 5. History suggests that the difference between the two sides will be decided by the consumers.
Historically, console wars aren’t decided by specs. Consoles traditionally debut at the same time and are therefore made with the same specs. In the past, the difference between the two has been presentation.
Two generations ago, the XBOX 360 was king. Playstation 3 was rolled out at an extremely high price tag, and the Microsoft-exclusive Halo games were incredibly popular. Therefore, it was the Microsoft console, XBOX 360, that ruled the day, even though the consoles at the time were breaking without warning all over the country.
Then, when it seemed like Microsoft’s stranglehold on the market was inescapable, it came time for the current generation. Sony learned from the mistakes of its past, and focused on making the console user-friendly. Microsoft, on the other hand, made changes to try and drag their consumers kicking and screaming into the future.
They kicked and screamed, but they stayed right where they were. Microsoft changed some of the most egregious mistakes, but it was too late. They’d never catch up to the Playstation 4 or the Nintendo Switch.
So don’t assume going forward that Sony is the console to beat. One misstep could change everything. And we’ll be here to cover every misstep.