With Sony holding a live global event back in February that announced the PS4 and their plans for it, consumers and developers alike got a chance to get excited and build hype before May’s mega-event E3. Not only announcing it, but showing the controller and several games that are currently in the works, Sony managed to come out of the gate swinging and build momentum in their favor. Now almost a month, and two tradeshows (GDC and PAX East) later, no one has heard anything from Microsoft in regards to the next generation of consoles. Is Microsoft doing itself any favors by being quiet?
With the Xbox 360 releasing in 2005, and the PlayStation 3 releasing almost a full year later in 2006, Microsoft was able to take the opportunity of a head start to gain momentum and sell consoles. When Sony announced the PlayStation 3, many people were turned off of the system because of the console launch price ($599 for the 60GB model), and of the perceived arrogance of Sony. The PlayStation 2 had finished the previous console generation easily on top, and a lot of people felt Sony held the position of “We are going to do what we feel like, and too bad if you don’t like it.” The year head start, the functioning online community, plus the humble display that Microsoft had helped put the Xbox 360 in a good position, a position many people feel is above the PS3.
Flash forward to this year, and it appears Sony has taken notes this last generation. Doing away with the Cell Processor, which was notoriously hard to program for, and having more open and developer-friendly hardware and mindset, Sony is really turning heads. Common perception is that developers and Sony are establishing an avenue of good open communication. It seems Sony is going out of its way to play nice with all developers, from independent studios to mega studios.
Microsoft on the other hand is nowhere to be seen. Granted they are still present at the shows, but there is little too no buzz for them at the moment. Some independent developers are openly frustrated with Microsoft because it is April and they have yet to see a dev kit. It is possible that Microsoft is working more exclusively with large developers than with smaller, independent studios. It is well known that they have a strained relationship with some smaller developers due to certification costs and other obstacles. Sony knows this and appears to be taking full advantage of that issue.
There is much speculation that Microsoft will announce its next console in the weeks before E3 and then have a lot more info at E3, but is the damage already done? Some people feel like Microsoft is repeating the mistakes Sony made with the PS3. Has Microsoft’s success gone to its head? This E3 and the weeks leading up to it are guaranteed to be exciting. Will Microsoft burst out of the gates and give Sony a run for its money, or has the damage been done and Sony will reclaim its spot on top? Stay with us here at Gamers Association for info and opinions on what is certain to be an interesting couple of months.