The “Console Wars” can make for some mighty fine entertainment. Mostly fueled by excited fans, the ongoing back and forth chess match between Microsoft’s Xbox and Sony’s PlayStation brands is pure marketing gold. Gamers gasp at the latest announcements, turning to Twitter to debate and discuss recent developments in feverish rapture – offering a mountain of free press for the companies involved.
As we all know, competition is great for gamers. With Microsoft and Sony clanging against each other above us like giant internet Gundam (and Nintendo sitting off to the side twiddling its thumbs and…um…winning), awesome exclusives rain down from the sky like candy from a piñata, waiting for gamers to scoop them up and savor the deliciousness. It is grand theater, and the benefit for gamers is that the constant push to win causes all companies involved to offer amazing goodies to the public in an attempt to curry favor and dominate a few news cycles.
Shots Fired! Bethesda Is Hit!
In the latest (extremely bold) move in the console wars, Microsoft fired off a shot from its enormous money cannon – outright purchasing ZeniMax – the parent company of beloved developer and publisher Bethesda. Bethesda is a company that everyone loves to hate – mostly because we all love it so much that we can’t bear to express our feelings properly. With every release, gamers gather online to scream about how the latest Bethesda game isn’t Elder Scrolls VI, and how the publisher is ruining everything. This is how we show our devotion.
With Bethesda now in the clutches of the dastardly Microsoft, PlayStation fans are instantly left in the lurch. Not only might new Bethesda games be released exclusively on Xbox systems (and PC, of course…can’t forget PC), but – horror of horrors – Xbox owners might get those games for free on day one with the Xbox Game Pass. This represents a nightmarish scenario for now-oppressed PlayStation fans, as the games we love to hate might not be available to us on our system of choice.
What happens to PlayStation fans when the next Elder Scrolls fails to launch on PS5? Will Starfield be released as an Xbox exclusive? If Bethesda ever releases a real Fallout game again, will we even be able to play it? (See what I did there? Hate it because I love it). Why have the video game gods forsaken us?
Relax – Microsoft Wants That Money
PlayStation fans should be reassured by the existence of Minecraft PSVR. Released this week as a free patch for PSVR owners that already purchased the base game, Minecraft can now be played fully in VR. This, my friends, is a free goodie rained down from the sky on PlayStation owners by the dreaded enemy – Microsoft.
It turns out that Microsoft is not the dastardly bad guy that PlayStation fans like to make them out to be – rather, it is a company focused on strengthening its brands and market share. In fact, Microsoft’s public attitude towards PlayStation fans has in recent years been pretty friendly. And by all accounts, Microsoft is a fairly benevolent overlord. Studios owned by Microsoft repeatedly state in the press that, while very collaborative, Microsoft tends to let them make their own decisions. In fact, the purchase of these studios often allows them to not only survive, but to create projects that would have otherwise been neglected.
Mojang Studios, which is owned fully by Microsoft, was able to produce – and release for free – a patch that lets PSVR fans play Minecraft in VR. In fact, Minecraft has been continuously supported on a ton of non-Xbox devices, everything from Nintendo Switch to my daughter’s cruddy Android tablet. Why? Microsoft is all about profit, and it wants that money. This is a publicly traded company, y’all.
PlayStation fans represent an enormous swath of the gaming public – and along with that comes the largest subsection of purchasing power in the gaming world. Any company able to release games on PlayStation would be utterly foolish not to – they would be cutting off the greatest source of revenue available. Do the owners of the Xbox brand care more about bragging rights, or do they care about making those dollars? Do you even have to ask?
Xbox will be able to gain more than enough bragging rights by slapping those Bethesda games on Game Pass day one – just like they did The Outer Worlds last year, immediately following their purchase of Obsidian Entertainment. Did PlayStation owners still get to play The Outer Worlds? Of course we did. We have money. These Bethesda games will come to PlayStation consoles, and we will be able to play them.
Why Not Both, Traitor?
Of course, there is another solution for those really worried about not being able to play whatever new Doom title release next. You could always buy an Xbox Series Whatever-The-Hell and grab a Game Pass membership. Playing both sides of the field never hurt anybody. Go ahead and be a double agent, living it up with the best of both worlds. The console wars are a meaningless construct, and I guarantee your house won’t spontaneously combust if you have both consoles sitting under your television. I know that I, for one, will be angering my wife by picking up an Xbox in a year or two when prices go down a bit.
Just don’t forget where your loyalties lie. PlayStation Gundam is watching.
Previous Checkpoint Articles
- Checkpoint: Do Digital-Only Consoles Really Save You Money?
- Checkpoint: No, The PlayStation Plus Collection Is Not Backwards Compatibility Behind A Paywall
- Checkpoint: Sony’s Frenzied PS5 Pre-Order Scheme Was A Chaotic But Genius Move To Upend Microsoft
- Checkpoint: We Really Need A ThunderCats Game From Platinum Games
- Checkpoint: Ghost Of Tsushima Puts An Exclamation Point On Sony’s Biggest Advantage With PS5
- Checkpoint: Fall Guys Is Great But Those Team Games Need To Go
- Checkpoint: PS Plus On PS5 – Sony Seriously Need To Upgrade PS Plus For PlayStation 5