As the saying goes, revenge is a dish best served cold, and Xbox certainly took its sweet time – seven years in fact – to deliver possibly one of the most vicious sucker punches of the next-gen tussle with PlayStation to date.
[wpdiscuz-feedback id=”4gd4sd1s93″ question=”Sweet revenge?” opened=”0″]Feast your eyes on this beauty posted on the official Xbox Twitter handle earlier today .[/wpdiscuz-feedback]
Out of context, this has all the hallmarks of a reasonably innocuous marketing thread flaunting the merits of the Series S/X Smart Delivery feature. Yet, there’s far more lurking under the surface.
To get a sense of where this all began, we look back to E3 in June 2013. PlayStation and Xbox were knee-deep in their respective promotional drives leading up to the PS4 and Xbox One launch.
Microsoft had just outlined a convoluted, anti-consumer policy to curb the second-hand resale of games. Regular online check-ins every 24 hours to authentic games, confusing publisher/retailer authorization to resell games and the requirement that recipients of second-hand games exist on the original owner’s Xbox Live Friend list for at least 30 days prior.
After fans kicked up a fuss, Microsoft later axed the policy , but not before Sony published the following promotional spot taking an open dig.
In many respects, a grinning Shuhei Yoshida handing over a PS4 game came to define the console’s dominance this generation. It reasonable to believe it will have stuck in Microsoft’s mind. A bitter reminder of hitting rock bottom with the botched Xbox One launch.
Darting back to the present day, Sony announced yesterday that there is no free upgrade for existing owners of Marvel’s Spider-Man on PS4 to the Remastered PS5 version packaged with Spider-Man: Miles Morales. It’s all reminiscent of the Control Ultimate Edition debacle.
In a statement provided to Kotaku, the gaming giant produced one of the most headache-inducing examples of corporate nonsense . Try getting your head around this:
“Marvel’s Spider-Man: Remastered is an enhanced version of Marvel’s Spider-Man, and is included as part of Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales Ultimate Edition for the PlayStation 5. In addition, players who purchase Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales on PlayStation 4 can upgrade at no additional cost to the PS5 version of Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales and can take advantage of a paid-upgrade to download Marvel’s Spider-Man: Remastered.
There are no plans currently to offer Marvel’ s-Spider-Man: Remastered as a standalone. Players with a copy of Marvel’s Spider-Man for PS4 can purchase Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales Ultimate Edition to experience Marvel’s Spider-Man: Remastered on PS5. Marvel’s Spider-Man for PS4 also will be backwards compatible on PS5.”
In contrast to Sony’s wordy statement, Microsoft’s ‘Just buy the game’ tweet is simple, eloquent, and to the point, harking back to Sony’s 2013 gibing spot.
[wpdiscuz-feedback id=”miujz8e76j” question=”Have the tables really turned?” opened=”0″]Oh, how the tables have turned, PlayStation. Hats off, Microsoft.[/wpdiscuz-feedback]
It’s worth noting that Xbox’s Smart Delivery feature doesn’t apply to all games. As funny as the dig may be, the reality of the upgrade path to next-gen games is more nuanced. Nevertheless, Microsoft certainly chose its moment well.