Console wars have been around as long as the boxes themselves, but none as long as the Xbox and PlayStation brands. Unfortunate toxicity and all, the fight between which console is best has no signs of dying down. The Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 aren’t even here yet, and the conversation is as relevant as ever.
Xbox head Phil Spencer wants it all to end, but that’s not good for business, nor is it realistic. In an interview with The Washington Post , the exec states:
This idea that in order for the industry to grow, some companies must succeed and others must fail … it doesn’t help gaming reach the potential it should.
That’s an unrealistic take, one he’s only taking because Xbox is behind in this generation’s race.
PlayStation and Xbox are competitors. No matter how friendly they seem on the outside, each is here to beat the other. “Friends” don’t play chicken with price points. Competing businesses do.
Toxicity is terrible, no doubt. Players going at each other’s throats over the better box is nothing short of sad and should end. But Spencer thinks we should all praise everything, virtually eliminating a sense of competition.
Look at Valve with Steam. Before the divisive Epic Games Store, the Half-Life developer remained stagnant for years. It wasn’t releasing any games nor making any significant updates to the Steam platform. But when Epic came with Fortnite, a fairer developer split, free games, and exclusive titles, things started to change.
Since then, Steam has had a library overhaul, Valve has released Half-Life Alyx, and they’ve changed their price tier to provide more to devs. It didn’t sit back and “congratulate” Epic for taking its audience. The once-legendary developer got to work.
Microsoft’s accessibility-first direction is admirable. They’re making games cheaper and more available to all. But, to act like PlayStation and Xbox fans won’t take pride in their consoles is ignorant. Players will assess the features on both boxes, and loudly exclaim what works best for them.
Not only does competition breed innovation, but the discussion also ensures both consoles are consistently in our headspace. If no one’s debating which exclusives are better, what hardware is more powerful, and whose features are a cut above, then what’s the point of competition? Each console might as well be the same.
And we all know that isn’t the case. Even Epic’s CEO knows this.