With the gaming industry growing rapidly the competition is intensifying. In previous generations of consoles, the “console wars” between Microsoft and Sony were focusing on getting as many “exclusives” (titles you can only play on that console) as possible. Because of this strategy, the Playstation 4 came out as the clear winner in that generation. Now, Microsoft has been on a spending spree to make sure it’s different this time.
Although sales numbers
of the new console generations don’t lie, with the Playstation 5 taking a clear lead, I’d argue that the “console wars” belong to the past. Sony and Microsoft are now competing in a larger gaming market, one of subscriptions & mobile gaming. Both have an “all you can eat” subscription, essentially a “Netflix for games”. Sony has Playstation Now and Microsoft has Xbox Game Pass. These subscriptions give users access to games through consoles (PS Now & GP), PC (streaming through PS Now, download on GP), or virtually any device through on-demand streaming.
The decoupling of revenue from console sales means that the “console wars” belong to the past. Instead, it becomes a “subscription war” where exclusives will be used to attract users. The intellectual property included in the acquisition includes iconic titles such as Call of Duty and Warcraft, but also mobile games such as Candy Crush. Microsoft previously acquired ZeniMax (parent of Bethesda) bringing titles such as Fallout and Wolfenstein to Game Pass. Although Microsoft has promised not to restrict current titles to the Xbox ecosystem, there are no guarantees it will not do so in the future. Sony has been warned.
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