No matter what your stance is on the Microsoft unveiling of the Xbox One on May 21st it should be incredibly clear that their timing and fumble has just played into the competition’s hands. Both Nintendo and Sony have seen an uptick in the image of their respective consoles after Microsoft revealed the Xbox One and did a great job in alienating a lot of their core audience, which is gamers. Gamers have been up in arms about the reveal of the Xbox One and how little of the event was focused on games, with most of the attention being on the Xbox One being a media hub.
We’ve all heard about the Wii U’s meteoric rise in Amazon rankings (which does not mean sales increased 900%, just that they moved up Amazon’s algorithm-based system due to more sales) and how fans have been demanding that Sony not make some of the same mistakes as Microsoft did. For Nintendo there really isn’t much that they can do to capitalize on this mistake from Microsoft, as the Wii U is already out and slogging its way through the sludgy market. But it has kept true to the games and treats the media functions as an afterthought, which keeps gamers happy and has pushed a few into the loving arms of Nintendo once again.
Sony, on the other hand, is in a rather unique position. The PlayStation 4 reveal was one of the most vague console reveals in recent memory, where they just talked about the name that we already knew and revealed the hardware specs as well as a few upcoming games that will run on the system. A lot of the burning issues were simply not addressed in lieu of showing off some next generation games. Some of this intentional vagueness can only help them, as if they change their minds on something, it was never formally announced anyway and Sony can look like they have their finger on the pulse and truly care about the consumer.
We saw this with Kaz Hirai’s recent interview where he talks about the PlayStation 4 being all about the gamers. While I won’t go as far as to say that it is disingenuous of him to do, the timing and the message are blows to the already downed Microsoft who have to be scrambling internally to help fix the image of the Xbox One. Sony can go through and fine tune some of the DRM and backwards compatibility plans that they have seeing as though there is no solid information on them anywhere, to ensure that they are meeting their customers demands with the PlayStation 4.
In a way, this is what Microsoft gets for being the last company to reveal their next generation console. They thought that they would tackle the reveal in a different way and ended up paying for it. Them committing to a few really bad ideas leaves them in a lurch while Nintendo and Sony can look like they truly care about gamers and that Microsoft is only out for money. Interest in the Wii U and PlayStation 4 have only gone up since then, it will take a lot for Microsoft to reverse this trend.