For the past few months a lot of us cranky old hardcore gamers have been watching the PS4 outsell the Xbox One with a certain sense of smug satisfaction. Serves Microsoft right! They ignored us and tried to pawn off a system laden with draconian restrictions and are now getting their just desserts! Long live the Playstation 4!
That said, I see storm clouds on the horizon. I think Sony’s dominance may be short lived, and by the end of the year we may very well see the Xbox One outselling the PS4 handily. Here’s why…
Memories Are Short
Yes, the Xbox One’s unveiling was a PR nightmare that still haunts Microsoft to this day, but wisely they dropped all the console’s most rage-inducing “features” before launch, and memory of what the Xbox One was once supposed to be is rapidly fading. You can feel the online mood softening — whereas the Xbox One was once an always-online, worse-than-Hitler box from hell, gamers are cautiously dialling down their vitriol as games like Titanfall come out, and folks still dedicated to hating the machine are having to scramble for less-than-compelling justifications like “I need Xbox Live for Netflix!” People can’t maintain their Xbox One rage forever.
Not available on Johnny Call of Duty’s Xbox 360.
Cross-Generation Games Are Coming To An End
Up until now, only the most dedicated hardcore gamers have been buying next-gen consoles. The kind of folks who keep up with every scrap of video game news and actually care whether a game runs at 30 or 60 frames-per-second. Meanwhile everyone else has stuck with their Xbox 360s and PS3s, because why not? Almost everything on the Xbox One and PS4 also exists in a slightly less attractive current-gen form.
Sometime around the middle of 2014 that’s mostly going to stop. Big games like Tom Clancy’s The Division, The Witcher 3, Assassin’s Creed Unity and, of course, Halo go next-gen exclusive. Suddenly the core-casuals, the guys who play maybe half a dozen games a year and don’t really keep up with gaming news are going to turn their attention toward next-gen consoles. These folks are a huge (maybe the biggest) chunk of the console gaming population, and trust me, they weren’t paying attention last year when the Xbox One was being flayed alive by bad press. For most occasional gamers, the Xbox 360 was the console of choice this past generation, and when they decide it’s time to upgrade, they’re going to be looking towards the Xbox One first.