Microsoft has been trailing Sony in the next generation console race ever since Microsoft’s disastrous Xbox One unveiling. Microsoft had to use E3 to propel itself back into the race. Sony had to use E3 to maintain its lead. Nintendo had to use E3 to remind people that the Wii U exists. Now that Microsoft’s, Nintendo’s, and Sony’s press conferences are over, the console war should just be starting, but it seems that it may already be over.
By all accounts, Microsoft’s E3 press conference was immensely better than its Xbox One reveal. Microsoft showcased game after game yesterday. Many exciting, exclusive franchises were announced. Games such as Titanfall, Quantum Break, and Killer Instinct generated lots of positive feedback for Microsoft. Despite this, the night belonged to Sony. By putting gamers first, Sony was able to seal its victory for the night, and perhaps for the generation, when a chant of “Sony, Sony!” erupted in the audience.
Sony did not win the night by amazing gamers with great games (although it did), proving that Playstation Plus is the best deal in gaming (although it did), or by showing that the PS4’s graphics are the best in the industry (although it did). Sony found victory in its gamer-friendly used game policy, cheaper price, and lack of horrible DRM. While Microsoft has taken a very business-focused stance, Sony has taken a very gamer-focused stance. This stance by Sony has allowed it to become the clear favorite in the next generation console war.
Nintendo had a chance today to steal some of Sony’s thunder with its Nintendo Direct livestream. Unfortunately for Nintendo, all the lackluster stream did was remind people why they don’t own a Wii U. Some games coming out look interesting, but there still isn’t a compelling reason to buy a Wii U. A new Zelda could have been what Nintendo needed to generate buzz for its hurting console, but that did not happen. Instead, Nintendo showed off the HD remake of The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker. Wind Waker is a great game, but an HD remake is not what Nintendo needs right now. Nintendo needs to do something quickly or else the Wii U will go down in history as Nintendo’s biggest mistake.
Although Microsoft and Nintendo have plenty of time to turn things around for this upcoming generation, both companies have dug a deep, deep hole that will not be easy to escape. Microsoft is going to have a tough time convincing consumers to choose a system that is $100 more expensive than its closest competitor, more strict on used games, and requires a connection to the Internet every 24 hours. Nintendo is having a tough time convincing consumers about the entire concept of the Wii U. Both hurdles that these two companies face open the door for Sony to win the next console war by a wide margin.
Is the next generation console war already over? Although Sony has absolutely dominated the war so far, it is still too early to call the fight. One thing is for sure, though: Nintendo has been on the ropes ever since the fight started and Microsoft has just taken a potential knock-out blow.