The next-gen console specs are here and we’re starting to get an idea of where everything might fall in the next generation so, of course, we’ve gotta make some predictions here.
For one, the story is starting to sound very similar to the unveiling of the previous gen of consoles, with each bringing comparable stuff to the table and letting the chips fall where they may. You wouldn’t have been remiss if you predicted that the Xbox One was going to absolutely dominate this generation, but that didn’t really happen. Sony’s resurgence on the back of first-party exclusives and features like VR is the kind of story people love to read about and analyse for years. Sure, you can blame Microsoft’s Xbox One not really catching fire around the world on a number of things but, as it typically does in these tales, exclusives and unique offerings really help give a console an edge.
And it looks like history is repeating itself. So far there is no word yet on whether VR will be coming to Project Scarlett, but we do know that VR will be a component of the PS5 strategy. Again, as in the past, both Sony and Microsoft are touting their machines as jack-of-all-trades media boxes and that’s fair, but it’s tough to win over customers this way. Because, let’s be real, if an online network and services were all that mattered, Xbox would have put this competition to rest long ago with its cutting-edge Xbox Live service.
Just talking in general, if Project Scarlett doesn’t bring compelling exclusives to the game then we’re looking at a sequel to this generation in many respects. Halo Infinite looks set to be one of those games but it is going to need a bunch of them. And, to be clear, Project Scarlett doesn’t need VR…as long as it is bringing its A-game in other areas. Minor graphical differences between ports, access to a bevvy of social options, etc., are not going to convince gamers to choose one over the other. Things like games you can only play on one system and successful console accessories like VR headsets do, however.
Everything Microsoft showed off was impressive but it also had a legacy hanging over its head. The revelation of something really big and groundbreaking didn’t come. Speaking fairly, how groundbreaking would a Microsoft streaming service have been after Google Stadia’s announcement, but still, it seems like Xbox needs more than simply building on the second-place finish of this generation.
All in all, it was a great showing from Microsoft but their intentions for the gaming division still aren’t that clear for some of us. Sony is starting to bet more and more of the company on the success of the PlayStation brand and its affiliated services while Xbox is one among many at Microsoft. Will this next generation’s console race be a repeat of this matchup? Only the future will tell us for sure but we’d really, really like to see Microsoft kill it with content.