Sony and Microsoft are starting to reveal their plans for the upcoming PS5 and Xbox Series X consoles, and while we don't know which company 's approach will prove to be the winning formula, their strategies are wildly different.
Microsoft is telling players they don't have to upgrade their Xbox One right away, and will be able to play new Xbox Series X games across console generations. It's also leaning into cloud gaming with Project xCloud, going live this September for Android users.
Sony is taking a different tack, and is shoring up platform exclusives like it did with the PS4, with the likes of Horizon Forbidden West and Gran Turismo 7, but it's going a step further, straying from traditional PlayStation-only titles to historically multi-platform titles, and it's investing a lot of money to make sure the PS5 is the place to play.
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Kinda Funny Games' Imran Khan has taken to ResetEra to drop quite the bombshell. Following up on the news he broke just days before, alluding to Sony securing a timed-exclusive that would leave gamers "shocked", Khan has now revealed that Sony has shelled out the big bucks to make sure it has an advantage over Microsoft when it comes to a multitude of titles, paying third-party studios for exclusivity when it comes to both games, and content.
"There isn't a major third party out there Sony failed to approach asking what kind of deals they could work out. Some had content, some had games, some had content and games. It is not like Microsoft was not willing to offer, they just didn't want to pay the asking price, because Sony approached with pretty high numbers in the first place.
"That 'PlayStation Advantage' branding and 'Console Exclusive' wording are both going to get a lot of use in the next few years."
Nabbing platform and timed exclusives isn't a new strategy by any means; in fact Microsoft has done the same in the past, with Rise of the Tomb Raider being an example of the latter - arriving on PS4 one year after its Xbox debut.
Microsoft has since been vocal about not shutting out players from gaming experiences, regardless of where they choose to play, but it still has platform exclusives with the likes of Halo Infinite, so it's not completely against the idea of games being tied to a particular piece of hardware.
As much as consumers may rally against console or timed exclusive games and content, it's still an effective way to get players to buy into an ecosystem. If you want to play a certain game, or get access to the content as early as possible, you'll have to consider buying the console that's going to allow you to do that.
Sony has locked and loaded a strategy that could deal out a massive blow to Microsoft, and unless the American tech giant can pull off its cloud gaming flawlessly, it's going to have a hard time keeping up.