By now you’ve probably heard that on May 21 Microsoft will be having a conference to announce the next generation Xbox console. This is coming just a few months after Sony’s PS4 conference. We’ve got a good idea of what’s going to be in Sony’s console, so now is a fair time to start thinking about the odds of either winning the console war. Unless Microsoft has done an extraordinary amount of work undercover, Sony is already going to have the advantage of being released first out of the two. We already know what Sony’s bringing to the table, so let’s see what Microsoft needs to do to get ahead.
The first thing that needs to be addressed is the assertion that the new Xbox will require players to be constantly online in order to play even single-player games. If Microsoft goes through with this, then it’s all over for them. No one except dusty old executives thinks that this is a good idea. Not only will this inconvenience many users, but it will make the console totally inaccessible to huge chunks of the country. Microsoft needs to listen to the backlash the internet has given to the idea and scrap the concept.
One concept that is seeming to go the way of the Dreamcast is backwards-compatibility. At this point the PS4 probably won’t be able to play PS3 or PS2 games. Sure, players will be able to download/stream these old games, but why should we have to repurchase these games and let their entire library collect dust? Microsoft can gain a huge victory by bringing proper support for Xbox 360 games. Bonus points if they let you play original Xbox games as well. This is a huge selling point among longtime customers. Speaking as someone who has upgraded from a PS1 to a PS2, it’s a great feeling to be able to not have to dig up your other console every time you want to play an old favorite.
Another thing that will help out Microsoft is if they lower the barrier for online. Right now, you need to pay $60 a year for the privilege of online play or even using Netflix. PSN is free, and with Gaikai, it’s going to be much faster than what Microsoft can offer. To convince players to join up with them, Microsoft should stop charging for Xbox Live, or at least charge less. Maybe just make it so you don’t need Gold to use multimedia. Or maybe give every Xbox 8 hours of multiplayer a week before they buy a Gold membership. That alone will be good enough to draw at least some people away from PSN.
Well, that’s my two cents. What do you guys think? How can Microsoft convince you to buy their console over Sony’s? Leave your answer in the comments.
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