If 2014 was a slightly disappointing year for video games, then the next 12 months promises to be far more significant. The previous calendar year was to some extent hamstrung by a lack of new grade A titles for both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, with some of the most anticipated games delayed, and the best titles on the next generation systems currently being reboots of previous gen software.
However, both Sony and Microsoft will already have put carefully laid plans in place for the new year. So who is ahead in the big console battle, and who can we expect to come out on top in 2015?
PS4 vs Xbox One – The 2014 verdict
There is little doubt that 2014 was Sony’s year. Microsoft spent most of the 12 month period trying to recover from some pretty serious marketing and strategic errors. Consequently, the PS4 outsold the Xbox One by around 5 million units, despite the fact that many Xbox aficionados argued that the Microsoft system actually provided the best exclusive titles.
This is a valid argument, even though Sony was able to showcase a remastered version of The Last of Us which many believe to be the best videogame ever produced. But despite the fact that Microsoft managed to improve the public perception of its console as the year unfolded, and clawed back some of the gap between the PS4 and Xbox One in sales terms, it was still lagging significantly behind Sony at the end of 2014.
PS4 vs Xbox One – Key factors
Several key factors played a part in this outcome. Probably the most important of these was that Sony did a much better job of communicating to the video gaming community what the PS4 was about. And not only did it do this, but it also opted for a games-centric emphasis which was much more pleasing to the core audience for consoles.
Microsoft no doubt still regrets the way that it initially marketed and announced the Xbox One, and it may indeed never truly recover from this in the remainder of this console generation. Sony’s decision to in fact reveal very few details about the PS4 initially has emphatically paid off, one of several decisions which have been particularly well received by gamers that has been part of an overall exemplary marketing approach.
PS4 vs Xbox One pricing
This has been underlined by Sony’s recent announcement that PS4 users will be able to play co-operatively online regardless of whether all people involved actually own the software title. This contrasts starkly with Microsoft’s original policy of effectively forcing gamers to purchase a license for any individual piece of software.
While this is probably something that the games industry would still like to enforce on people – and Sony should not be perceived as some lillywhite keeper of the faith, as it is almost certain that it would have implemented a similar system to Microsoft had it been deemed acceptable by the gamer community – the economic model that Sony has intrinsically associated its console with has certainly paid off than both in terms of public perception and sales.
PS4 vs Xbox one – Microsoft made mistake
Additionally, the PlayStation 4 is simply a better console than the Xbox One. It is more powerful, and no-one, even Microsoft itself, can reasonably argue otherwise. For Microsoft to have charged more for what is a less powerful console when the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One were initially released looks, at best, rather naive, and at worst commercially suicidal.
PS4 vs Xbox One – Proactive Microsoft
However, Microsoft has made some good moves to improve the perception of the console. Ensuring that new purchases of the device were no longer forced to use Kinect was a step in the right direction. And pricing is now far more reasonable, while the list of games available for the console has been arguably more impressive than the PS4 portfolio. The Xbox One probably has the better exclusive titles, and additionally Forza is by far the best driving game on either system; quite a significant factor given the rich history of racing video games.
PS4 vs Xbox One – 2015 exclusives
However, it is arguable that this trend will reverse in 2015. The next 12 months will be a period when the two consoles really bed in, with large numbers of releases coming online for both the Sony and Microsoft devices. But the line-up of exclusive titles for the PS4 for looks a little bit more impressive at this point in time.
PS4 vs Xbox One – a look at games
One of the big jewels in the Sony crown is the Naughty Dog development studio, who already delivered arguably the best game on the PS4 in 2014 with the aforementioned The Last of Us. 2015 will see Naughty Dog unveil the latest in the Uncharted series, and this release definitely has the potential to be a game of the year.
The Order: 1886 is another highly anticipated title for the PlayStation 4 which has really impressed in previews, while Bloodborne and Until Dawn both look like truly worthy AAA titles as well. Sony’s machine will also benefit from two blast from the past titles in 2015, with Ratchet and Clank making a reappearance on the next-generation console, alongside Street Fighter V.
Xbox users will benefit from a new Halo game, while Quantum Break and Crackdown also look promising. But it is telling that BGR’s list of the five most anticipated Xbox One exclusives for 2015 includes Rise of the Tomb Raider; a game that will also appear on the PlayStation 4 at a later date and which isn’t truly exclusive.
PS4 vs Xbox One – Analysts’ verdict
With this in mind, it looks as if 2015 could be another great year for Sony. Although Microsoft has cut the price of the Xbox One aggressively, Sony has a more powerful and gamer-friendly machine, a lot of good will built up from previous activity and policies, and the better list of exclusive titles for 2015, at least according to common consensus.
PS4 vs Xbox one – Wedbush
It is not surprising than that video game analysts believes Sony will be the winner in 2015. Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter believes that Sony’s first party software will be a huge factor, and that Microsoft will be forced to further cut the price of the Xbox One in an attempt to keep up. The proof will be in the pudding, and Microsoft still has a large following in the United States. But at the moment it appears that Sony remains in pole position.