Eager gamers are awaiting the next generation PlayStation 5 and Xbox Two consoles, but with Microsoft floundering behind Sony in the video game marketplace, it seems that the electronics and software giant may consider a different approach next time round. Rumors are accelerating that Microsoft’s next console may not be released at all, due to steps being planned by both Microsoft and its rival Sony at present.
Xbox Two – New PC tie-in
Reports indicate that Microsoft’s tie-in system with Xbox One, PC and Sony’s Beta on MUSASHI firmware on the Playstation 4 may have an influence over the plans For the Xbox Two. And some analysts are suggesting that the Xbox Two maybe shelved as a consequence, or at the very least delayed significantly.
It has already been revealed by the credible source Gamespot that some unreleased and currently in-development Xbox One exclusive titles such as Quantum Break and ReCore will feature PC ports. This could be part of a broader policy for Microsoft, in which the corporation tends to nudge its new Xbox One games onto the PC platform should this new approach be considered profitable.
If this becomes a success story for Microsoft, it is possible that it may entirely eliminate the Xbox Two. This may seem like an alarmist position, but one must consider several factors in this assertion.
Firstly, Microsoft is struggling to make any impression on the massive market lead that Sony has built up in the existing generation. While the public pronouncements of Microsoft have remained predictably bullish on the subject, the reality is that it will be extremely difficult for the corporation to escape the negative connotations of the Xbox One generation. Microsoft scored a massive PR own goal before the Xbox One was even released, and the controversy over its lack of power in comparison to the PS4 has not exactly helped the situation.
In addition to this fundamental financial issue, the gaming marketplace is also becoming significantly more complex, and the concept of standalone consoles is arguably rather dated. Investing vast amounts of money in hardware, when software can potentially do the job of expensive peripherals, does on one level seem to be irrational.
Microsoft also has the potential to tap into a PC marketplace that is becoming not only increasingly lucrative and fertile, but also more feasible for more people to enter. While many PC games and users have argued that the desktop machine provides a superior platform to consoles for sometime, the barrier to adoption on a wide scale was always the relatively high cost of machines.
But prices for PCs are now coming down significantly, and the cultural power of video games means that people are generally more inclined to invest money in playing them. And many PC gamers believe that ultimately, for hardcore gamers at least, investing money in a console is false economy, owing to the fact that PC titles are far cheaper than their console equivalents.
As rumors begin to unfold about the Xbox Two, Siliconera has also confirmed the beta for 3.50 firmware update of the Playstation 4. The firmware update in question is codenamed “MUSASHI”, and will enable Sony to significantly improve the online services of the PlayStation 4. In particular, the most notable feature of the new update is the ability to remote play PS4 games on both PC and Mac desktops.
This piece of software has the potential to break the console exclusivity for both Microsoft and Sony; obviously a major component of the console battleground. It would give both manufacturers the opportunity to concentrate on producing supplemental hardware for the PC, enabling PC users to adequately run PlayStation 4 and Xbox One games.
An extreme interpretation of this news would be that consoles could be entirely confined to the dustbin of history, and it will particularly threaten the future of the Xbox Two. It speaks volumes that Microsoft was forced to go public on its plans to actually release a next generation console; underlying the fact that the Xbox One generation has been extremely disappointing for the corporation.
It would be extremely surprising, and indeed disappointing for many, if we didn’t see a PlayStation 5 release, as Sony has quite simply owned the console marketplace over the last few years, and certainly since the PlayStation 4 was released. There is no particular onus on Sony to engage in a high-risk strategy, when it is leading the marketplace by such a considerable distance, and one can be almost completely certain that we will see a PlayStation 5 release at some point.
Microsoft will be assessing the gaming climate very carefully at the moment, despite its public pronouncements. It is certainly established that the Xbox One has no chance of winning this console generation, and if Sony is able to carry that the momentum into the next generation, it may prompt Microsoft to change tack completely.
The forthcoming E3, being held in June, could in fact be critical to the future of the Xbox brand. If Microsoft is able to deliver some outstanding exclusive titles, it could prompt Microsoft to develop, and ultimately release, an Xbox Two console in the foreseeable future. Ubisoft’s The Division has timed exclusive DLCs on the Xbox One, which could have a positive influence on consumers. But if Microsoft perceives that the Xbox One has been a failure, it may decide to shelve the Xbox Two completely.
Whether this drastic turn of events comes to pass or not, what is certain is that Microsoft will have to make some serious design decisions before the Xbox Two is released. Cloud gaming, virtual reality and streaming will be extremely important in a diversified and increasingly complex marketplace. Microsoft made monumental mistakes with the Xbox One, and it must avoid repeating such blunders when it releases the Xbox Two, if the Xbox brand is to live on much longer.