While the Xbox One X and PS4 Pro are shocking changes to the console generations we are used to seeing, both these new systems are still tied to the current generation. They offer upgrades to the resolution, detail, and frame rate, but they don’t have exclusive titles.
One analyst has even gone so far as to call the PS4 pro a “gimmick.” Is it possible that Sony is just buying time while Microsoft focuses on Xbox One X? Join us for the facts and a healthy dose of speculation.
The PS4 Pro is a Marketing Gimmick, Says IDC Analyst
When you break down the numbers, Xbox One X is more powerful than the PS4 Pro by a noticeable margin. Despite this gap, both Microsoft and Sony have made it clear that these mid-generation consoles must continue to play titles that release all the standard PS4 and Xbox systems.
In other words, the difference in power doesn’t manifest itself in the way that it could, because these new consoles are forced to work with games that run on older systems. In an interview with Gaming Bolt, IDC’s Research Director of Gaming and VR/AR, Lewis Ward, offered his own own opinion.
Specifically, he predicted that Sony would release a traditional next-generation PS5 in the next few years, and Microsoft would lean into the Xbox One X.
”Pro is mostly a marketing gimmick. It’s nothing like Xbox One X in terms of the performance lift. It’s basically a standard console refresh, but Sony tweaked a few internals and got a 10% performance boost for the Pro. Big whoop.”
Strong words indeed. He went on to note that the Xbox One X is 40% more powerful than the original PS4 or Xbox One consoles. It is also planned to have VR and AR support at some point during its life cycle.
Interestingly, he also claimed that Xbox One X will eventually run content that the other Xbox One consoles won’t be able to play. We know this is true in terms of VR, but Microsoft has been adamant about ensuring that you can play all your games on any Xbox One console.
In Lewis Ward’s opinion, Sony will release a PS5 well before Microsoft moves on from Xbox One X. Let’s assume that this does happen. The PS5 will most likely be far more powerful than Xbox One X.
This is where his comment about exclusive titles comes into play.
How Microsoft Could (Try to) Compete With PS5
I don’t think either the PS4 Pro or the Xbox One X is a gimmick, but I do think they play into a common gimmick in the form of 4K. The obsession with higher resolution is a large reason that these two consoles exist. Furthermore, they chase this goal of 4K without focusing on all the other ways a game could improve.
As a result, they have more power, but developers can’t utilize it to the fullest potential. The next big leap we’re going to see from gaming will come in the form of the PS5, where Sony will sever generational ties and start the next era of gaming.
When this happens, Microsoft will be left in a precarious position. The Xbox One X released in the holiday of 2017, and with current rumors pointing to a 2019-2020 release date for PS5, they would have to cut their losses and possibly anger a lot of fans to rush out the Xbox 2.
In the end, it all comes down to sales. If the Xbox One X does really well for Microsoft, they could find a way to make it work, despite the performance gulf between the X and the PlayStation 5.
How you ask?
Well, if Microsoft isn’t ready to say goodbye to Xbox One X when Sony drops the new console, they could have a backup plan, as outlined by Lewis Ward. We know that Xbox One X isn’t supposed to have any exclusives, barring VR, but what if Microsoft changed their stance on that?
They wouldn’t be able to completely match the PS5, but they could take the reigns of the Xbox One X and let developers create exclusive titles for the system. This would offer an immediate boost in fidelity for people who already own it, and could buy some time for them to decide how they’ll move forward.
The other possibility is also pretty simple. If Xbox One X doesn’t sell well for Microsoft, they could cut their losses and push out the Xbox 2 in order to compete with the PS5. In either case, the PS5 will most likely get the drop on them, and they have to know it.
With an incredible lineup of exclusive titles and a huge lead in sales, Sony is winning the current console war based on numbers alone. When they release the PS5, the jump in power will most likely dwarf what Microsoft has to offer with the Xbox One X.
The only way they could hope to compete using the X, would be to push every ounce of energy it has into exclusive titles. Even then, they would need to stop canceling promising exclusives left and right to compete with Sony’s lineup.
Microsoft is keeping a cool head, but they need to make some big changes if they hope to survive into the next generation.
They were a year late with Xbox One X, giving Sony an advantage with the Pro. There’s no denying that the X is more powerful than the Pro, but Sony still has the headstart. In the end, that could be the most powerful tool of all.
Do you think PS4 Pro was a gimmick? Will Microsoft try to use the Xbox One X to compete with PS5? Let us know in the comments!
Article by - Bradley Ramsey
Insert date - 3/13/18