Xbox has finally become a competitor to PlayStation
Ever since the Xbox One and the PS4 launched in 2013, Sony has owned the console market. Whenever you asked someone what gaming console they owned, the answer was usually a PS4.
The Xbox One was originally marketed as an entertainment device, while the PS4 was marketed as a console made for gamers. During the entire PlayStation 4 generation, PlayStation put out critically acclaimed and commercially successful exclusives such as God of War, Horizon Zero Dawn, Ghost of Tsushima, Bloodborne, Spider-Man and more.
Xbox’s exclusives were few and far between, and none rose to the level of the PlayStation exclusives. Most importantly, the PS4 undercut the Xbox One by $100, with the PS4 starting at $399 while the Xbox One was $499.
All these mistakes by Xbox made buying the PS4 an easy decision for consumers. As of the end of 2020, PlayStation has sold over 110 million consoles while Xbox stopped releasing console sale numbers because they were beaten so badly by the PS4. (https://www.statista.com/statistics/651576/global-ps4-console-unit-sales/)
Microsoft was almost ready to abandon the Xbox brand, but they made the smart decision of putting Phil Spencer at the head of the company. Under Spencer’s leadership, Xbox has acquired prestigious game studios such as Obsidian and Ninja Theory.
Most recently, Xbox acquired Bethesda, one of the biggest publishers in gaming. Xbox focused on beefing up its exclusives and now has 23 first party studios, more than doubling PlayStation’s 12.
Spencer and his team also created Xbox Game Pass in 2017, a monthly subscription service akin to Netflix where subscribers have access to a curated list of games and all future first party Xbox titles. This service has become Xbox’s focus, as it has expanded beyond Xbox consoles and put the service on PC.
The company also has long term plans to use its cloud gaming service, Project xCloud, to allow game pass subscribers to stream games over their phones and televisions.
Subscribers have access to all Xbox first party games, the EA play catalogue and other quality titles. They have also made deals to bring huge third-party titles to Game Pass on the day of release such as Outriders and MLB the Show 21.
It is often called “the best deal in gaming” for a reason: It provides a tremendous amount of value for a relatively low price of $15 a month. Xbox revealed in January that game pass has surpassed 18 million subscribers.
That is not to say Xbox has been perfect. In January, Xbox tried to raise the price of Xbox Live Gold, their multiplayer gaming service, from $5 a month to $10. This was met with outrage, and to Xbox’s credit, they quickly retracted while changing their stance and no longer requiring Xbox Live for free to play titles like Fortnite and Warzone.
With Xbox’s improvement, PlayStation can no longer simply stick to the status quo and risk losing ground to Xbox. PlayStation is currently creating their own gaming subscription service and given out great games to PS5 owners for free on their multiplayer gaming service, PlayStation Plus, as a response to Game Pass.
With Game Pass, exciting new exclusives, and a long-term plan to reach millions of new customers through their phones and televisions, the outlook for Xbox has never been more positive. The increased competition means Xbox and Sony will be competing for years to come, which greatly benefits consumers. Gaming is better when Xbox is in it.