Sony and Microsoft are approaching things a bit differently when it comes to cross generation strategy, specifically for console exclusive titles.
Microsoft has a strategy in mind for the Series X, which states that their latest next gen offering will be able to play most, if not all, of the previous generation games and take advantage of the latest hardware, providing an unprecedented level of value and choice for consumers. In fact, Halo: Infinite, the next big exclusive on their portfolio, will not be a Series X exclusive, as it will be releasing on the Xbox One as well.
In short, you have the choice not to upgrade to the Series X right away, but if you do, then you will be enjoying everything with the latest technological advancements that the next generation console can provide.
Aaron Greenberg expressed this through a Tweet just recently.
Sony, on the other hand, is taking things a little bit differently as the next generation slowly creeps in. Through an interview with Games Industry, Sony Interactive Entertainment president and CEO Jim Ryan offers insight what on what strategy they are employing for the upcoming PlayStation 5:
“We have always said that we believe in generations. We believe that when you go to all the trouble of creating a next-gen console, that it should include features and benefits that the previous generation does not include. And that, in our view, people should make games that can make the most of those features.“
Ryan continues on to say that “We do believe in generations, and whether it’s the DualSense controller, whether it’s the 3D audio, whether it’s the multiple ways that the SSD can be used… we are thinking that it is time to give the PlayStation community something new, something different, that can really only be enjoyed on PS5.”
It sounds very bold of Sony to do such a thing, to have PS5 only software as soon as possible, but it is also exactly the reason why PlayStation fans will upgrade to the next generation – to play games built specifically for that.
It makes sense, although some may see it as a move that will abandon PS4 users as soon as the PS5 is out. Especially in this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, not everyone is as liquid as they would want to be. Sony does not want to abandon the massive PS4 user base and they know it.
Ryan reiterates that they will not be leaving the PS4 behind, and says that “We have always felt that we had a responsibility to serve that [PS4] community for several years after the launch of PS5 and that it represented a huge business opportunity for us,”
“The numbers are quite straightforward. If you say in broad brush figures that we have a community of 100 million PS4 owners right now, and in the first couple of years… I don’t know, somewhere between 15 and 25 million might migrate to PS5, that still leaves a huge number of people with PS4s. And that community is demonstrating an amazing stickiness, and willingness to stay engaged that, I think, the events of the past few months have just reinforced what we knew already.“
To be clear, both the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X have been confirmed to show support for their little brothers PS4 and Xbox One, but it is only Microsoft that will provide cross generation support for first party exclusives, like Halo Infinite which will release on both Xbox One and Series X. Sony will once again bank on the strength of their first party portfolio to boost the PS5 sales, a strategy that proved to be a huge success for the PS4.
Different strategies for Sony and Microsoft, but one thing is for certain, the next generation of consoles will surely be something to remember. We’re all in.