The dispute between PlayStation and Xbox over the Activision takeover continues to escalate. Now a document testifies that Sony is afraid of becoming like Nintendo without Call of Duty – although the company has already initiated this step itself.
PlayStation doesn’t want to be like Nintendo
In the legal battle over the Activision acquisition, Sony shared a major concern in an official statement: Without Call of Duty, PlayStation would sooner or later become like Nintendo, which would negatively change the competitive situation with Xbox. (Source: Sony)
However, aside from the fact that Xbox has yet to present an exclusive plan for Call of Duty in the event of a takeover, Sony’s statement makes little sense on another level – as PlayStation is already following Nintendo’s lead in many ways, and of its own free will.
PS5, Xbox & Switch: New dynamics in the industry
At first glance, the Nintendo Switch and the PlayStation 5 don’t have too much in common. However, a closer look reveals some interesting parallels between the two consoles – and especially the companies behind them – that point to a new dynamic in the gaming industry.
Both PlayStation and Nintendo are world-famous gaming brands that have been with many gamers since childhood and have always had a significant influence on the market. For me, however, the most important commonality between the two currently lies in the way they handle the platforms’ respective exclusive games.
Sony following in Nintendo’s footsteps?
Nintendo and PlayStation have made heroes like Super Mario, Nathan Drake, Donkey Kong and Aloy into icons and created huge exclusive franchises along the way. Anyone who ever wanted to play a Smash Bros. or God of War game couldn’t avoid buying a corresponding console because of it.
This strategy has more than paid off over the years and is still a driving success factor. At the same time, this strength over the years can also be judged as franchise dependency from today’s perspective, and thus not necessarily as a weakness, but still as a limitation.
Another striking similarity between PlayStation and Nintendo is that both brands were once synonymous with gaming and thus, to a certain extent, mainstream monopolies – but are no longer.
Xbox Series X: Microsoft with the mainstream plan
In the latest console generation, Xbox positions itself as an absolute mainstream console in contrast to PlayStation and Nintendo, which is ideal for all platform-independent games. Those who primarily spend their time with FIFA, GTA, Call of Duty or other multi-platform blockbusters will get the currently most powerful console with the Series X and an inexpensive alternative with the Series S – both with Dolby Vision and Atmos compatibility.
On the other hand, those who want to do without consoles altogether or stay with their last-gen Xbox can access a huge library from everywhere via Game Pass Ultimate. The entire Xbox offering is thus focused on making gaming access as easy as possible for the maximum number of gamers.
The most articulated argument against Xbox is the lack of established exclusive franchises, and thus essentially feel-good moments that remind gamers of their youth. But that nostalgia logically takes different forms for a new generation of gamers, in a time when Fortnite, Minecraft, and Roblox are among the world’s biggest games.
PlayStation as a new noble niche: Is that Sony’s claim?
In the current next-gen situation, PlayStation positions itself as a kind of deluxe version of Nintendo – with a much more contemporary and thus more powerful hardware, which, however, does not come close to Xbox’s overall offer in terms of compatibility and accessibility.
On the other hand, PlayStation gamers can look forward to Spider-Man and God of War sequels as well as The Last of Us remake. The target audience is thus undoubtedly secured, similar to Nintendo – but also limited. Those who don’t have an emotional connection to the aforementioned games will probably appreciate the Xbox’s advantages more.
SEGA, Nintendo, PlayStation, Xbox: Gaming Giants in Transition
Perhaps Sony’s development shows that the trend towards niche formation has always continued in the gaming industry. For example, while SEGA is essentially just the Sonic company now, Nintendo, former industry leader, has made itself at home in an independent and candy-colored market niche full of Pokémon and magic caps.
PlayStation could go the same way, only with more muted colors and a selection of 3rd-person adventures full of charming anti-heroes.
Of course, it should not be forgotten that Microsoft is the youngest of the three console manufacturers mentioned. Who knows, maybe in a few years Xbox will also withdraw from the battle and leave the fight for mainstream supremacy to Amazon and Google.
Gamers who grew up with the Xbox or at least Xbox 360 will then probably look forward to the new Halo, Gears of War or Forza Horizon and indulge in a bit of nostalgia – and wait for everything to start all over again.