Where are Sony coming up short?
Sony had dominated hardware sales for months and months, however over the last 2 months (July & August) the Xbox One has dominated sales and taken the top spot.
This is more than likely down to the new hardware release of the Xbox One S and I am pretty confident that September will show the same result, especially as newer models of the Xbox One S are being released again with the 500GB and 1TB versions releasing towards the end of September.
However, are there other components that could potentially be making PS4 players switch to Xbox One?
I am going to look at a few of these variables which I personally feel have had or will have an impact on Sony’s PS4 sales.
The first thing I’m going to look at is the PS+ Subscription versuus Xbox Live Gold. The quality in terms of service and what you get for the service lies totally with Xbox Live, the whole set up and model that they have is just right. The network very rarely has to be taken down for maintenance, and when it is it is usually only for a couple of hours, if that. Sony on the other hand, I’ve noticed that every month they have scheduled maintenance and the network has to be taken down, which is all very well and good, but why every month?
Is their network in such a state that it has to be taken down every month? I know they had the infamous PSN hack (see what I did there…) a few years back and they had the network off for over a month to sort it out, but surely they should have made it as secure as it needs to be…. Which again, it should have been that in the first place, but I’m not going to get into that.
My point to this is, how often do you see Xbox Live being taken down for maintenance? I don’t think I have ever seen it been taken down voluntarily. I have seen it taken down by hackers, such as last Christmas, but then again it was only down for a few hours… PSN was down for a few days. I know in this instance that Sony did give customers free games, but that is beside the point isn’t it?
The point is, why did it then take several days to get the network back up and running properly when Xbox Live was back up in a few hours? To me it just doesn’t make sense, are the engineers at both companies that different? Is PSN more complicated to fix when something goes wrong? If that’s the case, maybe a look at the network as a whole to see how the process to fix and repair can be simplified while keeping security measures up should be looked into?
The funny side of this for me is that Sony have introduced a price increase for the PS+ subscriptions, which I think is only in North America at the moment, but I can see it being implemented across the board gradually.
Is the service worth the money that you pay to justify the increase in price? For me it really isn’t. The quality of games that you get with the subscription isn’t worth it. Months and months go by and we’re still getting substandard games being brought into the program, and you then look at Microsoft, and you can see that there are poor months with this as well, but there are some months where there are some quality games being brought in, such as EA’s Need for Speed and Ubisofts ‘The Crew’.
Which takes me onto another section, which is the amount of games you get per month and the reason for this. The reason is quite simple, the backwards compatibility programme on Xbox allows gamers to download not only the 2 free games a month for Xbox One, but also to download and play Xbox 360 games straight to their Xbox One.
Unfortunately due to the way Sony has gone about this with their rather diabolically expensive PlayStation Now service. The service which costs £12.99 a month, gives you unlimited access to any of the PS3 games on the service. Now, if you own an Xbox 360 game on disk or digital and it becomes backwards compatible, then this game will now show up in your Games Library. Simples…. Who needs to pay £12.99 to play a game they’ve already bought once? Oh wait… PS Now subscribers….
One last thing that I am going to talk about is EA Access. I have had this service since the start, and I personally think it is a fantastic incentive to be able to play EA games. £20.00 a year and you get early access to try a full game before buying, which also gives you access to the achievements as well. There is also a Vault where with the subscription you get to play any game that is placed in there by EA. At the moment there are a lot of games in there, and as long as you have the subscription you will be able to play any of these games and any more that then get added further down the line. This for me does provide value for money, because it’s not games from a previous gen, although they have just started adding Backwards compatible games, but at the moment 99% of games are new games that are out for this gen.
To top the service off, there is also a 10% discount for EA Access members when they purchase any participating game.
Why would Sony turn down the opportunity to have this on their console? There excuse was apparently ‘it didn’t represent value for money’. Sorry…. Value for money? And £12.99 a month to play PS3 games that people already own is Value for money? Bad form Sony, Bad form.
There are some genuine concerns that have come from me writing this. In terms of business practice, there are some things that Sony need to look at, the PS Now service for me needs to be scrapped, and a true Backwards Compatible way needs to be introduced.
To be fair, the above are the reasons for me why my Xbox One is my console of choice. I watched the conference for the announcement of the PS4 Pro, and to me it seemed bland, uninviting and rather awkward to watch. Andrew House looked like he could barely hold onto the PS4 Pro when showing it off to the crowd at the end of the event.
As good as the games looked, I think that I would need to play them for myself to see the true difference. I may get a PS4 Pro in November, just to be able to experience some of the games coming out, because there are some brilliant games coming out, and I can’t fault some of the exclusives and the studios as a whole. The work they’re doing to bring such awesome games and stories to PlayStation is amazing, but Sony’s service and how they take a stance on what they think gamers want, isn’t really what they want, and there are some decisions that have been rather strange or simply bizarre.