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Sony's plan to compete with Xbox: Stay the course

ChuckeRearmed

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While this is true, it is a huge assumption that MS will match that Sony's quality (which seems to have improved even further in the last 2 years as if that was possible!), because it's not that easy or simple.
It all depends on what you need, no? Just because MS doesn't make certain kind of games it doesn't mean their games are bad.

PlayStation earned $23 billion in revenue in the last 12 months.
And MS earned 15 bil. despite being outsold. And that is with 20 mil subscribers (growing monthly), not that many sold consoles and being outsold it both games and hardware
 
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Sloth Guevara

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While this is a good post, the bolded highlights that you're not really responding to my original point: if Microsoft's exclusives miss the mark, and they turn up a few decent games but nothing amazing, then Sony's current strategy will win the day, just like it did with the PS4. However, if Microsoft's exclusives land as well as Sony's, Sony loses it's competitive edge.

You're still stuck on "Yeah, but I want Sony's amazing exclusives". And that's great - they're good titles. But, you want GoW2 because GoW is terrific, and you connected with it. You want TLOU2 because you already connected with it. Awesome, I'm glad you did - I hear it's a fantastic title. But, the snuck premise here is that Microsoft can't deliver games like this. And, I mean, looking at the Xbone, it's easy to see why: Microsoft hasn't put out a game that people have really connected with in an entire generation. If Microsoft fails to deliver this generation, then yep - Sony's titles will win the day. However, if Microsoft start putting out titles of this calibre, and they're all on Gamepass, it doesn't matter how many TLOU remakes Sony puts out - I believe the larger number of consumers will follow the highest amount of value. It's not about "I want Sony's chocolate, not Microsoft's vanilla". It's "I'll go to the ice cream parlour that gives me the best for less". Right now, Sony is pushing the quality angle. But, that only works if their competitors can't meet that quality. If Microsoft pulls off the impossible, and delivers equal quality on Gamepass, Sony will need to change their strategy.

Hay man, it all hangs on MS getting good games.
But from what I’ve seen they don’t have that many heavy hitters.
 

BabyfaceRe

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Saying the course can hardly be seen as a bad thing considering thier current and continued success. They have a bunch of strong IP that can pump put sequels throughout this gen and they are still introducing new ip which is great.

Staying the course will keep them ahead of the game but if they dont make any changes to thier strategy the gap between them and xbox will continue to close and close fast.

Games matter most and that's why sony is ahead, because their 1st party output shits on xbox. But that's literally it. As in, that's the only advantage they have; power is still debatable, but service, pricing etc is WAY behind.

If xbox manages to match thier 1st party output (studio math suggests that's very likely, if not inevitable) it will pretty impossible to argue that xbox is the superior platform (preferred exclusives aside ofcourse).

If anyone is an mma fan they might know the term "this fighter has more weapons and therefore more ways to win". Sony might be a world class striker but xbox has got the grappling and wrestling down already and they just hired Trevor Whitman as thier striking coach.
 
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KingT731

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It all depends on what you need, no? Just because MS doesn't make certain kind of games it doesn't mean their games are bad.


And MS earned 15 bil. despite being outsold. And that is with 20 mil subscribers (growing monthly),
not that many sold consoles and being outsold it both games and hardware
You'd also have to consider a lot of those subs came from XBL and are now paying double what Live's previous cost was at the minimum (paying for GPU monthly would be 3x XBL cost). It's smart business and likely the reason they wanted to double the cost of Live in the first place.
 

JohnnyFootball

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You'd also have to consider a lot of those subs came from XBL and are now paying double what Live's previous cost was at the minimum (paying for GPU monthly would be 3x XBL cost). It's smart business and likely the reason they wanted to double the cost of Live in the first place.
It also remains to be seen how many subscribers will stay active once their promotions expire.
 
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Thirty7ven

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If anyone is an mma fan they might know the term "this fighter has more weapons and therefore more ways to win". Sony might be a world class striker but xbox has got the grappling and wrestling down already and they just hired Trevor Whitman as thier striking coach.

Xbox has a glass jaw(koed twice) and wasn’t able to KO PlayStation(3) even when it was doing coke before the night of the fight while sipping on margaritas. In the end still lost to a split decision. We are looking at the definition of wolf tickets being sold to prop up one of them, or nobody will bet on the fight. It’s already behind on the score cards.
 
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Puts things into perspective about Bethesda doing a blog post and press release on their own site before the Series X launched with a list of games they were going to have an upgrade patch for, but did no such thing for the Pro.

They've always worked more closely with MSFT.
Yeah, and I don't think there's anything necessarily wrong with that. Square-Enix for example, work more closely with Sony and that's been the case since the late '90s, but it makes sense due to the business partnerships they've had which have been mutually beneficial for both parties.

It'd only be a problem if these companies are actively making other versions of those games worst out of "forced parity" like the leaked RE Village contract showed, but people also completely misread that contract and didn't understand what parity in that context actually meant (Hoegg's Law did a great breakdown on how people were misinterpreting terms and clauses in that contract and making it look anti-consumer/anti-competitive when it actually wasn't).

Saleswise I think they'll do much much better than XBOne but nowhere near PS5. I hope people give them a chance though.

Last gen the sales ratio was effectively 2:1 in favor of PS4. Currently the sales ratio with the new-gen is roughly 1.64:1 in favor of Sony. So technically speaking there's already a reduction in that ratio but it can be debated if that reduction is due to gains by Xbox or lack of supply by Sony acting as the driving factor in that ratio reduction we currently see, although it should be noted that Microsoft are also short on supply for their demand (they do feel that they'll be able to fix their supply issues by early Summer though whereas Sony feels theirs will persist for the rest of the year).

The real question is will that ratio hold, or will it shrink even further (in Microsoft's favor), go back to 2:1 or increase even further (in Sony's favor)? Personally, I think with things the way they are now and known software plans between the two, plus certain supply constraints, that ratio will shrink in Microsoft's favor for the short-term (thanks to improved supply), maybe something like 1.55:1 or 1.5:1. That will especially hold true if Sony can't also improve their supply situation for the second half of the year.

If Sony are able to do that, though, then it'll come down to when and if some of the other games like Horizon and GoW ship this year. If so, and by some chance Halo Infinite doesn't hit well and Starfield doesn't release, then I think the ratio gets back closer to the 2:1 in Sony's favor. If Horizon and/or Ragnarok don't come out this year and Halo/Starfield both come out and are great, Microsoft can probably shrink that ratio to 1.25:1 (Sony's still going to have foreign market advantages). If Sony can't deliver Horizon/Ragnarok this year but Halo and/or Starfield are mediocre, then the sales ratio'll probably hover around 1:5:1 - 1:6:1 in favor of Sony.

All of that speculation is literally only for this year, mind. It's too difficult to predict how the rest of the generation goes but assuming Microsoft and Sony continue at their current paces and Microsoft's 1st-party arrives strongly, and they are able to keep pushing for some big 3P deals of new releases into GamePass...I think that does start to heavily close the longer-term sales gap between the two brands this gen, but only if Sony doesn't figure out a viable GP alternative and can't negotiate as many 3P exclusives/timed exclusives as they were able to with PS4 (for whatever reason). Even so, you're probably looking at a 1.2:1 ratio still in Sony's favor unless Microsoft can make serious inroads in some of the major foreign markets, and that might be where Xcloud becomes more of a factor.

If EVERYTHING I just said plays out the way mentioned and Xcloud becomes a real option in markets where Xbox is weak in, then that could help in bringing parity with PS sales globally, but only if a hefty chunk of that Xcloud boom drives Series S/X sales. There's a good chance it may not, in fact that could also impact Series sales in regions like the U.S if a lot of the casual/mainstream audience turn to Xcloud & GamePass on their phone for gaming than getting an Xbox console (and in that case you can definitely expect PS's sale ratio advantage to stay high, anywhere between 1.5:1 to 1.75:1 is my guess; I wouldn't expect anything near a 2:1 advantage long-term since Microsoft aren't doing an XBO repeat and Nintendo looks like they're remain very strong with Switch and its successor).

But that's kind of the stealth brilliance in Microsoft's strategy; they don't actually NEED high volume of console sales if GP subscription numbers grow and maintain healthily. That in turn could create a scenario where, even if Sony are heavily outselling them in hardware numbers, the actual revenue numbers between Xbox and PlayStation divisions could be scarily close (it's already "only" a 66% advantage for Sony in spite of a 2.26:1 (126%) hardware sales ratio (PS4, PS5) over Xbox (XBO, Series)) and in terms of profit, Microsoft could actually generate more net profit with their strategy long-term versus Sony (and I'm just talking the gaming divisions here).

I think this is part of the reason why Sony are exploring more ports of games to platforms like PC, and driving some mobile game division growth, among other things; revenue (let alone profit) doesn't scale linearly with hardware sales, and traditionally it's always been with revenue as the recessive factor. So you have to get creative with ways to increase revenue and, more importantly, profit margins if you have a decent idea where your "safe ceiling" is in terms of gauging off previous performance metrics. For Sony that's $70 games and for Microsoft, it's GamePass. Both approaches play to the strengths of the respective companies but Sony's method is also predicated on aggressively pushing high volumes of console sales as quickly as possible, while Microsoft's isn't as reliant on that factor.

Let's look at an extreme example. Let's say five years from now, Sony's at 100 million PS5s, and their FY revenues are $30 billion from the PS division. Assuming the other financial aspects of the company are relatively the same and their business model stays more or less the same, maybe we can guess that in terms of net profit Sony pulls in $4 billion from PS that year. Pretty good, right?

Now let's assume by some measure of bad decisions or whatnot Microsoft is at 50 million Series systems in the same time frame..but they're also at 50 million GP users paying for the regular GP tier ($120/year). That's $6 billion in subscription revenue from those users, but let's say EVEN IF Microsoft put out $1 billion for 3P software content on GamePass for that year alone, and they have to take out some additional $500 million for expense costs (both of these numbers are exaggerated, btw), that is still a net profit of $4.5 billion a year from GP subs alone. If they're smart, they aught to have a good deal more than 50 million total GP subs, you could say 75 million across console/PC/mobile and maybe even 10 million of those are doing some $1 conversion stuff but the other 15 million are GPU. That's an extra $2.7 billion on top of the $4.5 billion, or $7.2 billion a year in net profit simply from concurrent GP subscriptions....and that's with having only 50% of PS5's console install base in terms of console sales.

While I don't 100% agree with Microsoft not disclosing hardware numbers, there's a reason they aren't hung up on them and it's the same reason even Sony have said that they are looking beyond console sales alone as a gauge for ecosystem health: you don't need high volumes of console sales to increase profit margins if you have the means of providing other methods for content delivery. Subscription services like GamePass (and PS Now to a lesser extent) are one of those other forms. Once you have that going, metrics like console sales, while still important to a degree, hardly tell the whole story (and in a lot of ways they never have, i.e you can look back at systems like the SEGA Saturn having very high software attach ratios compared to PS1 in spite of PS1 selling over 10x the number of systems).
 
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Reality Czar

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Xbox is like an MMA fighter who hired an amazing coach right after the match has already started.

I just don't understand why they waited to make these purchases after their new console release. So bizarre.
 
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DeepEnigma

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Yeah, and I don't think there's anything necessarily wrong with that. Square-Enix for example, work more closely with Sony and that's been the case since the late '90s, but it makes sense due to the business partnerships they've had which have been mutually beneficial for both parties.

It'd only be a problem if these companies are actively making other versions of those games worst out of "forced parity" like the leaked RE Village contract showed, but people also completely misread that contract and didn't understand what parity in that context actually meant (Hoegg's Law did a great breakdown on how people were misinterpreting terms and clauses in that contract and making it look anti-consumer/anti-competitive when it actually wasn't).
That FUD dropped like a rock, innit.

Glad we have people like Hoegg's Law for things such as that.
 

ChuckeRearmed

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It also remains to be seen how many subscribers will stay active once their promotions expire.
Unless the churn is high - usually most of the people stay and even forget about having a subscription:messenger_grinning: I personally don't really remember what subscriptions do I have right now even:messenger_grinning_sweat:
 

quest

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Xbox is like an MMA fighter who hired an amazing coach right after the match has already started.

I just don't understand why they waited to make these purchases after their new console release. So bizarre.
Because they don't control the board and CEO. You think Matt booty and Phil were like yeah we are good on studios while budgets were slashed after Don's epic failure. The second they talked the higher ups into money they spent it in 2018.
 

JohnnyFootball

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Unless the churn is high - usually most of the people stay and even forget about having a subscription:messenger_grinning: I personally don't really remember what subscriptions do I have right now even:messenger_grinning_sweat:
SUbscribers usually stay on when the cost is less than $10 a month. When it gets over that is when there is a dropoff
 

Genx3

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Nothing wrong with having 3 different experiences.
What's the point of all the consoles copying each other?
Sony's 1st party are focused at what they are great at and they are masters of those genres.
Just like in sports, they should play to their strengths.
 

Tg89

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Saying the course can hardly be seen as a bad thing considering thier current and continued success. They have a bunch of strong IP that can pump put sequels throughout this gen and they are still introducing new ip which is great.

Staying the course will keep them ahead of the game but if they dont make any changes to thier strategy the gap between them and xbox will continue to close and close fast.

Games matter most and that's why sony is ahead, because their 1st party output shits on xbox. But that's literally it. As in, that's the only advantage they have; power is still debatable, but service, pricing etc is WAY behind.

If xbox manages to match thier 1st party output (studio math suggests that's very likely, if not inevitable) it will pretty impossible to argue that xbox is the superior platform (preferred exclusives aside ofcourse).
I dunno why the math suggests that’s very likely. Microsoft has a lot of studios, yeah. In terms of heavy hitting, industry leading games none of them have a track record even close to the ones Sony has. Turn 10 would probably be the closest they have to a studio with a proven track record of high quality games. And those are the games that matter at the end of the day.

in fact, many of Microsoft’s studios have track records that suggest they’re incapable of putting out anything that’s more than mediocre. 100 mediocre games won’t do you any good.
 
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That FUD dropped like a rock, innit.

Glad we have people like Hoegg's Law for things such as that.

Yeah, tbf it was bound to happen when a lot of people not understanding of how these contracts work got a look at it and ran off the mouth without making sure of anything.

It is basically a standard type of contract any publisher would sign with a platform holder who is assisting them in marketing via funding, Microsoft has similar types of deals as well and both companies will be doing more of them in the future.

When they're under $10....

Very few (if any) notable subscriptions are under $10 a year. Quite a few are near $15/mo or even $20/mo with millions who still keep those going.

The mobile phone business model has conditioned people to be comfortable with monthly subscriptions for various services, so I don't think price is an issue here whatsoever.

I dunno why the math suggests that’s very likely. Microsoft has a lot of studios, yeah. In terms of heavy hitting, industry leading games none of them have a track record even close to the ones Sony has. Turn 10 would probably be the closest they have to a studio with a proven track record of high quality games. And those are the games that matter at the end of the day.

in fact, many of Microsoft’s studios have track records that suggest they’re incapable of putting out anything that’s more than mediocre. 100 mediocre games won’t do you any good.

Review aggregate averages dismiss this notion of yours, especially considering some of their 1P games like FS2020 score above 90 MC and that was only last year.

It's similar to the notion some hold that GP is nothing but mediocre 5/10 games; you can literally go look at a list of all GP games and out of the 13 pages you don't even enter 69 territory (no pun intended) until the 11th page.
 
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Rhazer Fusion

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Why everyone talking about how is Sony going to compete with Microsoft when they have been dominating the market for over 20 years and the PS5 is selling at a faster rate even with shortages than the PS4 from what I heard? Why haven’t we heard Microsoft’s XSX numbers yet if their strategy is something that Sony needs to embrace and adapt to? Is Microsoft’s strategy really truly working for them then?

Sony just needs to keep doing what brought them success consistently and let Microsoft do what they are doing. I do like that each company have their own ways of conducting business. Consoles are already becoming very homogenized and are losing their identities, but we don’t need Sony becoming an XBOX 2.0. Gamepass is nice, but I don’t think PSNow is that far from it now and if Sony really puts the work in, I feel that it can be a noteworthy competitor.
 
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They really don't. Look at Disney Plus and that's significantly cheaper. People sub when shit they want to consume is on the service or there's some type of cheap deal and then they cancel.

Do you have data provided by Disney or 3P sites that keep track of this data to back up this belief or is this just something you assume because it sounds good to make sense in spite of no specific data to support it?
 

Tg89

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Yeah, tbf it was bound to happen when a lot of people not understanding of how these contracts work got a look at it and ran off the mouth without making sure of anything.

It is basically a standard type of contract any publisher would sign with a platform holder who is assisting them in marketing via funding, Microsoft has similar types of deals as well and both companies will be doing more of them in the future.



Very few (if any) notable subscriptions are under $10 a year. Quite a few are near $15/mo or even $20/mo with millions who still keep those going.

The mobile phone business model has conditioned people to be comfortable with monthly subscriptions for various services, so I don't think price is an issue here whatsoever.



Review aggregate averages dismiss this notion of yours, especially considering some of their 1P games like FS2020 score above 90 MC and that was only last year.

It's similar to the notion some hold that GP is nothing but mediocre 5/10 games; you can literally go look at a list of all GP games and out of the 13 pages you don't even enter 69 territory (no pun intended) until the 11th page.
Okay, how many of those are games that are releasing on day one on Gamepass and not stuff added far after the fact? 69 is a pretty low threshold also. Anything under 80 on meta is generally pretty firmly mediocre with the way game reviews are handled.

anyway, my comment was specific to the notion that Microsoft purchasing all these studios will allow them to match the high end output of Sony. High end output being games like God of War, Last of Us 2, Bloodborne, critically acclaimed GOTY type things. Of the 23 studios Microsoft has, very little have indicated any ability to reach this quality. Many of them have indicated complete inability to reach that quality.

those are the types of games you have to make in decent quantities to get Sony to change their strategy and nothing Microsoft has done in the past 6 or so years indicates they can. They might not even care to, and maybe they recognize they can’t, hence their quantity/value proposition strategy with gamepass.
 
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Bo_Hazem

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I can't really think of a reason for Sony to make drastic changes. Their first party output is stellar. Gamers obviously continue to invest heavily in the ecosystem. Sony could smooth out some bumps in their services, but for the most part, they continue to provide top notch games and that is what their customers clearly want.

If anything I think MS might need to ease up a bit on GamePass drainage as the latest going back from 30% to 12% on PC kinda make xbox console users in a weird spot, they should expect better discounts on PC now, while not needing live. I think GamePass has hurt sales dramatically and that might even result in more PS or PS and PC exclusives in the long run.
 
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ChuckeRearmed

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They really don't. Look at Disney Plus and that's significantly cheaper. People sub when shit they want to consume is on the service or there's some type of cheap deal and then they cancel.
Disney+ has one of the lowest churn rates around. It took the crown from Netflix in that even.
 
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Okay, how many of those are games that are releasing on day one on Gamepass and not stuff added far after the fact? 69 is a pretty low threshold also. Anything under 80 on meta is generally pretty firmly mediocre with the way game reviews are handled.

No, you don't get to shift goalposts. Pick a point and stick to it. Your initial point had zero mention of timing of the release, why suddenly bring that into the conversation?

Also I think you should try reading more actual reviews if you think anything under an 80 is mediocre; how game reviewers weigh things to score a game is quite different from the actual gamers who play the game. Not every reviewer is a good fit for a given game but that doesn't weigh into affecting the aggregate average, just the size of the platform the reviewer works for.

anyway, my comment was specific to the notion that Microsoft purchasing all these studios will allow them to match the high end output of Sony. High end output being games like God of War, Last of Us 2, Bloodborne, critically acclaimed GOTY type things. Of the 23 studios Microsoft has, very little have indicated any ability to reach this quality. Many of them have indicated complete inability to reach that quality.

That's...not the only type of "high end output" you can have, otherwise you are basically asking for Microsoft to make the exact same type of games Sony makes, which would be redundant from a platform holder. You can have (and Microsoft have had) those type of high-caliber games with very different game design templates and in different genres, once again I have to bring up FS 2020 which has been unanimously praised since its release and pushes the simulation genre forward as well as cloud streaming boosting aspects of performance.

But because that isn't a Hollywood-style, narrative-driven single-player third-person action-adventure cinematic game, suddenly it is not worth considering as high-caliber and that type of thinking is reductive for what gaming as a medium can be. It's an extremely narrow-minded mentality that risks homogenizing game design at the AAA echelon (even further) and pushing creativity to the wayside.

Your opinion is your opinion, but IMO it's an extremely poorly-reached one and can be rather easily refuted. Let developers pursue their own creative ambitions instead of holding them hostage to replicate a template other devs are already doing; you don't need to replicate that template style to hit similar or higher levels of general quality and I think people need to stop conflating their own personal gaming preferences as some objective standard of a marker to measure everything else around; the industry doesn't center around you or your preferences.

If anything I think MS might need to ease up a bit on GamePass drainage as the latest going back from 30% to 12% on PC kinda make xbox console users in a weird spot, they should expect better discounts on PC now, while not needing live. I think GamePass has hurt sales dramatically and that might even result in more PS or PS and PC exclusives in the long run.

Except multiple developers have literally said that GP has helped boost their sales. Y'know, actual game developers and publishers have said this, it is proof that directly disproves your speculation. Also once again like I said before how console sales don't have a linear correlation to revenue or profit margins, game sales don't have a linear correlation to software revenue or profit margins for devs/pubs.

Out of however many copies of a game is sold out there, how many can you say were at full price? How many can you say were sold enough to help recoup production costs? How many copies were sold at a discount or on sale? How many were used copies? How many were sold-in vs. sold-through? How much in MTX & DLC sales have been generated off that software, and at what volume of calculable attach rates? If a dev is getting their game on a service like GP there's the additional chance that they are getting higher profits off the game due to whatever deal they work with Microsoft to get it in the service, and in some cases (actually a lot of cases) this could be more than what they get in terms of profit margins from sales of that same game on other platforms.

So...looking at software sales only doesn't honestly mean too much.
 
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ChuckeRearmed

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When they're under $10....
Nah, All access, mobile subscriptions with phones etc. conditioned people to be ok with subscriptions regardless the price. Like recently we have info about mobile provider XCloud bundles in UK and Korea.

Basic console Game Pass and Game Pass PC is 10$ BTW, probably there will be future Game Pass Cloud for 10$ too. GPU is 15$ with a lot of perks.

Also I think you should try reading more actual reviews if you think anything under an 80 is mediocre; how game reviewers weigh things to score a game is quite different from the actual gamers who play the game
It is actually fascinating how the games below 80 are considered almost trash right now. I remember the times when 60 games were pretty solid.
 
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Monketron

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It's not an issue for Sony right now because Xbox still have an extremely poor exclusive slate, but once MS start dropping AAA games every month onto GP then it's going to be a problem, their advantage will be wiped and they're gonna look pretty far behind imo. It's not just GP either, the amount of money and effort Xbox have put into BC and boosting old games for free is pretty amazing, almost embarrassing when you compare it to Sony's BC capabilities right now, something I'm pretty jealous of tbf.

Sony are printing money, they need to spend some of it on features to make PSN look like a better proposition than GP/Live, other than just making exclusive games. Or it will cost them in the long run.
 
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Nah, All access, mobile subscriptions with phones etc. conditioned people to be ok with subscriptions regardless the price. Like recently we have info about mobile provider XCloud bundles in UK and Korea.

Basic console Game Pass and Game Pass PC is 10$ BTW, probably there will be future Game Pass Cloud for 10$ too. GPU is 15$ with a lot of perks.


It is actually fascinating how the games below 80 are considered almost trash right now. I remember the times when 60 games were pretty solid.
It's a shifting of goalposts tactic in some cases but also a fault of the games journalism industry (and actually the industry at large) probably playing a bigger part, as they've conditioned gamers to only accept games with a "high enough" MC score as being worth a buy or worth their time.

This has, obviously, led to some backstage "influence" or benefits for journalists to prop up various games with higher scores than they probably deserve, and perhaps for other games that don't have large publishers pushing them you get more reliable scores that can range from good to decent but with actual reviews that read more "toned down" compared to the hype-level, hyperbolic language seen in some of the reviews for the massive releases that score well.

But..I'm not gonna go too much further on that point. Anyway the main point being yeah, standards for what's considered a minimum good have shifted wildly over the years and a lot of the reasons why are possibly questionable. I also think the sheer volume of new game releases plays a hand in it too, but if anything people should be more receptive to services like GP because they give people a chance to try the game to see if they want to spend more time with it, and the games there are already curated to meet certain quality standards.

It's not like you're gonna run into a sea of Life of Black Tigers on the service xD
 
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I want MS and Sony to keep doing exactly what they are doing. MS clearly wants to make more games, bigger games, which is why they purchased and started so many studios. Game Pass is an awesome way to experience videogames and I want them to keep that up.

Sony, just keep doing what you do, and I'll keep playing your games.

I don't want these companies to copy one another. Gamers will have a poorer experience if they do.
 

Tg89

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No, you don't get to shift goalposts. Pick a point and stick to it. Your initial point had zero mention of timing of the release, why suddenly bring that into the conversation?

Also I think you should try reading more actual reviews if you think anything under an 80 is mediocre; how game reviewers weigh things to score a game is quite different from the actual gamers who play the game. Not every reviewer is a good fit for a given game but that doesn't weigh into affecting the aggregate average, just the size of the platform the reviewer works for.



That's...not the only type of "high end output" you can have, otherwise you are basically asking for Microsoft to make the exact same type of games Sony makes, which would be redundant from a platform holder. You can have (and Microsoft have had) those type of high-caliber games with very different game design templates and in different genres, once again I have to bring up FS 2020 which has been unanimously praised since its release and pushes the simulation genre forward as well as cloud streaming boosting aspects of performance.

But because that isn't a Hollywood-style, narrative-driven single-player third-person action-adventure cinematic game, suddenly it is not worth considering as high-caliber and that type of thinking is reductive for what gaming as a medium can be. It's an extremely narrow-minded mentality that risks homogenizing game design at the AAA echelon (even further) and pushing creativity to the wayside.

Your opinion is your opinion, but IMO it's an extremely poorly-reached one and can be rather easily refuted. Let developers pursue their own creative ambitions instead of holding them hostage to replicate a template other devs are already doing; you don't need to replicate that template style to hit similar or higher levels of general quality and I think people need to stop conflating their own personal gaming preferences as some objective standard of a marker to measure everything else around; the industry doesn't center around you or your preferences.

nothing to do with shifting goal posts, just the reality. Having stuff day one matters in terms of pushing consoles, there’s a reason timed exclusivity is such a big thing these days. Furthermore the post you originally responded to was about first party output, it’s implied that stuff is going to be day one on either side.

The vast majority of stuff under 80 on metacritic is firmly mediocre. Maybe there’s an outlier here and there, maybe there’s specific games that individuals will consider to be underrated. Maybe there’s certain games that were rough at launch and have since been improved but the reality is that games that are widely (and widely is important in this context cause the minority/niche opinion isn’t changing anyone’s strategy) considered to be good/great don’t often end up below 80 on metacritic. The first 10 2020 games to pop up at 79 are:

Telling Lies
Wide Ocean Big Jacket
Atelier Dusk Trilogy
Doom Eternal DLC
Indivisible
Shantae
Alwa’s Legacy
Bugsnax
SW Squadrons
Hotshot Racing

again, I’m sure there’s outliers but mediocre is a very accurate description for that list and those types of games don’t move the needle.

I never said they need to make the same games Sony is making. Hell, the games I listed that Sony made aren’t even similar in any way unless you’re one of those hurrrr durrr 3rd person action types. Not sure how Bloodborne qualifies as a Hollywood type game but whatever you say. FS 2020 would very firmly fit in the same category, fantastic game and one that I spent a ton of time with. But Microsoft, in the recent years, has simply not produced many games to that quality. FS 2020 and the Forza games are the only ones that come to mind. Even previously high quality franchises saw a huge dip in recent years. Halo and Gears being two notable ones that used to be synonymous with critical acclaim and no longer are. And I mean I’m not the only person saying this, gamers are saying it with their wallets. There’s a reason Sony smacked Microsoft around the last 5 years and forced them into changing their business model.
 
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nothing to do with shifting goal posts, just the reality.

No; you're trying to shift the goalposts and I'm not tolerating it. Your original point had nothing to do with what you brought up in the follow-up post. I'm only interested in discussing your original point, in all honesty.

The vast majority of stuff under 80 on metacritic is firmly mediocre.

If that's a personal opinion then fine but I strongly doubt you have played all or even the majority of games that are under 80 MC to justify that opinion. There are also legit games (particularly from before MC was a thing) that have high aggregates on older sites like MobyGames and GameRankings, and some still that have no such aggregate scores but are otherwise fantastic. One of my favorite games, Cosmology of Kyoto, has very few reviews and no aggregates AFAIK, but it shames most games today in terms of creativity and actual knowledge you can learn that enhances your understanding of foreign cultures.

I don't need a number generated through a review aggregate to do my thinking for me and tell me what games are worth my time or not. A few simple minutes or, better yet, knowing a game is in genres or has themes I'm legit interested in across various media will already put it on my radar and that is completely removed from anything MC has to say on the game (if anything).

Maybe there’s an outlier here and there, maybe there’s specific games that individuals will consider to be underrated. Maybe there’s certain games that were rough at launch and have since been improved but the reality is that games that are widely (and widely is important in this context cause the minority/niche opinion isn’t changing anyone’s strategy) considered to be good/great don’t often end up below 80 on metacritic.

Your "maybe" turns out to be a pretty regular occurrence, actually. Especially considering that so many games come out today, there is very easily a chance of people missing legit great games simply because they released at a bad time, or got overshadowed in marketing. This has happened since the '80s but arguably happens even moreso now due to the sheer volume of new releases these days compared to back then.

And in the same breath, not every game that scores 80+ on MC is actually worth the score, either at large or by specific individuals who play it. For example, if I reviewed TLOU2, and had a 0-100 scale, I'd probably put it closer to a 60. The game has incredible human face and body animations and dramatic grit, but it's incredibly safe in terms of game design innovations and its story sloppily relies on way too many flashbacks, plus several themes are poorly fleshed out. Also as a narrative-driven game, IMO the story is not good enough to warrant more than a single playthrough, if that (and I think quite a few other gamers felt similar even if they never conveyed it in such words).

The first 10 2020 games to pop up at 79 are:

Telling Lies
Wide Ocean Big Jacket
Atelier Dusk Trilogy
Doom Eternal DLC
Indivisible
Shantae
Alwa’s Legacy
Bugsnax
SW Squadrons
Hotshot Racing

again, I’m sure there’s outliers but mediocre is a very accurate description for that list and those types of games don’t move the needle.

A game doesn't need to "move the needle" to be worth existence because truth is no single game "moves the needle" anymore. The only ones that generally do are 3P, like COD and GTA. I know a lot of people like to think 1P sales are paramount to a console's success and I in no way deny they play an important role, but even among Sony's titles we're talking "only" 17% of software revenue generated through 1P game sales, and that's among a vast collection of different games. Something like GTA5 probably accounts for anywhere near 15% - 20% of that other 83%, and is a single game in a single IP...and also multiplatform.

The games you listed there may not on their individual merit drive a person to buy one system or another, but they add value to the software library, and the variety presented through that choice starts to add up. Sony's consoles have had this since the PS1 days, so this shouldn't be very surprising.

I never said they need to make the same games Sony is making. Hell, the games I listed that Sony made aren’t even similar in any way unless you’re one of those hurrrr durrr 3rd person action types. Not sure how Bloodborne qualifies as a Hollywood type game but whatever you say. FS 2020 would very firmly fit in the same category, fantastic game and one that I spent a ton of time with. But Microsoft, in the recent years, has simply not produced many games to that quality. FS 2020 and the Forza games are the only ones that come to mind.

Right, but that's in the past, and we know (more clearly now) what was transpiring at the Xbox division during the troubled years that impacted QA in some of the 1P output and led to other games getting cancelled. That was an Xbox division basically being squeezed out by other people until Phil Spencer took over the division in 2017. Had he gotten promoted to head it sooner, their entire timescale would be further along by one, maybe two years.

Arguably that's what should've happened but you can't turn back time. That being said, I think MS have gradually shown they can help fund if not outright create games pushing that higher quality bar. SoT is much stronger now than it was at launch (it's popularity on Xbox and Steam is proof of this), Ori and Ori 2 are two of the best side-scrolling platformers of the generation, Minecraft continues to prosper both financially and creatively, Cuphead was well-received and still has a strong following, Gears 5 and Gears Tactics were both well-received, etc. And quite a lot of those are more recent 2019-onward releases.

Even previously high quality franchises saw a huge dip in recent years. Halo and Gears being two notable ones that used to be synonymous with critical acclaim and no longer are. And I mean I’m not the only person saying this, gamers are saying it with their wallets. There’s a reason Sony smacked Microsoft around the last 5 years and forced them into changing their business model.

Halo might be agreeable but Gears 5 was well-received and seen as a step in the right direction following Gears 4. Same goes for Gears Tactics so...? Your end point there is a classic conflation: game sales do not directly correlate to game quality. They correlate to game marketing budget much more often. We can look at many otherwise fantastic games from the past few decades (Earthbound, older FF titles, Einhander, Panzer Dragoon Saga, System Shock etc.) that didn't have the best of sales...you can try saying that was gamers "speaking with their wallets" but that in no way correlates to the objective or even subjective quality of those games in most instances.

And yeah, we know why Sony have performed better than MS the past few years, but it's nowhere near as simple as the point you're trying to make. Microsoft literally scaling back their own efforts for a while played a part into it, as did their botched launch (in terms of messaging), and the fact they division was not given real funding again until late 2017, when most of the 8th-gen was already done. 3P devs/pubs, in turn, increasingly preferring the PS ecosystem with more content and more exclusive/timed-exclusive content was also a massive reason. Sony having a string of higher-scoring 1P games only plays a slice into that collective pie (and not even the biggest slice of the pie in all honesty when you look at the numbers).
 
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BlackTron

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So in one corner we have Sony who has dominated sales and delivered a steady stream of blockbuster games. In the other we have Microsoft, who made a splash with Halo 20 years ago, back in the race because they purchased a bunch of studios. The same Microsoft which, since the beginning of days, has a history of buying up companies that become mediocre under their umbrella.

Look, we don't know what's gonna happen. It could be healthy competition, it could be Microsoft tears Sony a new one. But anyone trying to count this race right now, calling out Sony as in trouble, with Microsoft's track record of acquisitions, is a lunatic. I used to be a die-hard Rare fan, but Rare didn't do much to compel me to buy an Xbox 360.

Look at 343 under the direction of Microsoft. Appears to me they offer them neither oversight nor direction. Just money and a mandate for diversified hiring.

Fact is, in order for MS to catch up, they have a lot to prove reversing their own history, while Sony is already killing it right now as we speak. You guys are crazy.
 
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Menzies

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There’s a reason Sony <snip> forced them into changing their business model.
Alright. I've read this enough times on this site now to want to address the source of these claims.

"Sony forced Microsoft to change their business model"
"Microsoft can't compete with Sony"
"Microsoft is desperate"
"Game Pass is their last roll of the dice"
"If Game Pass fails Microsoft will leave the console industry"

Who has the inside source into the Microsoft exec board room meeting?

Is it all just a massive coincidence Microsoft changed CEO's in 2014.
That they promoted the man from their biggest growth driver in cloud services - Azure.
That he changed the Company mission statement to 'anywhere, anytime, any device'.
And that suddenly two years later Xbox Play Anywhere began?

That has absolutely nothing to do with it?
 
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Stooky

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Sony used to have multiplayer in all games... and have tons of focused multiplayer only titles.
That changed in the middle of PS4.

That was really a bad take from them.
I disagree with Fortnite , COD, BF, Apex, Overwatch etc. third party devs sucked all there air out. Sony doesn’t need to make a multiplayer.
 
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El Pistolero

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Naughty dog was around over a decade before they made a PS game

Insomica in the Atari era….


if it counts most Elder scrolls/fallout games ran like shit on Sony hardwre so they kinda been MS leaning for decades as well…

ND made one horrible game before tackling Crash, and Insomniac started with the Playstation. You are either misinformed, or willingly twisting the facts to fit your narrative.
 

BaneIsPain

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Am I living the alternate universe where Sony is chasing the competitor now? Don’t get me wrong, GP still is a great alternative. Sony just need to keep on releasing quality content and maybe improve a little bit on PsNow. They were top dog last gen and they will be in this gen.
 

Warnen

Can he swing from a thread? Take a look overhead / Hey, there, there goes the Spider-Man
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ND made one horrible game before tackling Crash, and Insomniac started with the Playstation. You are either misinformed, or willingly twisting the facts to fit your narrative.
Sony bought studio to make games for them and I’m twisting facts to fit my narrative that Sony bought studios to make games….

Gotcha!
 

Tg89

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No; you're trying to shift the goalposts and I'm not tolerating it. Your original point had nothing to do with what you brought up in the follow-up post. I'm only interested in discussing your original point, in all honesty.



If that's a personal opinion then fine but I strongly doubt you have played all or even the majority of games that are under 80 MC to justify that opinion. There are also legit games (particularly from before MC was a thing) that have high aggregates on older sites like MobyGames and GameRankings, and some still that have no such aggregate scores but are otherwise fantastic. One of my favorite games, Cosmology of Kyoto, has very few reviews and no aggregates AFAIK, but it shames most games today in terms of creativity and actual knowledge you can learn that enhances your understanding of foreign cultures.

I don't need a number generated through a review aggregate to do my thinking for me and tell me what games are worth my time or not. A few simple minutes or, better yet, knowing a game is in genres or has themes I'm legit interested in across various media will already put it on my radar and that is completely removed from anything MC has to say on the game (if anything).



Your "maybe" turns out to be a pretty regular occurrence, actually. Especially considering that so many games come out today, there is very easily a chance of people missing legit great games simply because they released at a bad time, or got overshadowed in marketing. This has happened since the '80s but arguably happens even moreso now due to the sheer volume of new releases these days compared to back then.

And in the same breath, not every game that scores 80+ on MC is actually worth the score, either at large or by specific individuals who play it. For example, if I reviewed TLOU2, and had a 0-100 scale, I'd probably put it closer to a 60. The game has incredible human face and body animations and dramatic grit, but it's incredibly safe in terms of game design innovations and its story sloppily relies on way too many flashbacks, plus several themes are poorly fleshed out. Also as a narrative-driven game, IMO the story is not good enough to warrant more than a single playthrough, if that (and I think quite a few other gamers felt similar even if they never conveyed it in such words).



A game doesn't need to "move the needle" to be worth existence because truth is no single game "moves the needle" anymore. The only ones that generally do are 3P, like COD and GTA. I know a lot of people like to think 1P sales are paramount to a console's success and I in no way deny they play an important role, but even among Sony's titles we're talking "only" 17% of software revenue generated through 1P game sales, and that's among a vast collection of different games. Something like GTA5 probably accounts for anywhere near 15% - 20% of that other 83%, and is a single game in a single IP...and also multiplatform.

The games you listed there may not on their individual merit drive a person to buy one system or another, but they add value to the software library, and the variety presented through that choice starts to add up. Sony's consoles have had this since the PS1 days, so this shouldn't be very surprising.



Right, but that's in the past, and we know (more clearly now) what was transpiring at the Xbox division during the troubled years that impacted QA in some of the 1P output and led to other games getting cancelled. That was an Xbox division basically being squeezed out by other people until Phil Spencer took over the division in 2017. Had he gotten promoted to head it sooner, their entire timescale would be further along by one, maybe two years.

Arguably that's what should've happened but you can't turn back time. That being said, I think MS have gradually shown they can help fund if not outright create games pushing that higher quality bar. SoT is much stronger now than it was at launch (it's popularity on Xbox and Steam is proof of this), Ori and Ori 2 are two of the best side-scrolling platformers of the generation, Minecraft continues to prosper both financially and creatively, Cuphead was well-received and still has a strong following, Gears 5 and Gears Tactics were both well-received, etc. And quite a lot of those are more recent 2019-onward releases.



Halo might be agreeable but Gears 5 was well-received and seen as a step in the right direction following Gears 4. Same goes for Gears Tactics so...? Your end point there is a classic conflation: game sales do not directly correlate to game quality. They correlate to game marketing budget much more often. We can look at many otherwise fantastic games from the past few decades (Earthbound, older FF titles, Einhander, Panzer Dragoon Saga, System Shock etc.) that didn't have the best of sales...you can try saying that was gamers "speaking with their wallets" but that in no way correlates to the objective or even subjective quality of those games in most instances.

And yeah, we know why Sony have performed better than MS the past few years, but it's nowhere near as simple as the point you're trying to make. Microsoft literally scaling back their own efforts for a while played a part into it, as did their botched launch (in terms of messaging), and the fact they division was not given real funding again until late 2017, when most of the 8th-gen was already done. 3P devs/pubs, in turn, increasingly preferring the PS ecosystem with more content and more exclusive/timed-exclusive content was also a massive reason. Sony having a string of higher-scoring 1P games only plays a slice into that collective pie (and not even the biggest slice of the pie in all honesty when you look at the numbers).

Discuss what you want I suppose. I feel the context of the original post was pretty clear.

I haven't played every game under 80 on Metacritic. I've played plenty of them, and seen plenty footage of others. No point continuing to argue on this point because there's tons of subjectivity. But the idea that the aggregate score aren't useful is a narrative that's been pushed a lot lately and I completely disagree. Like I stated in my other posts, there's some exceptions...you've added some others (niche games that don't get a lot of reviews). I would agree that not every game over 80 is worth the score either, I'd even say that more things end up overrated than underrated. Metacritic isn't an end all be all, but it's a very good tool to have and personally beats the shit out of what we had available in the 80s/90s, bringing me to my next point...

I personally disagree that games are easier to miss today than in the 80s, I think it's easier now than ever to find great games, assuming you're keen to do it. I find it much easier to keep up with releases today and even easier to identify which games are for me. It's been years since I've bought a game and felt burned because it's very very easy to get information and more importantly footage of games. Twitch/YouTube have done wonders for me when it comes to curating purchases. Of course, this is from the perspective of an "enthusiast". I suppose for people who are into gaming as a more casual hobby it might be tougher to parse as there's definitely a lot of information to consume for anyone who doesn't spend their days on NeoGAF. Personally, I find Metacritic to be a great supplemental tool to this and I find the aggregate scores a great way to signal if I may have been misled one way or the other based on my research and the feel I got from what I've seen. When I think of some of my favourite games of all time (Diablo II, Counter Strike, Metroid Prime, Bloodborne, SMB3, Morrowind, D:OS2, Civ IV, etc. no need to post an exhaustive list) they're almost all critically acclaimed, I don't think that's a coincidence. Now you can say maybe I'm just some pleb who listens to the media etc. etc. But there's plenty of people who have posted their favourite games both here and other places on the internet and more often than not those lists are littered with games that had high aggregate scores (assuming they came out when that was a thing).

You're right that I put a lot of qualifiers and maybes, but the entire argument that Sony has to adapt is based on huge maybes on the Microsoft side. Maybe they'll start making great games again.

Agreed that the library as a whole matters but I also think that we're in a spot where every console has a great library. Those big, mass appeal 3rd party games are available everywhere and as a result a lot of people end up making their decisions based on the handful of games that are only available in one spot.

You say it's in the past, but how far in the past is it really? We're what, 8 months removed from the Halo Infinite debacle? I mean, I guess technically that's the past...pretty recent though. Microsoft trotted that game out with the intentions of it releasing last year and it wasn't until the entire internet laughed at it that they fell back and delayed it. So to me, that's a pretty clear indication that there's still issues there. They seem to have trouble internaly identifying what a good game looks like. I don't see how that's any different than what we saw happen several times last gen with games like Crackdown 3, Dead Rising 4, State of Decay 2, etc. Sea of Thieves is a game that is absolutely great now, still play it regularly with friends, but it also had no business being released in its initial state.

Gears 5 was well received compared to Gears 4 but it's still a steep decline from what the series represented for the 360. Sure, times change and all that, but there's no world where Microsoft is happy that what used to be seen as a premier, GOTY contending franchise has been reduced to what it is now (especially when they haven't found another franchise/game to fill that void yet). Regardless, agreed on your overall point that sales != quality but there is some correlation.
 

El Pistolero

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May 21, 2020
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Sony bought studio to make games for them and I’m twisting facts to fit my narrative that Sony bought studios to make games….

Gotcha!

Yes, you are, and a few people already explained to you that ND and Insomniac joining Sony, is akin to what happened with Playground on the MS side. The Zenimax deal is NOTHING like it. You know it, buddy, so stop the hypocrisy. 😎
 
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Warablo

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I disagree with Fortnite , COD, BF, Apex, Overwatch etc. third party devs sucked all there air out. Sony doesn’t need to make a multiplayer.
They don't need multiplayer, but certainly is way more profitable if it catches on. Somewhat less work also developing a story and such.
 
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McCarth

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When they're under $10....
I’ve always thought this is a funny assumption of everyone about Gamepass. It’s more expensive than a Spotify or Netflix, and because games are such a time sink the average user will barely touch many games. I know for me personally its a reason I don’t subscribe to GP or Now. I just don’t have the time.

As GP adds more games, this will definitely start to factor in.
 

Shelookdlvl18

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Alright. I've read this enough times on this site now to want to address the source of these claims.

"Sony forced Microsoft to change their business model"
"Microsoft can't compete with Sony"
"Microsoft is desperate"
"Game Pass is their last roll of the dice"
"If Game Pass fails Microsoft will leave the console industry"

Who has the inside source into the Microsoft exec board room meeting?

Is it all just a massive coincidence Microsoft changed CEO's in 2014.
That they promoted the man from their biggest growth driver in cloud services - Azure.
That he changed the Company mission statement to 'anywhere, anytime, any device'.
And that suddenly two years later Xbox Play Anywhere began?

That has absolutely nothing to do with it?
Pretty impressive isn't it? I mean, yeah it's a bit concerning, but to watch it in real time leaves you a bit impressed if you're aware of it, and know what you're looking at.

I've talked about this phenomenon in a couple of other threads lately. To watch Sony fanboys create a desired narrative, repeat it, cultivate it, support and nurture it... Until it eventually becomes a widely accepted fact is crazy. I refer to it as "impressive" because while something like this might start here, it's effects can spread far and wide.

For instance, you can see people in this very thread still claiming the uncontested notion that the PS3 outsold the 360, but you'll also see it on several other websites as well that deal with mass stastics. Not any that are actually credible, but regardless. You can easily see the far flung effects of that narrative, which was created right here at GAF. And in that context, it is indeed impressive.
 

Yoboman

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I’ve been following games since the PS2 era and can’t remember a third place console ever so triumphantly claiming the market leaders need to compete with them. It’s like we’ve gone to an alternate reality
 
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Shelookdlvl18

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I’ve been following games since the PS2 era and can’t remember a third place console ever so triumphantly claiming the market leaders need to compete with them. It’s like we’ve gone to an alternate reality
It's one journalist's opinion in one article they wrote.

Where is MS, Xbox, or any executive there "ever so triumphantly claiming the market leaders need to compete with them"?

Could you point that out to me, as I've not seen that. Or maybe that helps explain your confusion with reality perhaps.
 

Yoboman

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It's one journalist's opinion in one article they wrote.

Where is MS, Xbox, or any executive there "ever so triumphantly claiming the market leaders need to compete with them"?

Could you point that out to me, as I've not seen that. Or maybe that helps explain your confusion with reality perhaps.
I’ll reword it to “fans of the third place console”
 
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supernova8

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Looks to me like Sony is just ignoring Xbox completely. Not literally, of course, but in terms of their marketing.

Sometimes it looks like (especially from their sometimes cringeworthy Twitter posts) Microsoft is itching for a fight, and Sony does a good job of completely cockblocking them.
 
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Three

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Phil pretty much said 'MTX heavy games' is nonsense, a fake concern and totally antithesis to the principle behind Gamepass. 🤷‍♀️
Well if Phil said that then he must be telling the truth

Except

And


And



Gee seems Phil isn't listening to his own ideas. Who would have thought.
 
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