Every start of a generation is an amazing Cold War, where information and hype are practically directly converted into money.
The company that keeps their hand hidden for the longest and keep the image of being the owner of the answer about what’s the best console to play is the one that takes the lead on the generation. Whoever gets the lead gets the priority of the small and medium gamedevs, since their resources are scarce to invest on all platforms at the same time, thus generating small exclusives that may or may not become the next Rocket League. Or, like now at the end of the current generation, Fall Guys.
Being known as the company that discovers the best games is ludicrously profitable. It generates memes like “non-PlayStation consoles”, so desperate that gaming websites get to put keywords that pull the attention from the public, and their clicks, be it in favor or against.
As a matter of fact, the true winner would be Nintendo, but there’s something like 3 generations that it decided to start the race by itself and keep running alone. The Switch is a money-printer (after the failure of WIi U) that fits alright to this argument, but let’s be honest, it’s not part of the Console War anymore.
That being said, we’re in a race with two plastic opponents: Playstation 5 and Xbox Series X, either side champions. Virtually we have Google Stadia and Amazon Luna, but no one really knows if their investment gonna have any success, or if it’s gonna be the next Zeebo (old console that had two buyers and a raffle over there in Rio de Janeiro. The winner complains about the prize to this day).
but there are some new elements to this next generation. So that their champions can show their true power, their Sargeants must go first and battle for the same point, obsessively. It’s the troop’s success that’s gonna define the success of the monsters in performance.
Console War: Artistic reproduction
At this aspect, the Playstation 5 driveless is technically ahead, since it has the same hardware as the drive-included edition. Compared to the Xbox Series S, also driveless, it has more than double the performance, not even considering the PS5‘s super-mega-atomic-quantic-SSD
But then let’s talk about History
Featured: How to destroy your opponent with three words
Sega Saturn had just announced their western release price, US$399. The lack of communication with western retailers made some companies even refuse to sell the console. If it wasn’t enough to stumble with their own legs, here comes Steve Race, Sony representative, speaks “299” and leaves the stage, thus setting the any% speedrun record for destroying your opponent’s hopes and dreams.
The consoles were pretty much technically equivalent, but the Saturn was pricier to produce. Sony’s strategy was simple: facilitate games licensing at most on Playstation (Epic’s doing the same thing, but that’s for another article). This technique helped in vaporizing the Nintendo 64, by the way.
Moving Forward: Playstation 2 vs Dreamcast vs Xbox.
Xbox was by far the most powerful console, but Playstation 2 was still the home for new games. Hell, even to this day it’s still the biggest game library that ever existed
and that’s why there are pirate copies of PlayStation 2 being sold at Brazil’s Mercado Livre like new consoles
Next generation: Playstation 3 vs Xbox 360
PS3 took a beating the entire generation, no questions asked. It took the leadership at the end of the race, but whoever lived at the time saw the 360 strength and how fun were the wars.
And finally, we come to the main point of my argument: Playstation 4 vs Xbox One
Of the 26 years that I game, I think that this generation was the most lukewarm. I lived by the “PlayStation side”, and I only saw the price of the console being justified when I got Bloodborne. The console in November 2013, the game in March 2015. The first AAA kinda cool before that was Infamous Second Son
and the fabulous Knack BAYBEEEE
Xbox, aside from being on this same lukewarm period, still had the insignificant detail of hearing everything that you said and registering what you were doing with your hands late at night.
After all, privacy is for normies.
But there’s a point that never left my mind, at the time. The then Sony CEO, Shuhei Yoshida, gave an interview to Eurogamer (I’ve read on gamesindustry), saying that he didn’t have the slightest idea of why that plastic thing almost without games was selling roughly one million units per month
Shuhei Yoshida: I’m asking marketing people to tell us why. They’ve been to people who already purchased, and some of the early data was amazing in terms of the number of people who didn’t used to own PS3 have already purchased PS4. So we are getting lots of new customers coming into PlayStation. And some people never purchased any last-gen hardware: PS3, or Xbox 360 or Nintendo Wii. So where did they come from?
From here on out is my proposal for the answer that they couldn’t get in 2014, and it’s just one word: Piracy.
Piracy is so ingrained and part of gamer culture as console wars, no matter which official statements being made.
But what I’m about to tell you comes from the perspective of a poor black young male, that didn’t even see himself as black because he believed the term would only be applied to people with the darkest of skins.
I was born and raised in Campo Grande, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. My father left the family when I was 6 years old and he only left me one thing: a Master System that was gave as a birthday gift, with Sonic at the memory. I loved that and it was by far the game that i’ve finished most times in my life. Never had money to be part of the Mega Drive / Snes generation without being visiting the house of the neighborhood rich kid. Didn’t know who Zelda was. Spent my time drawing Lemmings digging through the different surface structures in geography lessons. I was the youngest of a family of 5 brothers, from different fathers.
Skipped the Mega/Snes generation. My older brother entered the army and a year later took a course to graduate as a career Sargeant. Gave me a Nintendo 64 because I was getting straight A’s. Then I was formally introduced to miss Zelda and spent more time in Hyrule than at home.
My brother got transferred to Recife, Pernambuco (still Brazil). My grades kept being A’s. He gave me a Playstation
And then my life changed.
Before that, I could only have access to a few games. Two or three bought, the rest we rent at the weekend to have one more day until handing it back.
At Playstation my brother could buy games instead of renting (everything pirate, obviously). I had never been happier in my life
We came back to Rio. Me still with my PlayStation. I started working in a small lan-house of the neighborhood (like those that have different consoles for you to play). Earned R$1 hourly. Worked from 7pm to midnight. Took a test for a preparatory course and got 90% discount from my grades. My biggest pride was paying my course with my own money.
All this still completely neck-deep in piracy. The lan house didn’t have a single original game. But it was there that I’ve played PS2, Xbox, Dreamcast. Hundreds of titles that I would never reach. It was working there that I improved my English learning and writing, that I’ve learned by played videogames, and I’ve started my learning of Japanese, that I still study.
Then it was my turn and I did like my brother. Enlisted, but didn’t enter. Took the course for Sargeant, entered the same school as my brother, almost 10 years after him. My first paycheck with the first bank account that I ever had. Didn’t have the slightest idea on how to use a debit card.
For a year and a half, along 332 mates and friends, I’ve got through the experience of becoming a professional. First São Paulo, then Minas Gerais. You know the value of your friends when you starve with them.
Graduated, came to Campinas (Sao Paolo). First thing I did with my Sargeant paycheck?
Bought a Playstation 3. Used, but works to this day. Created my PSN ID. Created two, by the way. One Brazilian to record trophies, that still didn’t have PS Store, and one US to buy games.
That was 2010. Playstation 3 was released in November 2006, 4 years before. And 4 years later it still didn’t have a Brazilian PlayStation store. It was released one year later. And didn’t change much. It was the only store that copied the same Plus games from US. I bought used games from Ebay, once I was already at the middle of the generation and had an immense backlog to play. But it was the first time that I was in the generation. Playing everything original, with case and manuals (I miss them)
One thing that was common practice, not just mine but with all my gaming friends, was to buy games that I finished pirate copies at the past. My PSN is full of PSX games for this exact reason. Many I didn’t even open on the ps3. But we feel the need to give something back, even being so ridiculously late, to games and franchises that gave us so much joy.
2012 I’ve married the woman of my life. We ordered our first son to the stork (not necessarily in that order).
2013 my boy was born. A mini version of me. We ordered our daughter
2014 my little girl was born. mini mother. Bought my Playstation 4 at the gray market, Santa Efigenia, because Sony thought it would be funny to release the console for R$3.999 (roughly $2000 at the time)
If you can’t see what happened, I can repeat: piracy is a temporary state. As you improve your life, the tendency is to legitimize your pastime with more commitment
K, cute story told. What that has to do with the title?
NO OTHER COMPANY EVER DEDICATED SO MUCH QUALITY SERVICE FOR LATIN AMERICAN COUNTRIES THAN MICROSOFT
Support, warranty, local factories, games localization, you name it.
Enters Gabe Newell
Piracy is a service problem
Think about this my story as a cycle. Something that has been happening since Pong got released. Brazil is the country of Piracy. And yet officially it’s the fourth major consumer of games of the world. What this means is that while generations come and go and new consumers enter piracy, those who started on piracy and grew choose which is going to be the legit platform that they’ll adopt.
Videogame is already an absurdly hard hobby to have when you’re poor.
and then enters the differential of this generation: the driveless.
With the cheaper version of the consoles, you won’t have the option to buy used games. Either you buy at Store price (that Sony just raised to the base price of R$300), or you won’t play.
And guess which one of the platforms has a service that has an initial signature cost of R$1 and 100+ games?
Sony’s trying it’s best with the Plus Collection, but the cheaper version of the service is R$24,99 for a month. And that’s for a console that’s already US$100 more expensive.
LATAM gamers fidelity with PlayStation brand grows thinner every time that word of mouth tells how well treated Microsoft consumers are
Everything that the Xbox Series S, and subsequently X need to do to win the generation is to deliver whatever good games that the 23 Studios from XGS are producing. The disposition to run under the wings of the brand is already there.