Talk about brilliant business strategy. This was so well executed, so perfectly timed, so flatly delivered that I believe Sony just won the next generation console wars with one fell swoop. There is a Harvard case study in here somewhere.
If you haven’t been following what is going on, Microsoft’s upcoming console, the Xbox One, basically destroys the concept of game ownership. According to IGN, the restrictions in place are:
- You can only give an Xbox One game to someone who has been your friend list for 30 days or longer
- Games can only be given away one time before they can’t be transferred again
- You can’t borrow games from or lend games to your friends.
- Publishers can setup “transfer” fees so you have to pay them if you want to sell or give your game away.
- You must be connected to the Internet to authenticate your games.
- You must periodically check in online to let your console continue working.
- The price is $499
That means no more going to Game Stop or other retailers and going through the bargain bin to find old games; trading with your friends or family members; recapturing some of the money by selling your old titles without giving more cash out of your wallet. It’s been 30 years and you can still turn on an original NES to enjoy the titles; something that will never happen with a game you buy on Xbox One. There is an inherent shelf life. What happens when Microsoft shuts down the servers? It will come to pass one day.
Following the huge backlash from gamers online, Sony gave a presentation on it’s next generation console, the PS4, and calmly, ruthlessly, and with a smile, announced that you own your game. That means:
- You can trade it in at a store.
- You can sell it to another person.
- You can lend it to a friend.
- You can keep it forever.
- You don’t need to be connected to the Internet.
- You don’t need to authenticate your copy online.
- You don’t have to periodically check in to Sony’s servers.
- The price is $399
This was an assassination. As a stockholder of a small position in Microsoft (through the KRIP), I’m livid that Steve Ballmer had yet one more epic screwup. As a gamer, I am thrilled at what Sony just did. Not only did they listen to their customers, and not only do they understand the market, they did it in a way that was like a dagger to the heart.
You should not expect any level of privacy concerning your use of the live communication features (for example, voice chat, video and communications in live-hosted gameplay sessions) offered through the Xbox LIVE/Games for Windows-LIVE service. We may monitor these communications to the extent permitted by law.
The only thing that could really screw this up for Sony is the Xbox releases one month earlier. There is a big advantage to being first to market. With that caveat, I think Sony won. It’s not even close.
You can preorder the PS4 now and have it on launch day. Out of principle alone, I am going to buy at least one for my household.