Game console war heats up with Xbox One launch

2013-11-21 07:46
(GlennChapman, AFP)

(GlennChapman, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

San Francisco - Microsoft on Friday releases its Xbox One game console, taking on Sony's PlayStation 4 in a battle for the hearts and minds of internet-era home entertainment.

Sony last week unleashed its new champion in the long-running console war, getting a slight jump on Microsoft heading into the prime holiday shopping season.

The Xbox One, successor to the Xbox 360, the top-selling console in North America, will debut at a price of $500 while Sony's PS4 is priced at $400.

Sony said it sold more than a million PS4 consoles in the 24 hours after its release on 15 November, but the debut was marred by complaints by a small percentage of buyers of units malfunctioning.

Analysts said that it remained to be seen which of the new-generation consoles will prove more popular, noting that the lower price plays in favour of the PS4.

Upgrades

"If history has anything to say about it, core gamers tend to favour Sony," said Brian Blau, research director at analyst firm Gartner.

"There is nothing I've seen to say that one platform is going to have an advantage over the other."

Both consoles boast upgrades which provide richer graphics and more immersive game play than their predecessors. Social features of online play have also been enhanced, along with the ability to share with friends.

Microsoft touts the Xbox One console as a home entertainment hub that goes far beyond games.

The beefed-up hardware allows for instant switching between games, television, and internet browsing. Microsoft-owned Skype was integrated for online group video calls.

Kinect motion and sound sensing accessories accompanying the consoles recognise users; respond instantly to commands spoken in natural language, and even detect a person's pulse.

"This is the beginning of a new generation of games and entertainment and a new generation of smart TV," Microsoft entertainment unit executive Yusuf Mehdi said when Xbox One was unveiled.

Selling point

Mehdi maintained that a strong selling point is that Kinect devices, which were sold as Xbox 360 accessories, will be included with Xbox One consoles.

Microsoft has put its hardware and software mastery to effective use, bringing game controllers, tablets, smartphones, voice, and gesture together in the Xbox One.

In a move that might irk gamers, neither Xbox One or PS4 are compatible with titles designed for play on earlier versions of consoles.

Mehdi was not worried about the booming popularity of play on smartphones and tablet computers, saying it has increased the appetite for interactive entertainment in what has grown to a $93bn industry, including sales of software and hardware for consoles, PCs and handheld devices.

Research firm Gartner forecast that the console segment of the video game market will grow from $44bn this year to $49bn, while that of mobile games will climb from about $13bn to $17bn.

"Microsoft and Sony have greatly improved products," Blau said.

"The key for them is getting developers to build compelling games and applications that take advantage of all the wonderful resources that come in those boxes."

Microsoft and Sony both worked hard with blockbuster game makers to have titles ready to hit the market along with the new consoles.

Smartphones

While much is made of rivalry between Microsoft and Sony the evolution of consoles into digital home entertainment systems means competition from devices such as Roku boxes or even Google's inexpensive Chromecast gadget for easily streaming internet content to television screens.

"The real competition for both console makers may be (TV box) Roku and Chromecast as digital consumers consider taking a pass on the relatively expensive next-gen consoles in favor of low-risk, high-return streaming devices," said Forrester analyst James McQuivey.

Smartphones and tablet computers have become popular platforms for play, with many games available free.

"It is very narrow-minded to say that it is Sony versus Microsoft versus Nintendo," Blau said of the battle between the console titans for the hearts of gamers.

The stakes in the console game are heightened for Microsoft because Xbox has been a hit while the US-based technology colossus has seen other forays into consumer electronics flop.

Xbox One will be rolled out in 13 countries, including the US, Britain and Australia, on 22 November.
Read more on:    sony  |  microsoft  |  gaming

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
7 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.