Even Microsoft Thinks It Might Be Second This Round

Steve Anderson : End Game
Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
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Even Microsoft Thinks It Might Be Second This Round

Microsoft might just be waving the white flag for this round of the console generation, as Phil Spencer himself appears to be doubting his platform's ability to catch up to Sony, declaring that the competing console brand had a "huge lead" going in, one that Microsoft may not even be able to match.

Indeed, looking at the sales numbers, it hasn't been good news for Microsoft. Sure, the bundles going into the holiday season last year gave Microsoft some edge, but it was an edge that didn't last as Sony came back and stayed back.

Naturally, this didn't mean that Microsoft was out of the action, by any stretch. While at the 2015 GeekWire Summit, Spencer noted that Sony had both that big lead mentioned earlier as well as "a good product." But Microsoft still had some fine content to it as well as a great games line-up, and that was certainly true. Microsoft is also making some great gains, adding backwards compatibility to its system well ahead of Sony.

Spencer, to his credit, also noted that it was never really about beating Sony, but rather, gaining customers. It sounds like a bit of a cop-out, of course--it's really the same thing just dressed a little differently--but he's got a point, in that it's all about the gamers. It's a lesson Microsoft sorely needed to learn back at E3 2013, and it's a lesson that it seems to have learned for good now. No one will forget the massive hit Sony scored on Microsoft when it had two staffers handing disks back and forth, especially not Microsoft. While it's not likely to recover, it doesn't particularly need to. Sony spent the last several years in the valley of the shadow of Wii, and to a lesser extent the Xbox 360. Yet now, it's the top dog on the system front.

Microsoft needed to learn a lesson about making game platforms for gamers. While sure, gamers like to be able to get their Netflix and Hulu fixes through the Xbox One--I personally have come to enjoy YouTube on the big screen--at the end of the day, Xbox One players bought an Xbox One to play games on it. The games need to be there, readily accessible, and it would be great if they looked better and offered more content than the previous generation did as well. That's it. That's the minimum expectation. Add bells and whistles and shiny chrome bits all you like, but make quite sure that the basics are in place first.

Microsoft didn't learn that lesson two years ago, and it's paying for that lack of studiousness now. But it's making quite a comeback, having learned in abundance and behaving accordingly. It may not match PlayStation 4's lead now, but it's certainly got a good chance to do so in the next round. And it's certainly not out of this generation's fight just yet, either.

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