Microsoft & Sony Might Not Be as Friendly as They Want You to Think

Microsoft & Sony Might Not Be as Friendly as They Want You to Think

As big wigs at both Microsoft and Sony reach out to shake each other’s hands, they’re no doubt searching for a place to slip a knife.

The launch of the next-gen consoles. Ah, it seems like so long ago doesn’t it? It was a much less civilized age then. That was a time of great darkness in the Republic (insert Star Wars crawl here). Microsoft and Sony seemingly had such a seething, backhanded vendetta against one another that it was hard to tell if it were a console launch or a nasty political campaign. Not like it is now, where the heads of both major system developers are all sunshine and roses when it comes to their competitors. These days it seems like a love fest in the press, with this company touting that companies achievements and the “we’re so happy for their success…yada, yada, yada.” It does truly feel like all is right with the gaming world. Peace on earth, good will toward men. I’m talkin’ free Fritos on Friday kind of good.

What? You mean you don’t believe that a cease fire has truly been reached in the console war? You’re saying that you see through all these empty compliments and beaming adulation?

Oh, well that would mean you’re not a mindless sheep then wouldn’t it? I guess we all have to ask ourselves that questios every once in a while. Some people just want to believe things, as it makes their lives easier. I get that, but I’d rather live in the real. The drum I’ve been beating as of late is for game companies to just tell us like it is (in fact, that’s one of my Top Ten Bad Behaviors That Need To Be Dropped in 2014 ). I truly believe we’ve evolved to point that, due to access of endless information right at our fingertips, most of us just aren’t’ going to fall for the same old spin that we’ve been spoon fed in the past. The most recent that caught my eye are comments made by Microsoft’s Corporate VP Phil Spencer. He touches on many different areas, even giving love to the game industries current red-headed stepchild, Nintendo, in saying their first party IPs are an “amazing asset.”

However, that’s not what really surprised me. Spencer goes on to have some interesting words regarding Sony, words that would starkly contrast his own position just a few short months ago. “Sony…I really respect their focus on investing in new things and creative things, what they’ve done with David Cage and Quantic Dream around Beyond [Two Souls] and Heavy Rain ; they stay committed to franchises even if they don’t sell 10 million units, they’ll stay committed to things…When I think about their announcement, their clear focus on a customer, leading with the value proposition of what they’re trying to do, staying true to a vision, I think they’ve done a nice job in how they defined the PS4.” Spencer said.

Flag on the play. Let’s go to the instant replay.

This is a hard pill to swallow for someone like myself, who’s sat on the side lines and watched every move both companies have made for the better part of a year. Touting what a good job their competitor has done in regards to branding doesn’t really ring true, when he himself has taken the exact opposite position in the past. On more than one occasion, Microsoft (and more specifically Spencer) has bashed Sony’s reliance on 3D and was critical of what he called their “shifting message.”

Now he praises it? What changed? Of course, I could give you a myriad of examples from the other side of the isle (with Sony having only good things to say about Microsoft where they’ve been critical in the past), but that’s not the point. No need to get into a back and forth comparison. What we need to do is answer the earlier question: why have the frosty attitudes now suddenly thawed and things seem so different? Again, what changed? As far as I can tell, they’re still competitors.

I suppose it’s much like those pictures you see in history books of the Confederacy and Union soldiers down in the trenches, eating Christmas dinner together in a brief moment of solidarity before they resume killing each other. I respect Phil Spencer, and I have to imagine that the comments you hear from him now are more true to his heart (as it is with other corporate muckety-mucks) vs. the harden stance he was forced to take during a VERY competitive console launch cycle.

When you’re competitor is looking to cut your throat at any chance they can, I guess it’s important to tow the company line. My thing is, you can’t have it both ways. Everyone probably has that friend, family member or boyfriend/girlfriend who wants to pretend like nothing happened five minutes after you just had a fight. Most people don’t have a thirty-second rebound, so it takes some time. It’s hard for me to put stock into compliments coming from either side, when the very same people would have drawn, quartered, tarred and feathered their opponents for all the world to see (or at least, that’s the way they made it seem at the time).

Microsoft & Sony Might Not Be as Friendly as They Want You to Think

My advice; if you want me to take your mutual respect crap seriously, then skip the media blitz directed at your competitor next launch. I mean, it’s a waste of money anyway. You should realize we’re still going to make up our own minds without your help. Most of us are not that easily swayed. Plus, if you end up coming full circle to praise them in the end, you just lose your credibility. Want to really win our hearts and minds? Show me a company that isn’t insecure about its own product (and is less focused on what its competitor is doing).

Then, I’ll show you a gamer that’s literally ready to throw his money at you.

To top